Thursday, 29 October 2015

Yogurt Cheat

I've been working at making the perfect creamy yogurt for years and have had varying success.
Part of cow ownership makes it necessary to utilize the milk in as many ways possible and to stop the necessity to walk down the Dairy Products aisle at the supermarket. I'm pleased to say that I can now saunter down that aisle and tilt my chin at all of the expensive items there. Or I can choose to avoid that aisle  and save shopping time as well as lots of dollars.
So back to yogurt.
There are as many fancy utensils out there for the consumer to buy as there are methods of making yogurt.
The basic method of yogurt is to add some yogurt culture to fresh milk, keep it at body temperature for 8 - 12 hrs, after which the milk should have turned thick.
This is easy, but these days we are all spoiled by those creamy textured yogurts, with added sugars and fruits which really are quite removed from the real principal of yogurt.
I needed to find a compromise so that my family would eat the yogurt that I make with our cow's milk. It's all very well to make all this stuff, but is counter productive if no one will eat it.
I don't want sugars and Frankenstein fruits added to my yogurt. I want my family to eat unprocessed foods made from ingredients that have been grown organically, and preferably, locally.
If you are a regular reader of this blog you will know what I think of Frankenstein foods and my definition of what they are. They are foods that have been played around with genetically, grown with pesticides and herbicides, filled with sugar and numbers, and have been transported across the world.

Most people know about Easiyo yogurt and love to make their own yogurt from the packets available to buy at the supermarket.
I'm a bit slow at catching on to consumer items, so I only discovered what these things were a couple of years ago. I saw them in op-shops quite often but had no idea what they were used for.
So I was researching the perfect yogurt technique on line late one night and happened upon a forum that was so enlightening.  It was a real ahaa moment.
I went back to the op-shop next day and bought the outer canister for $3. Then, from the supermarket I bought the inside container which comes with two small lunch box size containers for just over $20.
With a packet of the yogurt mix and some powdered milk in my basket I headed home to give this idea a try.
The yogurt mixes of various flavors all cost between $4 and $5 which I believe is still rather expensive for a litre/kilo of yogurt.  We can buy ready made yogurt off the shelf for that price, without the need to buy the equipment to make it up at home. What's the point of that?
The instructions on the pack are to just add water.
This is my frugal yogurt method.

HALF FILL the 1 litre inside container with whole milk. I use raw milk from our cow, but you could use any milk. When on caravan holidays we use UHT Full Cream milk which works just fine.
Add .. 2 heaped desert spoons of powdered milk,
and  2 heaped desert spoons of yogurt mix from the packet.
** Dip the spoon right into the bottom of the bag of Easiyo powder and stir it around a bit because the culture may have settled on the bottom of the bag. The Esiyo bags contain powdered milk and culture, so you need to make sure you stir it around well to get a consistent end product.
Put the lid on and shake like crazy for about half a minute.
Take the lid off and fill to the top with more milk, leaving approx 2 cms of head space.
Shake well again.

The remaining procedure is as written in the instructions that come with the Easiyo containers but I'll write it here in case you have bought yours second hand without the instructions.
There is a red plastic bit that sits inside the outer canister in order to hold the yogurt container at the correct level. (That sounds confusing, but you will know what I mean when you are looking at it)
Fill the canister with boiling water to the top of the red plastic part.
Put the yogurt container inside the canister and screw the lid on immediately.
Leave it for 12 hours before checking. After that time it should be firm and turned into yogurt.
Take the yogurt container out of the canister and place in the fridge where it will firm up more and be of a creamy texture if you have used full cream milk.

So, we have made delicious yogurt for a fraction of the cost. I can get three litres of yogurt from one packet of Easiyo.
We each take a small re-useable jar of it to work for morning lunches mixed with home grown raspberries and a dribble of honey. I see others eating their purchased pots of yogurt in the little disposable containers. More rubbish for landfill.
We use lots of yogurt here and I like to have two pots in the fridge. Oh no, I didn't buy another Easiyo container, because I found a suitable size plastic container at an op-shop for a few cents.

How do you use your yogurt besides eating it as yogurt?  Have you got a great recipe for making your own?

At this time of year we are eating lots of coleslaw and creamy noodle or potato salads in which I use yogurt as the base for the dressings.

In my next blog I'll share my Mum's recipe for boiled Mayonnaise which lasts for months in the fridge, and mixed with yogurt, is a delicious and healthy salad dressing that's versatile and popular in this house.

Making our own salad dressings and mayonnaise is easy. Maybe this will be the next aisle we don't need to walk along next time we're doing the food shopping?


  1. I love the easiyo thermos! I have two, one was a gift, the other I found at the dump shop :) I use powdered milk to make yoghurt, sometimes with yoghurt culture or sometimes with a spoonful from an easiyo packet (I keep the leftover in the freezer). I also use them to make cream cheese, I just put warm water in the thermos and fresh raw milk in the container for about 24 hours. This is good over winter when our kitchen isn't warm enough. Great invention though, and even better that people give them away, so you can get them cheap!

    1. I like your thinking Farmer Liz. An exploring mind and a tendency towards frugality is a source for great inventions and adaptions. Good idea to keep the packet in the freezer. I wonder how Mr Easiyo would appreciate our frugal way of using less of his product? :)

  2. Hi Sally,

    I make yoghurt at home using culture and Fowlers Jars. We also have a house cow, so I often make 4L of yoghurt at a time. I heat the milk to 90C (so unfortunately it is no longer a raw product) as this helps to break down some of the proteins in the milk and helps achieve a thicker set. I then let the milk cool to around 42C, add the culture and stir and then pop into warmed Fowlers Vacola jars (I like to use the 31 size). Pop on a lid and clip then I wrap each jar in a tea towel and pop into a lidded styrofoam box (or esky) for at least 8-10 hours. I find I get quite a thick set yoghurt that my family enjoy with fruit and honey. It also drains well and my boys will happily eat it as a dip with crackers and sweet chilli sauce.
    I would love to pop over for a visit one day. I only live at Bethany :). We are 2 weeks into our dry-off period with our jersey Stella - she is due to calve around Christmas time. We are having milk withdrawals already! Luckily I have plenty of butter in the freezer, but the store bought milk just isn't the same. I used last of my batch of yoghurt on he weekend and so will now have to see if I can successfully make a batch with store bought milk. Wish me luck!
    Marieka :)

    1. Marieka, this is such good information, another method of making yogurt that some readers may find suits them better. Oh, you know the meaning of cow love then, with your beautiful Jersey. :) Enjoy your break from the milking routine while you can, but buying store milk is not pleasant is it? We are approaching a birth next week from a new heifer and will have continuous milk when Daisy dries off in February. The first time we've managed to time it so that two cows are birthing at staggered times during the year. Are you making any other cheeses? I'd also love to visit your farm, so lets get together and talk cows one day soon. Thanks for your comment.

  3. This will be our first calving, as Stella came to us in January with her second calf, a heifer, at foot (who we named Summer). Summer is now almost 10 mths old and weaned. We were lucky enough to be successful with our first A.I attempt and are looking forward to welcoming Stella's new calf in December. You must be anxiously awaiting your new arrival too!
    I mainly only make ricotta at this stage because it is quick and easy and uses lots of milk! My husband has made 2 attempts at a cheddar style cheese and they are aging in our cellar - not sure how they will go. I have recently bought a new book called The Art of Natural Cheesemaking by David Astle who is a Canadian cheese maker. He uses raw milk in his Cheesemaking and uses milk kefir as a culture. The recipes are clear and straightforward and I am looking forward to giving some of them a try when we have lots of milk again. For the meantime, my kefir grains are 'sleeping' in the fridge!

  4. Stella and Summer, such lovely cow names. Will you train Summer to be your next house cow I wonder? I'm going to check out the book you mentioned; I had never thought of using milk kefir for a cheese starter. :)

  5. I love my Easiyo thermos and the little pots that can be used for lunches etc. It really is a money saver to make the sachets last for at least three litres of yoghurt instead of the usual one.

    I tend to use the yoghurt in any recipe that says add milk or cream as I am lactose intolerant, not dangerously so but all milk products bar yoghurt and butter make me feel yukky for hours after eating them.

    And I love that there are more and more aisles in the supermarket that I can now miss out completely, although saying that I do wander down them occasionally and marvel at the vast array of new 'fake foods' available to buy.

    1. Checking out the supermarket makes for interesting entertainment... when time permits. Unbelievable to see breadcrumbs for sale!

  6. I have an easiyo and fill 1/2 with water and add 1 1/2 cups of powdered milk, I add two tablespoons of culture that I had frozen from my previous batch (thawed of course), mix with a fork and top up with more water. I leave sit overnight. Then the next morning I remove two tablespoons and pop them in the freezer to use next time. So simple and cheap. I think it works out to way less than a $1 a litre. I used to use the packet mixes, but not any more, there is no need :)

    I cant wait to read your mums mayonaise recipe :)



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