When I got married – 13 years ago and counting, I remember having a meal cooked by my mother-in-law. On any given night in my home, there was always a container of plain yogurt on the table to be eaten along side the meal. On that particular night, after we were done with dinner, my mother-in-law asked us dubiously if we had liked the yogurt. What was not to like, it came out of a Dannon container. She then confessed that the yogurt was homemade and poured it into the container to set. Why did my husband and I feel so short changed and cheated by this confession? Did we really prize something bought from the store over its homemade alternative?
My poor mother-in-law never ‘went there’ again. That was until last week when we were visiting her in Florida. She realized at night that there was just a couple of tablespoons of yogurt left in the container, so she resourcefully added warm milk to it and by the following morning, it had set in to a wonderfully creamy yogurt. Thankfully, I have matured somewhat in the last 13 years and not only enjoyed the yogurt but celebrated the fact that it was homemade. In today’s vocabulary, it could be considered artisanal, but the reality was that it was very simple to make and cost effective too.
When I came home, I was excited to make my first batch. It was like a science experiment seeing something made with a benign set of ingredients morph in to a creamy mousse within a few hours.
Unlike many other recipes for home-made yogurt, this one is as ‘brick and mortar’ as they come. No need for special equipment and tutorials. All you need is a little left over yogurt, a container to set it in, some milk, a touch of sugar (to enhance the creaminess, esp. if using low fat milk) and finally, a towel to swaddle and nurture the process.
Whilst many people like to snack on yogurt in a sweet light, I am a fan of a more savory serving..switch out a sprinkle of berries and nuts with a dash of cayenne, black pepper, salt.
Low Fat Home Made Yogurt
4 TBSP. yogurt (with live cultures, such as, Dannon and Stonyfield Farm)
500 ml of low fat milk (5 cups)
1 TSP. Sugar
A container (glass/ steel)
1 towel to wrap container in
1) Bring milk to a boil and allow to cool just enough to be able to dip your finger in without it scorching you (130 degrees for those who like precision)
2) Whisk the yoghurt in the container you will set the mixture in and pour in the milk in four installments, whisking well each time to fully incorporate the yoghurt.
3) Cover the container with plastic wrap poked with a couple of holes for aeration. Swaddle (wrap) in a towel to keep it warm and then place in a warm area near a heater or in an oven with the light on. Between 6-8 hours, the yoghurt will thicken. Place in refrigerator until chilled for atleast another 6 hours – this will thicken the yoghurt further.
Saira Malhotra, is of British–Indian descent and is a chef, food writer and cooking instructor based in New York City. Raised in Hounslow, U.K, or rather ‘Little India’, where the air is aromatic with roasted spices, little did Saira know these moments would follow her from being a student in France and Italy to residing in NYC with her husband and kids and parlay themselves unexpectedly in to a culinary career. She is a graduate of the International Culinary Center in New York City. Come visit her at her food blog: www.passportpantry.com where she shares approachable and international recipes