I decided to start making my own yoghurt a few yeas ago as locally I couldn’t easily find plain live yoghurt which was only available in shops in Chiang Mai city. I remembered my mum making yoghurt in the 70s, she had a yoghurt making machine that made individual pots. I think all it really did was keep the yoghurt warm while the culture was growing. Keeping things warm isn’t usually a problem here in Thailand!
So how do you make yoghurt? All you need is some live yoghurt, either shop bought or from your previous batch, and milk. I measure the milk into the pan using the pots I’m planning to make the yoghurt in without quite filling them up as you need some space for the live yoghurt. You need to heat the milk up over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, to just below boiling point it will start to steam and bubble then take it off the heat just before it boils.
Then set the milk aside for about 10 – 15 minutes until it is tepid, still warm but no longer hot. Then put a table spoon of your live yoghurt in each pot and pour in some milk. First I pour in just under half the pot and stir the yoghurt and the milk together and then fill the pot up with milk. Then I put the pot somewhere warm, but not in direct sun, and leave it for about 8 hours, or overnight for the culture to grow. I put my pots inside an ice container and close the lid to regulate the temperature, and if the weather is cool I sometimes put some warm water around the pots to keep the culture warm.
After about 7 or 8 hours the yoghurt will be ready and you can eat it or put it in the fridge. If you like thick & creamy Greek Yoghurt then you can strain your yoghurt. To do this line a sieve with a couple of layers of muslin or cheese cloth and place the sieve over a bowl and pour your yoghurt into the lined sieve and cover it with a pan lid or something and leave it for about 60-90 mins.
The whey will drip through into the bowl leaving a thicker yoghurt in the sieve. After about an hour you’ll get about 2/3 of the original quantity. If you like it even thicker leave it a bit longer. Keep the whey as it’s very notorious and can be used in soups or smoothies. If you mix in a little salt and leave the yoghurt staining for longer, best overnight, it will become Labneh / Lebanese yoghurt cheese which is quite tangy but nice. You can serve it with some olive oil, black pepper and herbs like below or whatever takes your fancy!. Why not give it a go?