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In the olden days I would have traipsed to my local library to research the why and wherefores of gadget free yoghurt making. It’s not that I’m a luddite when it comes to electronic gadgets, quite the contrary, but I want to be able to make yoghurt in the remote outback of Australia when the only electricity I’ll have available will be that generated by the sun and fed back to me at a limiting 12 volts.
I gathered information from far and wide via my mighty search engine. So much information, so much contradictory information!
My search parameters were clear, lactose free milk with lactose free starter, no results. Lactose free milk, acidophilus tablet starter, no result, but I did pick up a thread that talked about using the contents of an acidophilus capsule to start a yoghurt culture using soy milk, coconut milk, even almond milk.
Armed with a modicum of courage that any milk will do, I decided I had nothing to lose except one litre of milk and one dairy free probiotic capsule. (29/04/13 Rice milk will not turn into yoghurt)
At 10am I heated my litre of lactose free skimmed milk to 45C on my candy thermometer, opened the acidophilus capsule and whisked its contents into the milk. I poured the mixture into a clean preserving jar with a clip lid, wrapped the jar in towels then placed it in an insulated bag. I zipped the bag then put it outside in the sun until the early evening when I brought it back into the house.
At 9pm I removed the jar and opened the lid, it smelt like yoghurt, but the contents of the jar were completely liquid. The milk had cooled to 29C, much too cool!
I refrigerated my jar of sour milk and went to bed in disgust!
Well, it was my body that went to bed, my mind was sitting in the fridge with that damn jar of sour milk, willing it to magically become silky natural yoghurt. Eventually, still sleepless, back to the kitchen I went.
batch NO 2
At 11.15pm, I emptied the sour contents of the jar into a saucepan and raised the temperature to 45C, I whisked in the contents of a second acidophilus capsule, then a third and a fourth. I sealed the jar, wrapped it in towels, returned it to the insulated bag and snuggled it up on the couch covered in cushions and blankets for a cosy night of rest. Me, I went back to bed and slept soundly.
At 8.30am I stole a peek.
The jar was a lot warmer than it had been the previous day when I had removed it from it’s cocoon. In the jar I had a sediment of 200 millilitres of thick bitter grainy yoghurt topped by 800mls of whey.
It was back to the computer to do more research.
An article I read suggested that the acidophilus needed lactose in which to feed to enable the conversion of milk to yoghurt. Another stated that the more starter you used the thinner the yoghurt would be. Armed with this next to useless information I decided to have just one more try.
batch NO 3
At 8pm I heated my litre of lactose free semi skimmed milk to 45C on my candy thermometer. I then whisked through about 30% of the super thick sediment left from the previous attempt which I had warmed to room temperature. I poured the inoculated milk into the cleaned and sterilized clip top jar, wrapped the jar in towels, slipped a warm wheat filled heat pack to the bag before adding the jar and closing the zip. Covered with cushions and a woollen throw rug, it spent the night on the couch. It was a balmy overnight, the ambient temperature only dropping to 20C.
At 7am the next morning I opened my incubator and “eureka” I had a jar of thickish, silky, slightly tart yoghurt. Yay! Was it a fluke? Another batch using my successful yoghurt as the culture would be the true test.
Around 4pm I scooped 2 tablespoons of batch 3 into a bowl and put it aside on the kitchen bench to warm slightly.
At 7.30pm I warmed 1 litre of semi skimmed lactose free milk to 45C on the candy thermometer. Using a wire whisk, I added the room temperature yoghurt to the milk, poured it into my sterilized clip top jar then I put the jar to rest wrapped in towels, warmed with the heat pack in the insulated bag. Again I packed cushion around the bag and covered the whole lot with a woollen blanket, and again the ambient temperature dropped no lower than 20C.
Rising at 7am, the first thing I did was check my yoghurt. The result was better than batch 3, thicker, but still silky smooth and pleasantly acidic. There was a little whey around the yoghurt in the jar, but only about 100mls total, I was very happy with the result.
The next challenge is to keep my culture alive by making a batch of yoghurt every week, and I’ll try using UHT milk so my outback yoghurt making success is assured.
TO MAKE LACTOSE FREE YOGHURT WITHOUT GADGETS
Equipment: an insulated bag such as a car chiller bag
wheat filled heat pack such as you use for sports injuries if using a jar
1 litre clip top preserving jar or a 1L wide mouthed thermos flask
Ingredients: 1 litre lactose free milk (in Australia Zymil or Liddell’s)
2 acidophillus capsules ( in Australia Ethical Nutrients Inner Health, Dairy Free)
Sterilize the jar*. Warm the milk in a saucepan on the stove top until the thermometer registers 45C/115F. Open the capsules, sprinkle the contents over the milk surface then whisk to incorporate. Tip the inoculated milk into the jar, cover and seal.
Wrap the jar in towels, place into the insulated bag with the hot heat pack and keep it in a warm place for 8-12 hours.
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