Poh’s Yoghurt

11 September 2011

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I love eating yoghurt, especially at breakfast when a small tub of yoghurt and some fruit compote is enough to propel me into the day. And given the amount of yoghurt I can consume on my own, it only makes sense that I should try to make it at home.

For our wedding last year, one couple gave us a very generous gift of money which we spent on a yoghurt machine (yaoutière) and some yoghurt recipe books to go with. A yoghurt machine sounds like something destined to sit in the back of the cupboard with other long abandoned kitchen gadgets or collect dust in some forgotten corner. Even Nigella Lawson in her book Kitchen mentions that her yoghurt maker features in her “Kitchen Gadget Hall of Shame”, a freak purchase which she has never made use of.

But I love my yoghurt machine. Since its purchase, I have been happily experimenting with different recipes and different fermentation times to get the right taste and consistency. It’s all rather like a science experiment for me. When a recipe works well, I feel a sense of great triumph at having produced a week’s worth of breakfast. When a recipe fails, well, I’m happy to indulge in a tub of yoghurt from Sprüngli down the road.

I was watching an episode of Poh’s Kitchen online not long ago where she and Emmanuel Mollois were making crèpes for breakfast, and right at the end of the segment, Poh brought out a yoghurt machine with little jars of freshly made yoghurt. Emmanuel’s reaction to tasting the yoghurt got my taste buds all curious and I couldn’t wait to try Poh’s recipe. The recipe and video can be found here.

Poh’s recipe (which she got from her French neighbour) calls for full milk powder. I searched high and low in Zurich for full milk powder but could not find it anywhere – only the skim, low-fat variety was available in supermarkets here. So when I was in Australia last year, I lugged back a 1 kg packet of full milk powder specifically for my yoghurt-making experiments.

The only variation I made to Poh’s recipe was that I used normal caster sugar instead of vanilla sugar.

And the result? Hmmm … my yoghurt turned out to be fairly thick and elastic in texture, much like chewing gum. Not good. I think this might have to do with the fact that I left the yoghurt to ferment for 10 hours as per Poh’s recipe, when other recipes I have tried in the past only required about 8 hours. Also, Poh’s recipe calls for quite a large amount of full milk powder in comparison to the amount of milk used. Anyway, I’m merely speculating as to why my yoghurt turned out this way!

Otherwise, the yoghurt tasted quite nice, if not a little too sweet for my liking. But anyway, the texture was rather off-putting for me so, sadly, this recipe didn’t work for me.

I will post some other, but successful, yoghurt recipes shortly.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Caroline 11 September 2011 at 9:30 pm

Wonderful write up, lovely photos as ever, but such a shame about the recipe. I have never attempted making yoghurt, but considering the amount that gets eaten in this house, particularly with the kids, who consider it such a delicious treat, I really ought to try it….Lakeland do a yoghurt machine and have cultures too..just need to do some research. :-)

By the way, what the delicious looking compote on the side?

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eat little bird 11 September 2011 at 9:37 pm

Hi Carrie! I made a strawberry compote, making the most of the strawberries this late in the season. Yeah, it was a shame about the recipe not working out, but at least the ingredients aren’t too expensive. I have actually yet to try and make yoghurt with culture – not sure where to buy that in Zurich! So I simply use a small tub of good quality, organic yoghurt. I love making my own yoghurt because you then have full control over what ingredients you use and, most importantly, how much sugar you add.

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Julia Levy 11 September 2011 at 11:09 pm

I WANT YOUR COMPOTE BOWL!!!

Oh yes and i love your blog, as always. Keep ‘keeping it real’.

J x

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eat little bird 11 September 2011 at 11:17 pm

LOL! I thought the compote bowl would get your attention ;-) Thanks for popping by!

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Julia Levy 12 September 2011 at 12:13 am

ha ha ha, naughty. It’s just gorgeous.

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Liz Headon 11 September 2011 at 11:20 pm

I have never tried making yoghurt either. I think I was put off by my mother’s home-made yoghurt, which always tasted odd, but as she used heat-treated long-life milk to make it, I suppose that’s hardly surprising. I tend to buy the 0% or 2% fat Greek yoghurt, and go through phases of eating some every day.

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eat little bird 11 September 2011 at 11:31 pm

Hi Liz! It might be suprising to you, but most yoghurt recipes I have read have recommended using long-life milk because it is sterilised at ultra-high-temperature (i.e. UHT – I only learnt what this acronym stood for recently!) and produces firm yoghurts. Hence, it is easier to make because you don’t have to heat the milk first. I’m also a fan of Greek yoghurt and am in the process of trying a few recipes for it. If I can manage to make that at home, I will be over-the-moon!

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Jo 11 September 2011 at 11:34 pm

I might be slightly weird saying this but I could just look at the pictures of your yogurt all day long! I have a weakness for piccies of dairy products like this – there is something about their creamy simplicity I find endlessly appealing. Think it’s to do with a story book from my childhood called Blackberry Farm which had illustrations of glasses and jars of freshly milked milk I would stare at longingly, wondering why our red and silver top milk never tasted half as creamy as that picture looked! :D

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eat little bird 11 September 2011 at 11:50 pm

LOL! I will have to look up this book … Maybe because, as children, we were made to consume a lot of dairy that we also associate it with things from our childhood? But I know what you mean about the pictures … I have a few yoghurt recipe books and find myself drawn to the pictures more than the recipes! Mostly it has to do with the adorable little pots but also just the fact that something so simple can be so nicely photographed. I hope I managed this task okay!

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Nhung 13 September 2011 at 4:06 am

Hi there,

I adore your talent. I tried to make yoghurt before but in a normal way by heating water and leave the yoghurt inside for 3-5 hours. It works :D I really want to try your recipe but I dont have a yoghurt machine. What should I do? Plz, give me some advice.

Thanks :)

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eat little bird 13 September 2011 at 7:39 pm

Hi Nhung! As you have already discovered, you don’t really need a yoghurt machine to make yoghurt :-) If your method has worked after 3-5 hours, I would definitely stick to your tried-and-tested method! My mother makes yoghurt the way you’ve described it, i.e. by heating some water in a large pot, placing the yoghurt pots in the water, and then covering the pot with a lid and leaving it for about 6 hours until the yoghurt has reached the desired consistency.

I think you could try Poh’s yoghurt recipe without a yoghurt machine, using your described method. Please let me know if you do try this recipe and if it works for you! If I were to try this recipe again, I think I would halve the amount of full milk powder and check the consistency of the yoghurt after 8 hours (if using a yoghurt machine).

Good luck!

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Anita Menon 16 September 2011 at 8:26 am

I just adore the way you have designed your website.

I did not know there were yogurt making machines :-)

I make yogurt the old fashioned way. Boil milk- and when it is nearing room temp but still is warm- add a dollop of yogurt- leave it in a warm place to ferment- usually it takes overnight to do so- fine yogurt in the morning.

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eat little bird 16 September 2011 at 8:49 am

Hi Anita! Lovely to see you again :-) I’m glad you like the new site! It took a bit of rejigging but I think all the buttons work properly now ;-)

I think my mum would even laugh if she knew I had a yoghurt machine when, yes, one can simply make it on the stove.

Your method sounds quite interesting because it seems that you don’t add anything else? No milk powder or sugar? Do you also incubate your yoghurt (i.e. cover it with a lid)? I used to like my yoghurt rather sweet but in recent years, my tastes have changed and I now prefer it rather tart.

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Tram Claudel 12 November 2011 at 6:48 pm

Hi Thanh,
Just discovered your great blog. Seems like we have similar background and interest. I am a Norwegian-Vietnamese married w a Frenchman, worked in Australia but now live in Malaysia ;)

I like Vietnamese yogurt, but hard to find, so have to make my own. I tried Andrea’s recipe last year and it tasted great. In case you wanna try it out too …
http://www.vietworldkitchen.com/blog/2009/08/vietnamese-yogurt-recipe.html

Cheers
Tram

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eat, little bird 12 November 2011 at 7:32 pm

Hi Tram,

I’m so glad you’ve found my blog :-) Thank you for the link to Andrea’s recipe – I follow her blog from time to time and really enjoy it. I also love Vietnamese yoghurt and hope to post my recipe soon! It is, at least, a yoghurt recipe which has worked for me :-)

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Tram Claudel 13 November 2011 at 12:17 pm

Look fwd to your yogurt recipe, Thanh.

I did a batch yesterday using Andrea’s recipe, and my 2 old son loved it (he ate 180ml/6 ounces). But I need to reduce the amount of sweetened milk, as it was a but too sweet for my liking. Cheers.

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eat, little bird 13 November 2011 at 8:22 pm

Oh that’s great to hear that your son loved your homemade yoghurt! I think homemade is always best, especially when you can control the quality of the ingredients and how much sugar (if any) you wish to add. I just looked at Andrea’s recipe quickly and she uses one whole can of sweetened condensed milk! That does sound like a lot … I will try to put my recipe up shortly for you :-) I’m in the US at the moment but will be home soon!

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