Sustainable houses & yoghurt

Green Gavin has just written about Sustainable House Day on Sunday September 9th, and it looks like his home will be open.

I’d love to go and meet Gav and see what he’s doing. But Melton is on the other side of the city from me and I make a regular Sunday trip in the other direction anyway. Too far away to do both.

I’ll keep up with the SHD site (they’re still posting locations) and see if there’s anything in my area. I could manage an afternoon visit locally and it would be interesting to see what others are doing and get some new ideas.


In the meantime, I’m really pleased with my yoghurt-making efforts. I’m using the method of Sandor Katz in his book Wild Fermentation, which I bought recently.

For Katz’s method you need a litre of whole milk and a tablespoon of fresh, live-culture plain yoghurt. (I’m doing two 500 ml batches a few days apart). For my first few batches I used el cheapo Coles milk ($1 per litre) and then switched to a brand called Great Ocean Road, which is more expensive and which Coles also stock. It made thicker yoghurt and I’m wondering if this has something to do with the permeate issue.Β  I still buy Coles milk for other things and get the Great Ocean Road brand just for yoghurt. I could also try Pura Milk (see link).

You only need to buy the yoghurt starter for the first batch. After that, you simply use some of your previously-made batch. Buy your favourite brand but make sure it contains live cultures.

Heat the milk in a saucepan to 82 C. (you’ll need a thermometer). Pour it into the container you’ll be making the yoghut in and cool to 43 C. Put a lid on it while it’s cooling to keep out any stray microbes floating round in the air.

When it’s cooled, add the starter culture and stir in. You’ll need to keep it at 43 C for at least 8-12 hours for the lactic bacteria to multiply and do their thing. If you don’t have a yoghurt maker, you’ll need to work out some sort of insulated container with hot water to do this. I make mine first thing in the morning and put it in the Excalibur dehydrator all day and into the evening. By the end of that time it’s thickened, but just to give it a bit extra, I put it in an insulated container overnight, standing in water at the same temperature (for fellow Thermomix owners, the Thermoserver works a treat. Just make sure the container will fit in the Thermoserver with the lid on). So my yoghurt gets about 24 hours maturing time:

Sandor Katz says the milk doesn’t need to be preheated, but it makes for a thicker yoghurt. He also says it’s important not to add more starter than what’s recommended. It can give a watery sour product. More is not better. I can vouch for that. I did that before I started following his method and he’s right…I got watery & sour.

I’m more than happy with my yoghurt. At less than $2 a litre what’s to complain about?

8 Responses to “Sustainable houses & yoghurt”

  1. narf77 Says:

    Great minds think alike! I just bought all 3 of Sandors books including his latest greatest. Birthday money is a wonderful thing :). I have headed down the sourdough and kimchee pathway. My kimchi is delicious, lasting and something that I will never have to fight with Steve for because he refuses to even try it (my gain :)). I just sent you some seeds. Hope you can use them in your wonderful garden and I would love to see what you do with them :).


    • foodnstuff Says:

      I wish I’d known he had a new book in the pipeline when I bought the previous one. I need some birthday money too πŸ˜‰

      I finished my second batch of kimchee last week. Will be making more for sure.

      Will be looking forward to getting the seeds. I love surprises.


      • narf77 Says:

        I will be spending a bit of time searching your blog archives and scratching around the permaculture sites as we want to put in a veggie garden this year. I went to a permaculture day yesterday that didn’t result in much. A bit frustrating as I want to learn and “DO” where most of these “meetings” are learn… talk…have a cuppa…talk some more… go home”. Ad infinitum. I get more information (and spend less petrol money as yesterdays little event was a 140km round trip for a cup of tea and a natter…) from books and from blogs like yours. Glad you are into kimchi, everyone else I know would rather eat their own dirty socks ;). The new book (Sandor) is a “feel your way around fermentation” book and doesn’t actually have a lot of recipes, its more to do with working with what you have (as you can ferment just about everything!) and messing about with specific cultures and what you are likely to get if you do (most probably something smelly and bubbly if my past fermentory experiements are any indication πŸ˜‰ ). I hope you like the seeds and we are going to plant “Barbara” out this year πŸ™‚


  2. maidenfarmer Says:

    I too love Sandor Katz work. It’s a great read and I am in awe of how much knowledge he has documented that we have lost out of the traditional household generally. Impressed how you combine the wild fermentation with your new fangled gadgets πŸ™‚
    I can’t wait to see if I can mesh the whole cycle of growing, pickling and preserving and getting my own seasonal rhythms going.
    Will have to not be communrinf hours a day working full time before it will really gel I think. But planning for it!


  3. mikestasse Says:

    G’day Bev….. didn’t even realise you had this blog until I noticed your name was linked to it at that comment you left over at my blog! Nice…….

    As you know, I have my own milk from my lone goat (soon enough to be joined by her daughter who is growing big and strong!), and just yesterday I had another go at making yogurt. Seeing as I make pretty good cheese, you wouldn’t think making yogurt would be a challenge, but mine never sets (or even turns out like yogurt), and I have only JUST discovered why….

    A couple of years ago, I bought a Maison yogurt maker from Aldi. It’s a flat tray device with a clear top, comes with seven small glass jars with screw on lids that neatly fill the base. In the base there’s a 15W heater to, supposedly, keep it at the right temperature. Only trouble is…. it’s way too hot! I left my cheese making thermometer in it this time, and when I came home found it at 60C. Yogurt shouldn’t go over 43C, otherwise you kill the culture. Grrrr…. bloody hi tech gizmos!



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