Yoghurt one of the foods that you cannot live without, especially here in Bulgaria. Bulgarian is famed for being the only country in the world where the bacteria can be found to culture yoghurt.
Homemade yoghurt production has been going on ever since I moved here in 2005. The result have always been very good to excellent whilst experimenting with various methods.
My methods had gone through various stages using unpasteurised village milk in Skalitsa from farmers and in Yambol City centre where milk can be bought from vending machines filled with local village imported milk topped up each day. This meant I had to put it through the heat treatment by boiling the milk and cooling before it could be used. It may be slightly cheaper to buy but the gross amount of time waiting whilst boiling and cooling down kept nagging me along with the cost of heating and then seeing that energy run away whilst cooling was annoying and the waste of energy (and money at the end of the day) didn’t feel right. There was the consideration to not put it through the heat treatment and I did try this once although with a history and culture of good hygiene the risks were too great to take chances with potential harmful bacteria.
During the time of experimenting, it wasn’t only cow milk that was used. Sheep and goat milk were conjured up in the process, but it was only me that like this variant of yoghurt. Galia couldn’t cope with the overpowering smell and pungent tastes of these smaller mammals’ yoghurt.
After all this time I have come up with an ideal method to make yogurt that give perfect results each time and uses the minimum of tools, is extremely economical, eco-friendly and takes up a minimal amount of time and work. Also you have a choice of what type of yoghurt you prefer, whether a low fat content or full bodied creamy textured yoghurt depending on the type of milk you choose.
I call it the bucket yoghurt as it is made in a plastic container (small bucket) that original was designed to hold 1 Kg of yoghurt. Yes I did buy this from a shop in Elena with some deliciously rich locally homemade yoghurt in, but now the bucket is again firmly into another homemade yoghurt production line here in Yambol.
My favourite textured yoghurt come from milk that has a 3% fat content which gives a good sound textured finish with lots of taste. Funny enough experimenting with milk that has different fat content felt a bit like the routine Goldilocks had tasting the three porridges on tree bears table. Likewise, I’ve tried 0.5%, (too thin and watery) 1.5% (okay, but not fully bodied enough) and 3% (lovely slightly creamy and perfect for everyday use). I also tried the 6% fat content milk, but couldn’t live with the thought that the lovely creamy rich texture wouldn’t serve our health much good. Although perfect for special occasions and guests.
Tools needed are so simple.
- 1 elastic band
- 1 litre plastic bucket with lid
- 1 tea towel, bath towels, jumpers and coats or indeed any material to insulate 1 Tablespoon to mix
Ingredients to make bucket yoghurt is simple.
|Yoghurt Left Over From Previous Batch|
- The last couple of tablespoons of yoghurt left in the 1 litre bucket from the previous batch of yoghurt. (Or from a fresh live yoghurt from the shop if doing this for the first time.)
- 1 litre bottled/carton of UHT milk
The method is just as simple.
|Around 5 Minutes in Microwave|
Put the milk in a microwave oven on full for five minutes or until the milk is slightly warmer that blood temperature (40 C). Add the milk to the bucket with the last remains of the previous yoghurt and mix well with a spoon.
Place the bucket on a towel and cover with a tea towel tying the elastic band to the top is tight and doesn’t sink into the yoghurt. (The plastic lid is not used as it would cause condensation and subsequently drip into the yoghurt; we want a water free yoghurt with the evaporation of any condensation being absorbed by the tea towel cover.) Cover with many extra layer of materials collected and leave for 8 hours or overnight.
|Bucket Yoghurt Under Covers|
|The Finished Product|
Remove all the insulation material, the elastic band and tea towel and leave the bucket with the fresh yoghurt to stand without the lid on to reach room temperature then place in the fridge now with the lid now on and it is ready to use after an hour.
My yoghurt keeps for up to 10 days in the fridge, but rarely lasts that long. But don’t forget not to use all the yoghurt and keep a little back to be used for the next batch.