Thursday, 4 June 2009


I've given up buying Actimel/Yakult/Pro biotic tablets, and I've gone back to eating Natural Live Yoghurt (NLY) and Kefir. The easiest way I find to do this is to make a banana or strawberry (or whatever) smoothie each day.

I'm consuming vast quantities of NLY this way, and it's most cost effective to make my own. The only "special" equipment you need is a flask, preferably wide-mouthed otherwise it can be a bit hard to get the yoghurt out at the end. Check the capacity of your flask: my "one pint" flask is actually only 500ml, and that's useful to know when you're working out how much milk to use.

So. Put the milk on to boil. You need a bit less than the capacity of the flask. I use about 475ml. You need to boil it to sterilise it, so that the only thing that ends up growing is your yoghurt.

While that's boiling, boil some water and fill and seal the flask. This is to get the inside warm. If it's not, then when you put your final mixture in the flask, the cold walls of the flask will make it too cold to work.

Once the milk has boiled, take it off the heat and leave it too cool to body temperature. You can test this by putting a - clean - little finger in. If it's hot, it's too hot; if it's cool, it's too cold. I Try not to forget about it. If you're in a hurry, you can plunge the saucepan into a sink of cold water.

When it's at body temperature, you can add your other ingredients. I use 2 tablespoons of milk powder (makes the yogurt a but thicker), and 2 tablespoons of Natural Live Yoghurt. You can use yoghurt from an earlier batch; I find that after a while this ends up with a sourer yoghurt, which I don't always like. So, I use a really good quality NLY (My current starter of choice is Rachels's Live). It might seem odd buying yoghurt to make yoghurt, but you can get a number of pints of yoghutr ot of a carton of the bought stuff.

Stir or whisk these in. Empty the hot water from the flask, and put the Yoghurt into the flask. Screw the lid on and leave on the side for 12 -24 hours, or even longer. Sometimes the yoghurt is lumpy (although I've only had this happen once), in which case you just need to stir it briskly.

I've also done this successfully with a Greek Yoghurt (again, I use Rachel's) as a starter, but I find that it's best to use bought yoghurt each time as a starter.

If you don't use that much yoghurt, you can always decant the bought yoghurt into two tablespoon portions and freeze. Defrost overnight in the fridge to use as your own starter.

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