My previous post Morekuzhambu, inspired me to write a post about making curd/Dahi or Yogurt at home.The pic above doesn’t do justice. Will try to post a better picture, when I make yogurt the next time.
Making Yogurt at home is as easy as 1 2 3. Lot of my friends ask me, do u make yogurt at home. Living in the US, people have forgotten how to make yogurt and with the busy lifestyle, people tend to use store bought yogurt. Also with the weather getting very cold in some parts of the United States, yogurt making could be in vain, if right temperatures are not maintained. Even I tend to buy yogurt from store occasionally. But for the most part, I make my own at home. Store bought yogurts are expensive, pasty, firm and less sour. Home made plain yogurt is really in- expensive, has a soft texture, mildly sour with a wonderful aroma.
Back home in India, making Yogurt is like a daily routine for women.Yogurt can be made from any milk. It’s traditionally made with Cow’s milk or Buffalo’s milk. The only time, I remember eating a different type of yogurt is, when we went to Jaipur- Rajasthan for touring, had a chance to eat Camel’s Yogurt, which was thick and tasting different. Was good though.
Coming to the science behind it………Yogurt has two main bacterial cultures. Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. Pasteurization, Homogenization, Inoculation, Incubation, Fermentation are involved in yogurt making. Pasteurization is a process that slows down microbial growth in foods. Homogenization is a generic term which refers to processing a solution so that it becomes uniform. Since milk is an oil in water emulsion, it has to be homogenized for the fat molecules to be dispersed evenly. Inoculation is adding live starter cultures to the Luke warm milk. Incubation is keeping the inoculated milk at right temperature. Bacterial fermentation of milk gives yogurt. The milk sugar or lactose is fermented by these bacteria to lactic acid which causes the characteristic curd to form. The acid also restricts the growth of food poisoning bacteria. The presence of lactic acid, produced during the lactic acid fermentation is responsible for the sour taste and for the improved microbiological stability and safety of the food.
Store bought milks are pasteurized and homogenized. How ever we have to take care of inoculation and incubation ourselves to get yogurt. Accurate temperature control assures rapid coagulation. I hope I am not making it sound too complicated. Its actually as simple as telling 123. I use Garelick farms 2% milk for making yogurt. Whole milk will give much firmer yogurt. So, all you need is
- 2% milk or Whole milk-1 gallon.
- Starter culture- from store bought yogurts having live cultures-3 tsp.
- Boil milk in a pan and let it become Luke warm.
- Remove the top layer of skin from milk and transfer to a new container.
- Add 3 tsps of live yogurt culture and mix well.
- Cover and keep it near in a warm place like inside the oven with light bulb turned on(in winter).
- Keep in undisturbed.Do not stir or move while its still forming.
- After approximately 8 hours yogurt will be done. You can make its done,out by the firmness.
- The fermented yogurt can be stored in refrigerator
- When the yogurt is about to be done, use 3tsp of yogurt you made as a starter culture to make fresh new yogurt.
The shelf life of yogurt is about a month. The reason why yogurt has a better shelf life than milk is because of the pH and the number of beneficial bacteria present in them. In general the pH of yogurt is 4.4 -4.2 , which is not favorable for other bacterial growth except lactic acid producing bacteria, the bacteria our starter culture has.
- The key thing to note in yogurt making is the lukewarm milk. If the milk is too hot or too cold, the yogurt will not form properly.
- Casseroles or thermos bottles can be used to make yogurt.
- When I run out of culture, I get it from my friends or even Indian grocery stores & Indian restaurants will be happy to give you some starter culture.
- Making buttermilk is a snap-if you have yogurt- 2 tsp yogurt, salt, a pinch asafoetida, curryleaves, crushed ice-all mixed in a glass of water would be heavenly to beat the heat during summer.
- Great source of calcium, great addition to low fat, low calorie diet.
- Facilitate digestion of milk. The enzyme lactase digests milk sugar Lactose. So, yogurt is good for “lactose intolerance”.
- Nutritious cocktail of proteins, calcium and minerals.
- The 9 amino acids help maintaining muscles.
- Builds bone density.
- Friendly bacteria in yogurt maintains the digestive tract.
- Great source of Vit B6 and B 12 especially for vegetarians.
Yogurt not just satisfies your taste buds, its also a balanced diet.
Eat healthy! Live happy!