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.