There are certain techniques in cooking which are the absolute basics, these are generally the ones which I take the most pleasure in as they are based on generations of knowledge. These can cover things such as Bread making, Pasta, sauces, Pastries, Pickling, dairy products preparation, etc.
One of the things I love the most is fermenting Milk products, one of the easiest being yogurt. I used to make my own yogurt many many years ago, but for some reason I stopped and didn’t start again until last week. I was looking at the amount of yogurt we were going through on a weekly basis plus the fact that they come in 120g containers which is a headache to open when you need 100 of them! So I started my first base yogurt last week and let it ferment over the weekend, the result I got was so convincing that Paco and I ate the whole batch (except my starter for the next batch) in 1 day!
The technique is so easy that you can even make it at home! Simply take 750g of whole fat milk and bring it to 85 degrees Celsius. Chill it down to 45 degrees Celsius then incorporate 70g of natural yogurt base. Keep the mix in an area which is between 30 and 40 degrees Celsius (I have used a container of hot water like a hot water bottle), keep it in this area for 4 and a half hours. Refrigerate and allow to naturally ferment for 3-4 days depending on how acidic you like you yogurt (the longer the time the more acidic). If you want a Greek style yogurt which is more firm and generally easier to use and more stable, hang the yogurt in a cloth over a container in the fridge over night to take out all the un-needed liquid.
As you can see it is not rocket science! Once you have started the base there will not be any need to buy yogurt any more as you will just use your yogurt as the next starter. From this base you can add your favorite flavors and/or sweeteners. You can keep the yogurt safely for up to 1 week.