The 5-2 Challenge. Cooking From Scratch. Home Made Yoghurt In A Jar.

Home Made Yoghurt

I like to include yoghurt in my menu planning for fasting days. Relatively low in calories, high in protein it keeps me feeling fuller for longer. Most important for keeping the hunger pangs away. All yoghurts are excellent sources of protein, calcium, potassium, zinc and vitamins B6 and B12. But not all created equal. There’s a wide variety of yoghurt available on the market, ranging from plain to flavoured, non fat to full cream. Some all natural. Others full of added sugar, preservatives and artificial colours and  flavourings. A few weeks ago I chanced across an article extolling the virtues of homemade yoghurt. I had never considered making my own yoghurt, preferring to pick up a tub of all natural Greek yoghurt from the supermarket. After my recent successful attempt at making fresh ricotta cheese in my kitchen one  Sunday morning, I thought why not.  Apart from the satisfaction of making it myself, I would have full control of the ingredients used in the making of  it.  So here it is another attempt at cooking from scratch. Homemade Yoghurt in a Jar.

The idea of making your own yoghurt might seem a little complex, but once you get the hang of it, it all becomes pretty simple and straightforward. It really is much easier than you might think.  Heat some milk, let it cool, stir in a starter, pour into a jar and leave wrapped in a tea towel in a warm spot in the kitchen while the cultures work their magic overnight. Whilst yoghurt starters can be bought from specialty health food stores, the easier alternative is to use a bit of leftover yoghurt from a previous batch of homemade yoghurt or from  a tub of commercially prepared yoghurt with live bacteria. Check the label and look for probiotics, most commonly lactobacillus acidophilus. For the record I used  Chris’ All Natural Greek Yoghurt for my inaugural batch. No fancy equipment is required, although a candy thermometer helps gauge the required temperature of the milk as you heat and cool it the first few times you attempt making yoghurt at home.

The  calorie count of a batch of homemade yoghurt is heavily dependent upon the fat content of the milk used. For comparison a quick google of the Dairy Farmer’s website shows the calorie count  per 100ml of its most popular products

  • Original (full cream) milk  64 calories
  • New (2% fat) 52 calories
  • Lite White (1.4% fat) 47 calories
  • Skim 35 calories

Using these energy values  as a guide,  half  a cup  of  plain homemade yoghurt has an impressive calorie count ranging from 51 calories ( using skim milk) to 88 calories (using full cream milk) per serve.

For my first batch of homemade yoghurt I used four cups full cream milk and three tablespoons of Greek yoghurt. Simply leaving my jars to ferment on the kitchen bench overnight. Swaddled in tea towels. Truth be told I was more than a little dubious about whether this would work but as the saying goes; nothing ventured, nothing gained. In the morning we were greeted with thick, creamy yoghurt. Milder in flavour and less tangy than the commercial variety we know and love but delicious nevertheless. In fact half our household preferred it this way. In the interests of experimentation I simply left one jar on the kitchen bench for a few more hours to see if this would result in a stronger tasting, tangier yoghurt. It worked. So now everyone is happy.

How to use my jar of yoghurt?  It’s an incredibly versatile ingredient and here are some ideas:

  • On its own straight out of the tub, it makes a wonderfully healthy snack at any time of day.
  • Add a little cucumber, garlic, lemon  and herbs, its transformed into a deliciously tangy tzatziki dip. Which also doubles as an accompaniment for any meal. Particularly delicious with grilled chicken or lamb, or dolloped on top of a couscous salad.
  • Substitute thick creamy Greek yoghurt for sour cream or mayonnaise in salad dressings. The Green Goddess dressing made with avocado, herbs and yoghurt is one of my favourite fast day discoveries.
  • For a very easy breakfast or a late brunch serve yoghurt with fresh fruit or compote and a sprinkling of granola, or in a more substantial Bircher Muesli.
  • And last but not least let’s not forget fresh fruit smoothies. Incredibly refreshing on a hot summer’s day.

On my fast day I simply ate my home made yoghurt out of the jar with a little fruit. As always here is my latest fast day on a plate. A little over my 500 calorie limit. Entirely due to the unnecessary teaspoon of sugar in my evening cup of tea. Old habits really do die hard.

2 Cups of Tea
Small Mandarin
1/2 Cup Home Made Yoghurt
Mid Afternoon
2 Cups of Tea
Chicken Stir Fry With Rice
1 Cup of Tea With Teaspoon Sugar
Total Calories

Home Made Yoghurt In A Jar
Based on a recipe from Bon Appetit

Makes 4 generous cups (88 calories per 1/2 cup serve or 11 calories per tablespoon)

If you like Greek-style yoghurt, let the finished product drain in a cheesecloth lined sieve set over a bowl to thicken. As Greek Style yoghurt is thicker and creamier when strained these quantities  will yield approximately 3 cups Greek yoghurt which has a more generous calorie count of 116 calories per 1/2 cup serve or 15 calories per tablespoon.

4 cups whole milk (640 calories)
3 tablespoons thick yogurt with live and active cultures (60 calories)

START with all ingredients at room temperature.
HEAT milk in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring and scraping bottom of pan often with a heatproof spatula (for a smooth yoghurt, take care not to incorporate too much air), until milk is almost at boiling point. Temperature will register 85 C (185 F) if using a candy thermometer.
REDUCE heat to low and cook milk, without stirring or letting it boil for 20 minutes.  With a thermometer this means keeping the heat constant at 85 C (185 F).
PLACE pan in a large bowl or sink filled with cold water. Let cool to lukewarm, stirring constantly. At this point the thermometer will register 45 C (110 F).
MIX 3 tablespoons of yoghurt  (homemade or commercial) with 3 tablespoons of  the cooled milk. Add the mixture to the pan of milk, stir gently to combine.
POUR mixture into sterilised jars (instructions follow).  Wrap the jars in tea towels  and place in a warm spot in kitchen for at least 8 hours (or overnight) until it thickens. Do not disturb the jars. The longer the yoghurt is allowed to stand the thicker and tangier the yoghurt will be.
COOL in the refrigerator before using. As the yoghurt cools it will continue to set.
USE within a week. Remember to reserve 3 tablespoons for your next batch.

Sterilising  Jars

PREHEAT oven to 110°C. Wash jars and lids in hot, soapy water. Rinse well. Place  in a deep saucepan. Cover with cold water.
BRING water to the boil over high heat. Cover pan. Reduce heat to medium and boil gently for 10 minutes.
LINE a baking tray with a clean tea towel. Using metal tongs, remove jars and lids from boiling water and place upside down on tray. Place in oven and heat for 15 minutes.
REMOVE from oven and allow to cool. Jars are ready to be filled.


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6 Responses to The 5-2 Challenge. Cooking From Scratch. Home Made Yoghurt In A Jar.

  1. This really does not seem too complicated as I have always imagined. As much yogurt as we eat around here I really need to consider do this. Great post. Thank you.

  2. Jo Blogs says:

    How long will this yogurt keep in the fridge? I am definitely making this with you blueberry compote this week 😀

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