My wife loves Greek yogurt. With its higher price tag, I asked, “Will it be more cost-effective to make homemade yogurt instead? Can we make it with just the available materials in our pad?” Filipinos have always been inventive. We make do with what’s available and jump hoops to tackle problems at hand. At times they’re innovative. Other times, they get awkward. (Just see how we fare with our electrical lines. 😉) Yet after all the experimenting, Filipinos will give you a big and warm smile that comes from a deep sense of achievement and success. 😄
Ingenuity noun /ˌinjəˈn(y)o͞oədē/
the quality of being clever, original, and inventive, often in the process of applying ideas to solve problems or meet challenges.
Making Greek Yogurt the Filipino Way
1 Ingredients: Get a low-cost full cream milk (or glean it), and your favorite brand of yogurt. Preferably, this should be plain unflavored yogurt. Avoid choosing yogurt drinks for these were likely pasteurized and would no longer harbor live probiotics. 🤓
2 To kill off harmful bacteria, heat the milk between 70°C and 80°C (160-180°F). You can use a stove top, preheated oven, or a water bath. For thicker yogurt, keep between 70 and 80°C for about 30 minutes.
💡 How will you keep the milk at the desired temperature? You can choose between the Science-y way (use a thermometer) or the Filipino way (pat and feel with your fingers). 😅 To estimate, our hands can usually tolerate a temperature of around 45°C (110°F) when dipped in hot water. Try to approximate from that. 😉 Yup, we used no thermometer!
3 Let the milk cool down to about 30 or 40°C (90-100°F). How to guesstimate? Remember that fever starts at 37°C, while high fever is about 40°C. Now we’re sure you’ve perfectly got this. 😊
Once you’re at the right temperature, add yogurt to the milk. Make sure the temperature is not too high or the yogurt bacteria may die off. About two to three tablespoons of yogurt for every liter of milk will do. It’s no exact science, so feel free to experiment.
4 Allow the milk + yogurt mixture to incubate at 35 to 42°C (95-108°F) for six to 12 hours. Here are some innovative ways to do this if you don’t have a yogurt maker:
- Heat in the stove top from time to time, making sure you keep below 45°C.
- Place at the back of the fridge or any machine where it is warm.
- Buy old school light bulbs and incubate the same way as for hatching eggs chicks. 🥚
- Hug it while you’re sleeping.
- Place inside an oven and set its temperature to 40°C (even when the minimum temperature mark of your oven is 50°C). This is what we did. 😄
5 Once your mixture reaches a jelly-like consistency, congratulations! You’ve made yogurt! 🎉 You may store or consume this yogurt already. But for those who like Greek-style (a.k.a. strained) yogurt, you may get a thicker consistency by straining the excess liquid (the whey) using cheese cloth.
💡 What if you don’t have proper cheese cloth? We asked for a used flour sack from our kitchen and bakery. 😊 We then cut out the back of the sack and held it to a deep pan using rubber bands from our laundry. Drain enough whey for about an hour or so to get your desired thickness. If you drained too much whey, simply mix some of it back to the yogurt.
💡 What can you do with the whey? It contains the very probiotics that turned milk into yogurt! Some people choose to flavor whey and make it into a healthful drink. (Believe me, it tastes healthy.) 😅 We refrigerated our whey so we could use it for our next batch of yogurt. Yep, it can be used as a yogurt starter. And why use whey? Because the extra tablespoons of yogurt is sayang for my yogurt-loving wife. 😄 You know, Filipino-way. Dapat, walang sayang!
So, what can my love say about our yogurt?
Enjoy your homemade goodies made the Filipino way!
Summary of steps
- Pasteurize milk between 70°C and 80°C (160-180°F).
- Let milk cool down to about 30 or 40°C (90-100°F) and then add yogurt or whey.
- Incubate at 35 to 42°C (95-108°F) for six to 12 hours.
- To be Greek-style, strain whey from the yogurt until desired consistency is achieved.