By Hayley Tia
With just a few simple ingredients and a 6-8 hour period, you can expect fresh yoghurt when all of your fresh provisions have come to an end. And something that really excites us is, we no longer have to purchase the plastic containers of yoghurt from the store, reducing our waste and avoiding the use of another single-use plastic item on board.
So, here are some tips to get you started.
First of all, you will need to get yourself a yoghurt maker thermos or regular thermos, ideally a wide-mouthed soup variety. If you don’t have a thermos onboard you will also find success in creating yoghurt in a large glass jar snuggled tightly into the sleeve of your wetsuit.
Good quality full cream milk powder
Probiotic capsules (opt for the best quality tablet you can afford- ideally with at least 50 billion live cultures as this will produce extra thick and creamy yoghurt)
Boil enough water to fill your yoghurt maker, thermos or jar. Let the hot water sit in this container to warm it whilst you are preparing the milk. This will also help to sterilize your container too.
Follow the packet instructions of your powdered milk to produce enough milk to fill your chosen yoghurt-making vessel. Stirring well to remove any lumps.
The next step is to add your probiotic capsule. If you are using a good quality (50 billion live cultures or more), one capsule should be enough to make up to 1 liter of yoghurt. Opt for two capsules if using a probiotic with a lower dose of live cultures.
Now is the time to pour out the water from your thermos and pour in the milk mixture, seal the light tightly closed.
Find a consistently warm spot to store your thermos for the next 8-10 hours. We find behind our stove in the sunshine a perfect spot. But maybe above your stove if you have one, or even wrapped up in a blanket in your spare berth. You are aiming to keep the thermos at around 85F/35C.
Once you can see that your yoghurt has set, move to the refrigerator to chill for a few hours before devouring.
Only once the yoghurt is set can you add flavors, sweeteners or fruits. The additional sugars from these aren’t conducive for the yoghurt to ferment and you will end up with a yoghurt soup. But after the yoghurt has set go ahead and add vanilla extract, honey, or stewed fruits- the options are endless.
So that you can continue to make delicious creamy yoghurt in the middle of the ocean for weeks on end, ensure you save 2-4 heaped tablespoons from your current batch of yoghurt to start the fermentation process on your next batch. This will replace the need to use new probiotic capsules every time. Depending on the quality of your probiotic capsule you can often repeat this process of using the last batch of yoghurt as much as 5-7 times before you have to crack a new capsule to start the process again.
My yoghurt hasn't set properly?
It could be the water source you are using to make your milk. There may be some hidden bacteria in the water that is affecting your probiotics. To combat this it is a simple matter of warming your milk mixture on the stove to above 185F/85C. Ensure you let cool to 100F/38C before adding your probiotics. This process of heating the milk will kill any bacteria in your water supply that may be interfering with your yogurt fermentation process.
My yoghurt is runny?
Your live cultures might be coming to the end of their functioning life. Try a new capsule to regenerate your yoghurt making cultures rather than using a few tablespoons from your previous batch.
Another reason your yoghurt might be runny is it may not be remaining at a warm temperature through the fermentation hours. Try wrapping your yoghurt-making vessel in foil, adding towels or even put it inside an insulated cooler bag to keep the temperature consistent.
It could be that you have been sitting in a far too rally anchorage! Yep, unfortunately, yogurt-creating cultures don't love movement when they are busy fermenting. Save yoghurt making days for calmer conditions.
And finally, maybe just give those little cultures some more time to work their magic. The longer you leave the milk in this fermentation process the thicker and more tart the yoghurt will become.
Is it normal to have clear liquid on the top of my yoghurt?
Yes, definitely. This is in fact the natural whey. The whey of your yoghurt is full of vitamins and minerals and can be added to smoothies and lassis, used as a cooking liquid, or made into a simple drink with a bit of sugar or salt.
How long does homemade yoghurt last?
Yogurt can be stored in the refrigerator, in covered glass, ceramic, or plastic containers, for up to 2 weeks, but the flavor will be the best during the first week. As yoghurt ages, it becomes tarter and if more whey separates out of the yoghurt, just stir it back in before serving.
Do you have more yoghurt based questions? Comment them below and we will do our best to answer them.
A liveaboard sailor and professional copywriter, creating content from the cabin of her floating home. Prior to life on the water, Hayley owned and operated a seaside cafe for over 7 years whilst starting a degree in marine biology. She now enjoys the space and time the liveaboard life has given her and enjoys preparing nutritious meals in the galley as well as utilising her qualifications as a yoga instructor to lead morning yoga sessions on the beach at each new anchorage.
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