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Making yoghurt

tigertiger (5000 posts) • 0

In addition to making my own bread, I am now making my own live yoghurt. I am doing this so that I can try and control/cut down on some of the crap I am eating.

Easy peasy. My experiences are at the bottom of the page.

Equipment
-Yog maker
-Saucepan
-Spoon/spatula to stir
-Thermometer (optional but not essential)

Ingredients
-Milk
-Some live yog.
——you can use part of the last batch you made
——or a little of some store bought to get you started

Instructions (not critical)
1. Sterilise container and utensils by soaking in boiling water.

I put it all in the microwave with a few spoons of water and zapped for 3 mins making lots of steam.

2. Scald milk on a low-med heat. Or you can use microwave. Small bubbles should form around edge but not boil.
80-85*C (not critical)

3. Cool milk until barely warm.
about 45*C, a bit warmer than body temp (not critical).
If it is too hot you will kill the live culture.

4. Stir in about 4 tablespoons of live yog.

5. Incubate in the Yog machine for 8-12 hours.
Longer time means a tarter firmer youghurt.

6. Refrigerate. A day in the fridge will improve texture and it will become firmer. If it separates a little this is OK just stir.

I bought a BEAR 1L yog. maker from Metro, under 100rmb. Downloaded English instruction from the internet.

After reading around about yog makers, many bloggers said that the machines with several little pots are a pain in the butt to use, and so I bought a 1L model. They do make bigger for families.

My practice attempts.

I used skimmed milk (0.3%). Personal choice.
The cartons of pasteurised from Metro are fine.

Attempt one - fail :(
Skimmed milk and I used Yakult type live yog drink as a starter.
Maybe live yog drink is acidic, but I got curds and whey. As a result I left it for the full 12 hours. I ended up with cottage cheese that had an orangey flavour, yield about 1.5 cups. That is not cheap cottage cheese, and it wasn't tasty either.

Attempt two - Success :-) yum :-)
I used store bought (flavour free) active yogurt this time. Available in most places, but flavour free may make it a bit harder to find in small stores. Yes I know it will have sugar in it, but after a few rounds of using my own live yog as culture the sugar will be pretty much gone.
Incubated for 8 hours. This time I got a full litre of yog. With slight separation.

I gave it a good stir. Tastes great, still fluid, more firm than the average local yog, but a bit granular (by sight only you cannot feel it).
Refrigerated for a day, and it has indeed become more creamy, still slightly granular in texture.
Tastes good.

Attempt three. On the go as I write.
Still using store bought yog. I had some left and I ate all the other stuff.
This is on the go now. I will leave it in the fridge for day before stirring and post how it went.

Comments so far
Making yoghurt is much easier than I thought it was going to be.
A special branded starter culture does not have to be bought, you can use any natural live yog as a starter.
It tastes good, is wholesome and I will be eating a lot more yog.

Maybe I need a bigger Yog Machine.
Price. I am using imported milk which is not cheap, but at least I know what is in it. With 1L of milk at 15-18 rmb/Ltr, and couple of rmb for electric (and a bit of starter live yog for the first batch), and amortizing the price of the machine over a year; that is around 20 rmb/ltr of fresh live yog without added chemicals.
A final big plus for me, I don't need to run into town (cost of gas, time, and traffic stress) to get it.

Win, win, win, win, win.

Anonymous Coward (323 posts) • 0

I really like this kind of article. DIY is really the only way to lead a good life in China whether you are a local or an expat.

I'm interested in making cheese, ice cream, yoghurt, cottage cheese and sour cream at home, but I'm a little worried I might make myself ill in the process. Hearing about other's success stories encourages me to try though.

yankee00 (1632 posts) • 0

Great article. Thank you.
For the yogurt maker, you can get 1.5L Bear ones with metal pots COD on 360buy.com. They also often have deals on imported milk if bought in bulk. Bought 3*12 cartons of French skimmed milk a while back for ~9rmb per litre.

I can't drink milk anymore, so I've switched to yogurt. I'm not sure if I'm not using the right yogurt or the right way to make yogurt at home, but with all the local brands and the few imported ones I bought from Walmart, Carrefour and Metro, I am still getting an upset stomach. Does it have something to do with correctly mixing the live cultures, or is my stomach completely ruined?

tigertiger (5000 posts) • 0

@ Anon...
Thx. I think a little basic food hygiene (more hygiene than you will find in many commercial kitchens here should be easy) and you should be fine.

@yankee00
Thx
It sounds like you might be lactose intolerant. This means most dairy will upset your stomach.

Strangely, although goats milk contains lactose most people who are lactose intolerant can eat/drink it no problem. Also goats milk is easy to get here.
The other option is soy milk. You can buy it in Metro or make your own. And you can also make yoghurt with soy milk. I've not tried, but there is a recipe here blog.fatfreevegan.com/2007/01/making-soy-yogurt.html

Ifoundthetuna (370 posts) • 0

I have just ordered a yogurt maker and I was wondering if anyone knows if the yogurt maker helps in making cottage cheese?

It's not the most complicated thing in the world to make it but I was wondering if the machine could help in the process, besides warming the milk up?

Ifoundthetuna (370 posts) • 0

about making yogurt...is it ok to use yogurt containing sugar or will it mess up the yogurt? In terms of flavor, I don't mind to have a few batches of sweet(er) yogurt in the beginning.

tigertiger (5000 posts) • 0

My current batch was made with a flavourless yog that I think had sugar. It turned out fine.

I would be concerned about using a flavoured yog. If the flavour was acidic/fruit juice, it may cause separation. I had this with my first batch.
This turned out like cottage cheese, and so I assume the Yog machine can help with making cottage cheese.

viajante (58 posts) • 0

Thank you for the article. That's amazing. I have a question about milk... is there any place in Kunming I can buy fresh milk from the local farmers? I just cannot make myself to buy milk imported from NZ, or some other country... doesn't correlate with my understanding of freshness.

tigertiger (5000 posts) • 0

The imported long-life milk is ok if you opt for the lower fat versions. They don't seem to have the aftertaste of the full fat versions.
I would buy the fresh milk, but getting to the shops is inconvenient. I usually by 50 Ltr at a go in Metro.

I don't know how long you have been in China, so forgive me if I am telling you what you already know.

The problem with fresh milk, that you need to be aware of, unless you know the farmer, and get it from the farm beware.
In Zhengzhou, the guy would turn up every morning with a milk churn. However most of us thought it had been watered down. Milk from the cow is rarely if ever thin and always high fat. If you think the milk may have been watered, you don't know where the water came from. Gerardia is almost endemic in SW China.

If you think that a farmer would not water for profit, when selling to people he does not know, then you have not been in China very long. And let me add that the closer to Beijing you get the more ethics there seems to be, hmmm! (clears throat), this is relative. Kunming is further from BJ than ZZ.

You can get home market milk, but there have been scandals even with the biggest producers. That is why most of us now opt for imported milk. You can get home produced pasturised milk in the supermarket. You buy this in 1Ltr tetra packs. Or you can get the bags of milk, but these are usually only about 100-250ml, or thereabouts. Most of this comes from Mongolia or Shanghai (hardly local).

tigertiger (5000 posts) • 0

The imported long-life milk is ok if you opt for the lower fat versions. They don't seem to have the aftertaste of the full fat versions.
I would buy the fresh milk, but getting to the shops is inconvenient. I usually by 50 Ltr at a go in Metro.

I don't know how long you have been in China, so forgive me if I am telling you what you already know.

The problem with fresh milk, that you need to be aware of, unless you know the farmer, and get it from the farm beware.
In Zhengzhou, the guy would turn up every morning with a milk churn. However most of us thought it had been watered down. Milk from the cow is rarely if ever thin and always high fat. If you think the milk may have been watered, you don't know where the water came from. Gerardia is almost endemic in SW China.

If you think that a farmer would not water for profit, when selling to people he does not know, then you have not been in China very long. And let me add that the closer to Beijing you get the more ethics there seems to be, hmmm! (clears throat), this is relative. Kunming is further from BJ than ZZ.

You can get home market milk, but there have been scandals even with the biggest producers. That is why most of us now opt for imported milk. You can get home produced pasturised milk in the supermarket. You buy this in 1Ltr tetra packs. Or you can get the bags of milk, but these are usually only about 100-250ml, or thereabouts. Most of this comes from Mongolia or Shanghai (hardly local).

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