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Question Hi Kurma, love your site. Just wondering if you know much about
making yoghurt. I have an Indian friend who has left me the instructions
on yoghurt before she left for India. I have tried twice, and both have turned
out curdled. I am wondering if you have a tried and true recipe for me to
compare.

S., South Australia

AnswerHello S.,

Thanks for the positive feedback about the website. Much appreciated. Here's the yogurt recipe from my first cookbook. Hope it works for you this time. I think your milk was too hot.

Home-made Yogurt

Yogurt is an indispensable ingredient in vegetarian cuisine, being nutritious, tasty, and easily digestible.

It is a source of calcium, protein, fat, carbohydrates, phosphorus, vitamin A, the B-complex vitamins, and vitamin D. The lactic acid content of yogurt aids in the digestion of calcium. Yogurt encourages the growth of "friendly" bacteria in the intestines that help destroy harmful strains. And yogurt is quickly assimilated into the body.

Yogurt is made by adding a small amount of "starter" (which can be either previously prepared homemade yogurt or commercial plain yogurt) to warm milk. Under certain temperature conditions, and after some hours, the live bacteria in the starter will transform the milk into yogurt, which can then be refrigerated and used as needed. If you prefer a slightly thicker, firm yogurt, you can add milk powder at the beginning.

PREPARATION TIME: 20 minutes
SETTING TIME: 4 - 10 hours

YIELD: 4 cups (1 litre)

1/3 cup (85 ml) fresh milk (optional)
1/2 cup (125 ml) full-cream milk powder (optional)
4 cups (1 litre) fresh milk
3 tablespoons (60 ml) fresh plain yogurt


If you prefer thicker yogurt, combine the 1/3 cup (85 ml) of milk with the milk powder, whisk until smooth, and set aside.

Bring the milk to the boil in a heavy, 3-litre/quart saucepan, stirring constantly. Remove milk from the heat and whisk in the optional powdered-milk thickener. Transfer the milk into a sterilized container and set aside to cool.

When the temperature of the milk has reached 46°C/115°F, add the yogurt starter and whisk until smooth. The milk temperature should not exceed 44°C/111°F, which is the ideal culturing temperature.

Put the container of warm milk in a warm place for 4 - 6 hours. You can place the container inside a sealed plastic bucket of warm water or wrap it in a towel or heavy blanket. The container may also be placed in an oven with the pilot light on, in a preheated electric oven which has been turned off, or in a wide-mouthed thermos flask.

Check the yogurt after 5 hours. It should be thick and firm (it will become thicker after refrigeration). Refrigerate, covered, and use within 3 days. After three days, the yogurt makes an ideal curdling agent for production of home-made Curd Cheese (Panir).

Note: If your home-made yogurt does not taste as nice as expected or is something other than yogurt, consider the following yogurt troubleshooting.

Burnt taste? Over-boiling the milk without proper stirring can cause the milk to scorch or burn. This will give the yogurt an unpleasant burnt taste.

Curdled? If you do not allow the milk to sufficiently cool before you add the starter culture, it will curdle.

Still milk? If the milk cools too much before adding the starter culture, it will remain milk.

Too tart? Over-incubation (allowing the milk and yogurt to sit for longer than required) will produce a strong-tasting, tart yogurt.

Bad taste? Non-sterile containers may introduce foreign bacteria into your yogurt, causing bad tastes. Do not disturb the yogurt while it is culturing.

Spoiled in some way? If you do not ensure continuous warmth during incubation, the yogurt might fall to a less-than-desired temperature. Over warming during incubation causes spoilage.

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