Yoghurt Making (2)

An example of homemade yoghurt

This is just a quick post for those people who seem to end up here looking for info about yoghurt making.   The best results I have had so far using the Lakeland electric yoghurt maker which I have been using for about eight weeks is from the following method. Quick to set up, no saucepans of cooling forgotten milk.

  1. 2 teaspoons of fresh live yoghurt – do not be tempted to use more, it will not make the yoghurt ‘happen’ faster or better!
  2. 2 dessertspoons of non fat skimmed dried milk, something I have never bought before but the yoghurt seems to like it, what more can I say?
  3. 1 litre of UHT milk.  Ideally full fat. Morrissons 4 per cent fat performs better than Waitrose 3.6 per cent fat.

Using UHT milk means you skip all that heating it up to a certain temperature and then waiting for it to cool down again, less washing up, so offsetting the carbon footprint of using an electric yoghurt maker, also if you make your own you are reducing your packaging use.  Not sure if there is a net gain or loss but I am trying hard here.

Put the 2 tsps of yoghurt in the bottom of the container. Sprinkle the non fat powder on top. Add a little UHT milk. Give it a good stir around. Put container in the electric heater bit. Add the rest of the milk. Put the lid on. And then leave for at least 8 hours, mine seems  to take more like 9 hours to go. It’s odd stuff. You look at it and nothing happens for ages and then it goes all of a sudden.

If you don’t have a yoghurt maker then use a wide necked flask or a jug, but you will have to consider how you will keep it warm. A good thermos flask will probably work fine. Yoghurt needs a warm temperature to develop. The lactobacteria and the Streptococcus thermophilus –  the organisms that create the yoghurt –  are called ‘thermophilic’ (lovers of heat) for that reason. It needs to be kept at 100-degrees Fahrenheit (37-degrees Celsius). It will get more sour the longer it is kept warm, so that is why you chill yoghurt in the fridge once it has developed to the thickness and taste you want. It is worth doing more research on the net if you want to know more about this.

Take it out of the electric heater bit. Let it cool a while. I put mine in the fridge overnight and then put it into clean pyrex containers with snap on lids like these.

You can use the easi yo stuff in it. I have found that it splits. But when it does split, it’s easy enough to strain it through a bit of muslin in a sieve and then you have wonderful whey for baking bread,  can’t recommend this too highly, and a thick soft yoghurt that you can use in lots of ways.

Today I made rocket pesto using fresh yoghurt

My sister's recipe for pesto

I used:-


  • A big bunch of going over rocket from the garden
  • Fresh garlic
  • Grated pecorino cheese
  • Cashew nuts
  • Yoghurt
  • A little walnut oil and extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt

I can’t give you exact quantities because I basically shoved the lot in the blender and mixed and tasted till I got something I liked.  You can use any favourite herbs and nuts: this is my sister’s way of making pesto, as she prefers yoghurt to loads of oil, makes it much lighter. I store it in the fridge with a layer of olive oil on the top which reduces the effect of oxidisation.

Pesto in fridge with layer of olive oil on top in recycled container

Spread it on sourdough toast for a quick sandwich, add to pasta,  mix into salad dressings…

July 2010 – Made a lovely  lime cheesecake with strained yoghurt (labneh) made from rich creamy Jersey/Guernsey milk. Click here to read the post and the recipe.

23 thoughts on “Yoghurt Making (2)

  1. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

    Jo, we make yoghurt using UHT milk as well. The nice thing about homemade yoghurt, which I know you know but thought I’d mention here for others, is that if it’s made correctly, most if not all of the lactose is converted to the stuff that’s good for you, so it’s a good option for the lactose-intolerant. This isn’t always true of commercial yoghurts, as milk powder is often added to those to thicken.

    I’ve never thought of making pesto with yoghurt! What a great idea! :)

    Celia xx

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Thanks Celia :) Do you think the milk powder that you add at the beginning gets converted then? Or do you mean that commercial yoghurts have the milk powder added afterwards?

      1. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

        Jo, Pete thinks the milk powder he adds at the beginning gets converted too. I think the proof of that is the cream-based yoghurt you made recently. But often in commercial varieties, there is milk powder added after to thicken it.

        Interesting thing I’ve discovered recently – did you know milk powder is about 50% lactose? Whereas fresh milk is under 10%. Makes sense, of course, since fresh milk is mostly water, but relevant when you consider how often milk powder is added to processed foods these days!

        1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

          Celia, I am still not sure what the triggers are for the asthma re the dairy. I was reading on the ‘lacto free’ site yesterday and trying to figure out the difference between ‘intolerance’ and ‘allergy’. I am sure though that most people figure out what they can eat and not eat by trial and error.

          B can eat yoghurt, hard cheese, and even creme fraiche in moderation and yes it was interesting that the yoghurt made with cream didn’t trigger a reaction, where fresh cream does, but that’s him, it might not apply to someone else. It could be a protein that triggers the allergy rather than the lactose…. Unless he goes and does full tests we won’t know for sure.

  2. Tutak

    Hey, I don’t make pesto like that anymore! Now do it classic Italian style, no yogurt, just basil, salt, garlic, oil, pine nuts and pecorino or parmesan. But maybe I will revert to the yogurt version…..

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Sally and Celia – It is, as the Tutak, says, not classical, but I like it, you can of course use basil, and I am pretty sure that Celia’s family aren’t keen on rocket anyway, but I have never managed to grow basil in such abundance that I can justify mashing it up into pesto. I was trying to use up what was in the cupboard, which happened to be cashews and walnut oil…..

  3. in a welsh garden

    This is a fascinating post.I am going to try this – how fab to finally find a use for my going over rocket ! I tend to grow too many plants and end up giving a load away each year. One of my eldest daughter’s school friends has a Welsh Mum & an Italian Dad , so Welsh Mum makes a lot of pesto. Every year I give Welsh Mum some basil plants and Welsh Mum, this year, gave me a pot of her home made pesto. I was interested to see that it had been made with walnuts , and your version with cashew, I always (in my ignorance on the matter)assumed that you had to use pine nuts , but no. This makes things a lot more interesting. Means I can have a play around with it all. Brilliant post, thankyou : )

  4. GillthePainter

    Delicious pesto, Zeb.
    I’ve only ever made our yoghurt with full fat milk and culture.
    But I’ve heard you can add powder and use UHT – always been a fan of UHT after living in Spain – for ease.
    I’m told the texture result is better too.

    I usually have to strain my yoghurts for how we like it, thick and creamy.

  5. Lynne

    Yoghurt looks lovely.

    If you want to give this a try and do not have a yoghurt machine, do not be deterred.

    I don’t really have any space left in my totally overloaded kitchen cupboards for a yoghurt machine, so make mine in a wide necked vacuum flask…it holds 750 ml which is not ideal…1 Ltr would be better.

    I more or less follow the recipe above …Joanna put me on to the UHT milk….but add no milk powder…scald the flask while you are waiting for the milk to get to the right temperature…(I always end up heating it too much and then waiting for it to cool down to 43 degrees)…mix as above…pour the mixture in and leave overnight..next day transfer to a bowl with a lid and leave in the fridge….. edible from that evening on. I am sure a yoghurt machine would be more precise, but I have never had any problems with my chubby little flask. It also gets used to carry hot sausages on picnics in winter so have to remember to give it a good wash after that…sausage flavour yoghurt is not on my list of things to eat……

  6. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

    I agree Lynne, I think there are lots of ways to get there. We are just a bit gadget orientated here. The milk powder gives a thicker yoghurt, but like all these things it’s worth experimenting and not giving up if it doesn’t quite work first time out – a lot like baking bread :)

  7. Lynne

    Also like the bread it is addictive…very hard to go back to the bought stuff when you have eaten the real thing. I found some yoghurt makers here..nearly £60 each and add to that I would need to throw away something to make the space so for now the flask does the trick.

  8. Choclette

    Ooh, pesto with yogurt, how interesting. The pesto is such a great colour. I’ve got loads of rocket everywhere (it seems to have come up from last year’s compost) and have never actually made pesto from it. I shall give it a go and use yogurt. Thanks for the tip.

    We make kefir, which is a different type of fermented milk. This too is meant to convert the lactose. After years of trying to find a source of organic raw milk, we finally got lucky, so our kefir is hopefully even better for us.

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      I have never tried kefir, is there a post about it in your archive?

      We are eating our way through that big pot of pesto. It’s keeping very well, the layer of oil on the top has done the trick of preserving it. So far, mixed in two spoonfuls
      with lemon and more yoghurt to make a loose salad dressing, and then had some with a packet of crisps as a snack, very versatile stuff!

  9. lynne

    I found a bag of organic milk powder on my travels today…so am going to try it in the yoghurt….how much would you use for about 750 ml of full milk ?

    I had a try with some yoghurt culture I bought in the supermarket…the first yoghurt with it was a bit thin, but the batch made from this first yoghurt (using the yoghurt 1 to start yoghurt 2) was the best ever….seems a bit like leaven that it needs a bit of “space” to grown on its own…don’ t we all !!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Lynne, I’ve been using two tablespoons milk powder per litre, and two tsps of starter yoghurt, so 1 and a half? How lovely to find organic milk powder….. I will have to look harder I think too. I have found some organic uht milk, though not everyone stocks it, I think it is made by a company called Moo :)

      It doesn’t like being disturbed either while it is culturing. And I find it takes longer than the suggested times, anything up to 10 hours.

  10. Tutak

    Pesto – freeze it. Saves you from that layer of oil business, when you have to keep adding more when you’re broken into the surface for a scoop or it all goes brown and manky. I found that even with careful oil layer, it tended to go furry in the fridge too quickly. I put it in ice cube trays, then when frozen decant the cubes into a plastic zip lock bag and keep in freezer….either let it defrost naturally or a ten second blast in the microwave then apply as normal. Works really well and keeps Shouty Boy nephew happy (I suspect I could get him to eat anything if it was covered in pesto). This works with both the classic and the yogurt version by the way….

    …just thought of another variation I do when the price of pine nuts just seems too awful – pumpkin seeds.

    Final tip -never, ever add boiling water to home-made pesto to defrost it or loosen it up – turns it instantly into that nasty commercial claggy stuff you buy in the supermarket – something about the boiling water cooking the basil I suspect…

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Ah, I don’t have enough ice cube trays. I was thinking of freezing the gallons of elderflower cordial the other day in much the same way…. Good tips, thanks :)

  11. Lynne

    Update on Yoghurt….dried milk made a big difference to texture…much thicker. Not tried any yet…in the fridge for tomorrow’s breakfast but I am sure I will use it again


  12. Lynne

    Thicker yoghurt huge success with all consumers….really worth adding that powdered milk…thanks for the tip

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