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Fool-Proof Homemade Yogurt #SunnahKitchen

بِسْــــــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِارَّحْمَنِ ارَّحِيم
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
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For a few years now, I've become fascinated by the way our ancestors used to live. Living off the land, using what was abundant and local, and finally making everything from scratch. I remember many a time helping my grandmother knead bread, gather eggs and slaughtering of chickens. Economics and a wish to live a more traditional lifestyle closer to the Sunnah, has driven me to experiment with the olden ways. 

Through the plephora of information on the Internet, I've learned so many skills and tips none of which I could have imagined knowing about a decade ago. Today, making  things homemade is normal in my house. Everything from yogurt, ricotta, paneer, mozzarella, preserves, homemade l'ben (buttermilk), merguez sausage, feta cheese, handsoap, dish washing liquid, laundry powder and even homemade bread - we're making it elhamdullah.  It's my way of reviving the Sunnah, reviving traditions and making life beautiful with a whole lot less. And I would like to try more advanced projects like knitting and sewing. Lessons my mother and grandmother did try to teach me as a child. Now I regret not being so enthusiastic enough or patient to learn.

I go through phases where I do a lot of projects and then I run out of energy, but I always seem to come back to it. There's something extremely satisfying about getting back to the your the basics. I believe firmly that these things taste, smell and perform better than store-bought stuff. Plus there's they are less costly and not to mention reminisce of the old pioneering days. It also gives my childrena real hands-on lessons in well just about everything from science to history. Lately I've been making a lot of cheese, preserves and yoghurt.

AbdurRahman was reported to have bought yogurt and butter in the marketplace. (Bukhari 3:264)

Yogurt is one I've been making a lot lately. Yogurt called "yaourt" or "raïb" in Algeria is present in almost all Algerian homes. Not in cooking but as a snack or sometimes even after a meal as 'dessert' when fruit is too expensive or out of season.

Yoghurt is a good way to get in your probiotics, which  are live microorganisms (in most cases, bacteria) that are similar to beneficial microorganisms found in the human gut. What they call "friendly bacteria" or "good bacteria."

There’s French, Islandic, Swiss Greek style and even Asian style yogurt. There’s yoghurt made from the milk of cows, goats, sheep, water buffalo, yaks and even vegan yogurt made from coconut.

Why make your own yoghurt at home ?
  • Save cash - it is cheaper than store bought.
  • It is nutritious - Yohurt is incredibly good for you (hello probiotic-goodness) and an excellent source of calcium.Yohurt is a good way to get the recommended intake of calcium into some children, voluntarily. And the live active cultures in the yoghurt actually are "good" for the stomach and intestines.
  • New flavors - It tastes delicious and you can be innovative changing up the flavors to your liking. Just add some fruit, chocolate, caramel, spices.  If you like discovering new flavors and ideas from in a little crazy, do not wait to get started. There will be failures, but there will be some successes that you will be proud of.
  • Fun - It is fun and easy to do with children; great edible science project for them.
  • For the sake of quality - When making your own yogurt, you obviously know what you put into it. Many commerical yogurts use pectin, starch, artifical gums and even gelatin. You choose to use milk, Local fresh cow, vegetable based milk, all according to your beliefs, desires and needs. You can choose to sweetened with your choice of sweetener. sugar, honey, agave syrup, maple syrup, cane sugar ... With homemade yoghurt, we know what we put in it! 
  • For the sake of ecology - More packaging to throw away. Mor of an ecological footprint.  Imagine your family eats yogurt 4 in one day. Calculate over a year, it's 1460 plastic containers that isn't biogradable polluting the planet .
  • Sense of pride - You can be a rock star in your own kitchen by having the satisfaction of having created something delicious yourself.
How is yogurt made ?

Yogurt has been produced since the ancient times in the same traditional and easy way. Yoghurt is made by adding live bacteria, usually L. bulgaricus and often L. acidophilus or S. thermophilus, to milk and providing the right conditions for it to flourish. Simple enough since the bacteria does all the work for you. Homemade yogurt is super simple words; You just take some Start with a store-bought yogurt containing live cultures; heat your milk up to kill off any bacteria that would compete with the new cultures; cool it down to a temperature at which the cultures will feast on the lactose and create tangy, cultured yogurt; let it rest for least 12 hours to allow this process to happen then enjoy!

4 basics to making your own homemade  yoghurt ...

Firstly, you need to decide on an incubator. Here are 15+ different incubation methods that I've seen around; ranging from super low-tech easy to super high-tech expensive. I personally don't feel I need to go out and buy up all kinds of fancy gadgets like heating padSous-Vide water bathyogurt maker/machinerice cooker or Thermomix. And some gadgets like a crockpot or dehyradtor which I think have lots of kitchen potential and would love to have, sadly I don't.  Nor do I feel I need to dig through my cabinets to drag out the cooler each time I want to make yogurt. And while I do have a thermos, my husband usually uses it to take his coffee to work. And I can't be bothered to babysit the yogurt in the steamer or pressure cooker. 
So I really prefer using low-tech, using things I already have in my kitchen like the conventional ovencardboard box, and yes, kitchen towel, blanket or even (clean) cloth diaper. Also I've finally found a safe use for that contraption I barely use - the microwave. Actually my microwave has been doubling as a handy air-tight cabinet for "treats" but also a safe and super-easy to make homemade yogurt. I’ve tried a bunch of different methods, but I’ve settled on this method since using jars is less mess and one less step. I've included instructions for 2 incubation methods. I like to use my microwave but for those who don't have one, I've included the warm oven and pressure cooker mehod also. For other methods mentioned above, just click the links.  

Second, you will need milk. Whole or 2% milk will make the thickest, creamiest yogurt, but you can also use skim milk if you like.First off, take a look at the kind of milk you’re using. While you can technicallymake yogurt with whole, 2%, or non-fat milk, a higher fat content will definitely give you a thicker, creamier yogurt. Also, avoid milk that has been Ultra High-Temperature pasteurized (UHT). This should be indicated on the label. UHT pasteurization tends to break down the proteins necessary to set milk into yogurt. If you don’t have access to raw yogurt, then you don’t know what you’re missing. Pasteurized yogurt even if organic pales in comparison to the digestibility and nutrient value of raw yogurt, so if you are able to snag some raw milk from a local farm, here’s how to make it into raw yogurt. When you're buying yogurt, also check that it lists "Live Active Yogurt Cultures" in the ingredients — we need those! The live cultures are what actually turn the milk into yogurt. The number of cultures doesn't really matter; as long as there is at least one, you can make yogurt. With this said, different strains of bacteria have different health benefits, so I personally look for the yogurt with the most number of cultures lists. Some common ones are L. Bulgaricus, S. Thermophilus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidus, L. Casei. I prefer Soumam brand here in Algeria.

Thirdly, you need to make sure all your equipment is carefully cleaned and sterilized. This ensures that no other bacteria compete with the yogurt starter during the incubation.

Fourthly, yogurt success depends on the temperature – too hot will kill off the “live” cultures; too cold and the cultures will not grow. Many people use a thermometer to make sure they have right temperature. Honestly, where I live I haven't been able to find a candy thermometer and while in the beginning I was using just a (new) thermometer from the Pharmacy now I don't even bother with that. If you don’t have a thermometer– just feel the outside of the jars. You want them to be warm, but not too hot to touch. You are going to innoculate the milk with a live bacteria, and the bacteria likes warmth. However, too much heat will kill it– so anything that is too hot for your hand is probably too hot for the yogurt bacteria as well.

This homemade yogurt is very similar to store bought in taste, but it has a little tanginess to it. Think of the little “bite” you get when you eat cream cheese. Just that little bit of sharpness. Homemade yogurt is usually creamier and thinner than store bought yogurt.  Many commercial yogurts include a thickening agent, such as pectin, starch, gum, or gelatin. Don't be surprised or concerned if your homemade yogurt has a somewhat thinner consistency without these thickeners. If you like your yogurt thicker, you can add some dry powdered milk to the mix, or you can add plain halal gelatin or agar agar. Either will make it more firm.

So here we go lets make some yogurt...

   homemade yogurt 

sunnah in the kitchen  
A two ingredient fool proof way to make yogurt at home r

how-to | serves 6-9

incubation time: 5-12 hrs


whatever you like.  

‣ 1 liter - 1 qt milk ۞
‣ 1 container (125ml, 4.4oz, ½ cup) plain yogurt with live active cultures

Optional extras:
‣ 3 TBS powdered milk or evaporated milk (for extra creaminess and firmness)
‣ 60g - ¼ cup sugar (or sweetener of your choice)
‣ 2 tsp vanilla (if you are making sweetened yogurt)

Additional optional flavorings:
‣ fruit purees
‣ nuts
‣ caramel
‣ chocolate
‣ coffee

‣ You'll need 2 large heavy bottom pots (You can also use a rice or pressure cooker for the incubation as they hold heat better)
‣ Containers with lids (or plastic wrap) to store your finished yoghurt in. I personally use glass jars. I don't advise plastic as it could melt.
‣ Towel or lid for the pot
‣ Wooden or heat proof plastic spoon. I have one seperate for this purpose, I have found if I used a metal spoon the yoghurt had a metallic taste to it.

‣ On a side note, a thermometer is not nessary for yoghurt making but you are serious about dairy production I would suggest having one around.


    It is crucial that all the equipment, containers and utensils that you use are carefully cleaned and sterilized. This ensures no other unwanted bacteria compete with the yogurt starter during incubation. 

    Pour the milk into one of the heavy bottomed pots. Gently heat the milk until boiling. If you are making a sweetened yogurt, add the sweetener and vanilla in at this stage to infuse. Then allow to cool in the pot until it reaches a temperature of  around 40°C - 104°F. The milk should be cooled enough for you to be able to stick your finger in for at least 20 seconds. If it is hotter than that, don't proceed to the next step. The starter cultures will be killed with the high heat.

    Once the yogurt has cooled enough, gently stir in the yogurt pot and the optional powdered milk, if using. Make sure the powdered milk is well incoporated, not in clumps. 

    Now add about 3 fingers width of water into the other pot. The water should cover least half way up the container. Bring the water up to a boil. Or alternatively, use your kettle to heat the water.

    If you are using any flavoring such as fruit jams, purees, or chocolate, etc/ Place these in the bottom of each container. Now pour the cultured milk from the pot into your desired containers. Then gently place them in the pot with the boiling water. You can optionally, place the containers in the pot before adding the water, then pour the milk into them. This is actually safer.

    Cover the containers with their lids or optionally with plastic cling film. Cover pot with the lid or if using a rice/pressure cooker fasten the lid onto the pot. If it's drafty or very cold in your house, I would advise placing the pot in a cold oven, as not have a (almost) airtight enviroment for the incubation.

    Allow the yogurt to incubate for at least 5 hours. Check the yogurt after about 4 hours. If you like a runny yoghurt, 4 hours should suffice. Longer incubation will make a thicker and tastier yoghurt. I personally allow the yogurt to incubate at least 12 hours. 22-24 for a super tangy variety. After incubation, place the containers in the fridge.

    The shelflife of your yogurt depends on the type and quality of milk you use. General rule is the fresher, more natural the milk, the less preservative it has,  the shorter its shelflife. In general store bought milk will yield a yogurt with the shelflife of about 10-14days. After that period, you can still consume the yogurt but it will be very tangy and seperate. If it seperates you can make Greek yogurt or cream cheese from it.

     CATEGORIES:  homeade, dairy 

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      Looking for  a way to use your yogurt? Try this labneh spread.
      •  Or check out this homemade l'ben (buttermilk) recipe.


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