Make Yummy 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. I get my Lactobacillus Bulgaricus from yogurt. Here's how I make my own at home

spoon of yogurt

Cleanliness

I start with a hands wash and dry. Then I sterilize the utensils using a steamer unit. The same type of pot-steamer we use for cooking food. It takes about 5 minutes once the steam if hot. To reduce the risk of glass weakening from contact with a cold surface I place a paper towel or something similar under the glass jars when I remove them from sterilization

Yogurt Milk

The main ingredient for traditional yogurt is full cream raw milk from a cow but I use standardized full-cream milk from a store and add a flat tablespoon of milk powder to every half litre of milk. That's roughly the same as fresh cow milk

I heat the milk to near boiling and allow it to cool to room temperature, remove the skin that will form, 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 my hands around the warm milk container. If it feels comfortable it'll be okay for the starter culture

I then whisk the mixture by hand using a simple hand egg beater whisk. I do this for a couple of minutes to ensure the added milk powder and Bacilicus culture is well dispersed in the milk

Milk-and-Culture

During the yogurt making process the bacteria will produce some moisture and a little CO2. The milk-and-culture also needs to have a little fresh air so screwing the lid onto the jar at this stage is not advisable

The way I deal with the moisture and air requirements is to place a clean paper towel over the open jar of milk-and-culture in the yogurt maker. Making sure that there is no contact with the milk I then cover both the jar and the paper towel with a clean folded-once cotton tea towel

This allows air to reach the mixture whilst absorbing moisture and stopping possible contamination from dust particles. I don't close the yogurt maker lid but place it crosswise on top of the tea towel so some air can get out from the yogurt maker without losing too much 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

An alternative method is to buy a fresh Greek Style Natural L.B Bulgaricus yogurt from a store and use a large tablespoon of that as your yogurt starter. In NZ the small 6-packs from New World stores are ideal. You only need one of the 6 for a 1 litre batch. You could use much less but I choose not too. It's just a personal preference

Check the container ingredients to be sure that you have selected a Lactobacillus Bulgaricus & Streptococcus Thermophilus yogurt. Both bacterial strains are needed to make Bulgaricus yogurt. The S.Thermophilus helps the L.B.Bulgaricus remove the lactose in the milk

Yogurt Maker

During the yogurt making process the milk is kept at a steady temperature of about 40-44 degrees Celsius for 8 hours. In summer 8 hours may be too long so check after 3 hours to see if the yogurt has set. In winter it may need longer. When I use a heaped tablespoon of starter from a previous batch to start the yogurt the setting time is just a few hours

Leaving the freshly set yogurt in a warm place will allow the L.B. Bugaricus bacteria to continue their lactose devouring action. Placing the freshly made yogurt in a cold place or in a fridge slows that natural process but allowing it to continue in the warm is okay. It'll just produce yogurt with less lactose and a slightly more acid

Alkaline Mints

I should also mention that acidic food such as yogurt may attack tooth enamel so consider a quick mouth wash with water after eating this type of food, or chew something alkaline such as Xylitol Mints to help neutralise the acid

yogurt maker

The yogurt makers imaged above work well and hold the milk temperature steady for the setting process. During winter when NZ temperatures are low I place a small towel over them to help retain the warmth. In NZ these yogurt makers are available online from the NZ Cheese School

Starter Storage

Normally I use a heaped tablespoon of yogurt from a previous batch as my starter. When I decide to make a new batch of yogurt using a commercial starter powder I double the suggested amount of culture to accelerate the initial fermentation process. My aim is to get the process started quickly to minimise contamination risk

Dry starter culture is available from the NZ Cheese School. Mine is stored in a small capped glass phial in the fridge near the cold air source. It'll be good for about 2 years

If this article was helpful please give it a 'Like'. Thanks

James