Make Lactobacillus Bulgaricus Yogurt

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Lactobacillus Bulgaricus is a natural 'white hat' probiotic that can crowd out 'black hat' bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. When you make your own you can be sure that there are no undesirable extras such as added sugar or shelf-life-extension additives

Safety - Glass Jars

Acidic yogurt may leach plastic from the container into the yogurt/milk so use glass containers for any fermentation process if you have them. I generally sterilize all equipment and jars starting with warm water that I heat until boiling. Leaving everything to soak for about 5 minutes in boiling water seems to work fine

Yogurt Milk

Ideally the main ingredient for yogurt is full cream raw milk. Probably the best you will manage is standard full-cream milk from a store. I add a heaped tablespoon of milk powder per litre to this type of milk. This gives me milk that is roughly the same as fresh cow milk

Heat the milk to near boiling and allow it to cool to room temperature, remove the skin that will form on top of the milk and then add a Lactobacillus Bulgaricus & Streptococcus Thermophilus starter culture

The milk should be below 40 degrees celsius when adding the culture. A quick temperature test is to place your hands around the warm milk container. If it feels comfortable it'll be okay for the starter culture

Mix the Yogurt Starter Culture With the Milk

Whisk the mixture by hand using a simple hand whisk. I do this for about 30 seconds to ensure the added milk powder and the starter culture is well dispersed in the milk

The Yogurt Making Process Needs Air

During the yogurt making process the bacteria will produce moisture and carbon dioxide. I deal with the moisture and air requirements by placing a clean paper towel over the open jar of milk-and-culture and then cover the jars with a clean folded-once cotton tea towel. This allows fresh air to reach the mixture whilst absorbing moisture. I don't close the yogurt maker lid but place it crosswise on top of the tea towel so some fresh air can get into the yogurt maker without losing too much of the necessary warmth

The Starter Culture

Lactobacillus Bulgaricus starter may be available locally. If not there are suppliers online. Calculate the best price per gram before ordering as some vendors have inflated prices and/or excessive shipping costs. Be sure to buy a combined Lactobacillus Bulgaricus & Streptococcus Thermophilus culture. Both strains are needed to make Bulgaricus yogurt

The yogurt makers

Use a Yogurt Maker

During the yogurt making process the milk is kept at a steady temperature of about 40-44 degrees Celsius for about 8 hours. In summer 8 hours may be too long so check after 3 hours to see if the yogurt has set. I prefer to use the yogurt makers shown in the above image. They work well and each yogurt maker can accommodate a 1 litre size jar. They hold the milk temperature steady during the fermentation process. In New Zealand you can get these yogurt makers, and a small vial of fresh dry Lactobacillus Bulgaricus starter culture, from the NZ Cheese School

If the room temperature is a tad low, as it can be here in New Zealand during winter, I place a small towel over the yogurt makers to help to retain the warmth. The illustrated yogurt makers above have an internal air-wall so the glass jars inside with the milk normally stay warm for several hours following power-off. It's only during a cold winter that they need a little encouragement to stay warm!

James

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James9spot yogurt

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