I adore having yogurt for breakfast. A great source of protein, it makes wonderful cruising food too. But I had almost never had it on long passages… it invariably disappeared in the first few days out of port. Recently I have seen more and more “yogurt makers” for sale. A yogurt maker for cruising… what a fantastic idea!
Then I met Margi at Detroit Yacht Club. “Making yogurt is easy. You don’t need a yogurt maker,” the cruiser advised me. She invited me over to watch her make a fresh batch. 24-hours later her yogurt was as stiff as the Chobani Greek yogurt starter she had used.
Sure it looked easy, but I was still nervous about making my own. But my new crewmate, Hiroshi was a scientist. A scientist who specialized in fermentation no less and he talked me through it. 24-hours later I had yogurt.
Ideally you should use a Styrofoam container to keep the heat in and incubate the yogurt but if you don’t have one hot climates, or keeping the yogurt in a warm environment works pretty well.
Styrofoam or plastic container
- 1 quart milk
- ¼ c “starter yogurt” *
- Bring the milk to a boil.
- Allow milk to cool to around body temperature
- Place starter yogurt in Styrofoam or tupperware container
- Pour a little of the warm milk into the Tupperware.
- Stir the dollop of starter yogurt into the milk
- Continue adding milk slowly and stirring.
- Put lid over container and allow to stand for 24-36 hours in warm area. In this time the milk will thicken and set into yogurt.
- Check yogurt consistency
- Place set yogurt in refrigerator
*use the last of your previous batch or any store-bought yogurt will do as long as it has “active cultures.” Whatever brand of yogurt you use your new batch will turn out similar to. In other words, if you use a Greek yogurt the batch will be firm.
Alternately you can use freeze-dried yogurt starter which I recommend sailing with a couple of packs if you are cruising. That way, if a batch doesn’t turn out and you don’t lose your ability to make yogurt.
** If using UHT (boxed) milk you don’t need to boil it first
***Contrary to popular belief Hiroshi assured me that it didn’t matter if the milk carton has been opened and used or not.
***The yogurt cultures grow better in a warm environment so making yogurt will be much easier in hotter climates.