14 January 2015

MOOing Yoghurt

We go through a lot of yoghurt in our house. I like it with fruit and crunchy granola for breakfast. We use plain yoghurt to replace sour cream and to make dips. I add it to smoothies. We all snack on it. We just love it.

So, with that in mind, one of the first things I learned to do when Disaster Struck, was to make yoghurt.

Way back then I snaffled a wide-mouthed food thermos and an old Bushells coffee jar off mum to use. These days I have two Easiyo thermoses and two Aldi yoghurt thermoses. Is "thermoses" the correct spelling for the plural of thermos? Just wondering.

I prefer the Aldi kits for the shape, they are shorter and rounder, more like bowls than the long jars from the Easiyo kits. The both work with exactly the same results; the Aldi kits were around $10 each, the Easiyo kits are around $20 to buy (although they are regularly on sale for $10 - $15), I was given both of mine. Look for them in op shops or at garage sales and you'll pick one up for just a couple of dollars, they pop-up regularly.

Making yoghurt, even flavoured yoghurt or a luscious, thick Greek yoghurt is simple. Really. Don't believe you can't do it - you can. And it is not only simple but really, really easy. Master yoghurt making (it will only take one attempt) and you'll have yet another thing to cross off your shopping list.

MOO yoghurt takes less than 5 minutes to prepare, costs a grand total of $1.17 a kilo and saves the Armstrong family $11.79 a week!

To make 1 litre of yoghurt you will need:

A clean 1 litre jar with a screw top lid
A wide mouthed thermos that will hold the jar
2 cups milk powder (either full cream or skim, it's up to you)
2 tablespoons natural yoghurt (this is the starter)
Cool water (tap water is fine as long as it's not really cold).

Half fill the jar with cool water, add the milk powder and the 2 tablespoons natural yoghurt. Put the lid on and shake well to combine. Make sure there are no lumps of milk powder left. Really shake it well - if you have a stick blender then use it to mix the milk powder, yoghurt and water. Fill the jar to the top with cool more water, seal and shake well.

Place the jar in the thermos. Pour boiling water around the jar until it reaches approximately 2/3 of the way up the sides. Put the lid on the thermos, sealing it tight.

Set aside for  8 - 12 hours, depending on how thick you like your yoghurt. Once it has reached the consistency you like, place the jar of yoghurt in the fridge to cool.

Now this is the most important step: save 2 tablespoons of the unflavoured yoghurt to act as a starter for your next batch.

And if you've bought a tub of plain yoghurt to use as a starter, you can freeze the leftovers in two tablespoon blobs so you'll have it when you want to make your next batch. Just let it thaw before you add it to the milk powder and water.

Sweeten to taste with sugar or honey and add fruit, syrups, muesli etc.

Most commercial yoghurt that is "thick and creamy" has had a thickener of some kind added. If you like a thick, Greek style yoghurt use full cream milk [powder and leave it out at least 12 hours. You can safely leave it out for up to 24 hours to set. The longer you let it set before chilling the thicker and tarter the yoghurt will be.

Add any flavourings or sweeteners after the yoghurt has set.

Some flavouring suggestions:

*Vanilla: Add 1 teaspoon vanilla essence, 1 tablespoon vanilla ice-cream flavouring and 2 teaspoons sugar. Mix well.
*Strawberry: Add 2 tablespoons strawberry topping and 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
*Honey: Add 1 teaspoon vanilla essence and 1 tablespoon honey. Mix well.
*Passionfruit: Stir through 2 tablespoons passionfruit pulp and sweeten to taste
*Mango: Stir through 2 tablespoons mashed mango and sweeten to taste. Top with sliced mango.

You can use this yoghurt, unflavoured, as a substitute for sour cream on baked potatoes, nachos, enchiladas, tacos and even in dips, saving even more money and cutting yet another item off the grocery list.

This yoghurt will keep for up to 2 weeks in the fridge, if you can keep it that long. It certainly doesn't last more than a couple of days in our home.

I know that many Cheapskaters use Easiyo with great results. The starters are a little pricey for me, especially after making it for just a few cents with powdered milk, but if you are more comfortable with the Easiyo sachet then you will still save money making your own yoghurt.

If you have an Easiyo thermos and jar, you can use them to make your yoghurt too.

I make yoghurt not only because it saves me money. I know what goes into it (no preservatives, additives, artificial sweeteners) and it is so convenient. We never run out, I can whip up a batch overnight, as easy as shaking a jar.

If you've never tried to make yoghurt it really is easy. Give it a try, you don't have anything to lose and lots of dollars to gain.

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  1. I now use this recipe in my easiyo. I make it twice a week and I cant believe how much money it saves me. I like to eat my yoghurt with our home grown stewed fruit. I also use it in cooking a lot :)

    I am loving this cheapskates life, the mortgage is reducing nicely. :)

    Thanks for all you do Cath,


  2. Yay on the mortgage Tania, that's wonderful news. I love living the cheapskates lifestyle too but I may be a tad biased :)

    I just about always have yoghurt on the go during summer because it goes so well with fruit and at the moment the cucumbers are going nuts so we're having lots of tzatziki with MOO pita chips, Hannah just dunks hunks of cucumber into the yoghurt and eats them and I'm using plain yoghurt instead of sour cream and buttermilk to make ranch dressing for our salads - yum!

  3. I just bought my Easiyo on special and made one of their satchets up. Now i can make my own. Im hoping it doesnt have that powdered milk taste. Im haunted by it. I grew up on a farm with a dairy cow and we (oh my gosh) drank gallons of it everyday. No one died that i know of. It was still warm and covered in cream. When my Dad died and we left the farm my Mum could only afford powdered milk and ive not drunk milk since. Yoghurt is OK, so im really hoping the powdered milk is disguised. I have a tray of blackberries ready to blend in. Fingers Crossed.


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