Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Make Your Own Yoghurt and Soft Cheese

Not quite 'knit your own yoghurt', but we like to make our own yoghurt and soft cheese to save money, packaging, shipping costs and just to know that the family are getting something wholesome and homemade. I've just enjoyed a lovely breakfast of summer peaches and thick and creamy homemade yoghurt, and so I thought I'd share with you this week how we make our own yogurt and soft cheese here at Bridge Cottage.

 It really is very easy do make, with only basic equipment needed. To make yoghurt, we heat 4 pints whole milk to 90 degrees celsius, adding 4 tablespoons of dried milk, which helps to give extra thickness and creaminess. I have a handy thermometer which has a probe and tells me exactly what temperature food is - a jam thermometer is just fine too.
Next, cool the milk to 45 degrees and whisk in a small carton of live yogurt. Once you've made your first batch, you'll be able to keep some yoghurt back to add to the next batch. It must be live yogurt or it won't have the necessary bacteria to get things growing!

Your yoghurt now needs to be put into a clean pot with a lid and left overnight in a warm place. We use a recycled peanut butter tub. A large jam jar also works well. We made yogurt on Sunday night because we'd lit the fire in the dining room, and the top of the wood burning stove is an ideal place for the yoghurt to sit overnight. You can see I've put one of my husband's woolly hats on top of the pot to keep it warm!

An airing cupboard also works well, but if you don't have either, then a wide necked thermos flask will do the job just fine.

Hey presto! in the morning, you'll have a big tub of smooth, creamy natural yoghurt. Keep it in the fridge and you won't be disappointed.

Soft Cheese

Making your own soft cheese is also ridiculously easy and all you need is some yoghurt, clean muslin, a piece of string and a bowl. Place a clean, sterilised piece of muslin in a large bowl. I just pour boiling water over the muslin to sterilise it. Then draw up the 4 corners of the muslin and tie with a piece of string. I then tie this to the handle of a wall cupboard above the work top and leave it to drip.

Left overnight, you'll have a lovely soft ball of cheese which can now be added to sauces and soups or eaten on its own on crackers or oatcakes. As with the yoghurt, you'll now need to keep it in the fridge. We like to add some fresh summer herbs, chilli or garlic to our cheese for added flavour, and this time of year herbs such as chives, marjoram or basil are in plentiful supply.
It really is that easy, and very satisfying! 

Thanks for reading - do leave a comment and let me know what you make yourself. I always love to hear of new ideas.
Next week I'll be giving an update on The Woolly Pedlar, my little home upcycling business where I take unwanted jumpers and turn them into new clothes, blankets and cushions. I'm about to go on the road with my new stall and van and visit some of the regions festivals - I'll let you know how that goes, and show some of my new designs next week. Til then, enjoy the sunshine and the summer. I'll leave you with a picture I took this week of my husband planting leeks in the veggie garden.

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