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Making yoghurt is a great way to reduce your plastic footprint, especially if you buy the tools you need second hand or repurpose equipment. I always use a glass jar to make my yoghurt in, and have repurposed 1 litre jars that once contained tomato pasta sauce.

Needed for this recipe:
A second hand thermal yoghurt maker (I got an EasiYo from my local op shop)
A repurposed 1 litre glass jar
950 mls of full cream milk (just under 1 litre, so you don’t over fill the jar)
1 tablespoon quality natural yoghurt (the ingredient list should only contain milk and live cultures). I buy a tub of thick, creamy yoghurt as a starter.
750 mls boiling water
1. Heat milk on a low heat in a saucepan until it shimmers/almost simmers. You will see a bit of foam forming on the sides of the pan.
2. Cool the milk on the bench until it is lukewarm (about half an hour). You can test the temperature by dripping a small amount on your inner wrist. It should feel neither hot or cold.
3. Boil water. Tip a small amount of water into your sink (to warm the sink a bit), put your glass jar in the sink, pour a small amount of hot water into your jar to ensure it is really clean, tip the hot water out.
4. Keep your glass jar in the slightly warmed sink and poor your lukewarm milk into the jar, mix in the tablespoon of yoghurt (the warmed sink is just to reduce the chance of the glass jar cracking).
5. Remove the removable insert/platform from the EasiYo
6. Fill the thermal yoghurt maker with enough boiling water that the water level will sit under the insert/platform (approximately 500-600mls). Please note that this is different to what you do usually with a thermal yoghurt maker and there are two reasons for doing it this way. The first reason is that the boiling water may kill the cultures in the milk, resulting in less set yoghurt. The second reason is to reduce the chance of the glass jar cracking.
7. Put the removable insert/platform back in the thermal yoghurt maker and make sure the hot water level is below this platform.
8. Put the jar containing the milk and yoghurt culture into the thermal yoghurt maker and leave for around 10-12 hours.
9. After 10-12 hours remove your yoghurt and store it in the fridge.
10. Remember to make another lot of yoghurt before this jar is completely eaten, using some of this yoghurt as your starter for the next lot of yoghurt.
Glass jars are a safe choice for yoghurt making as the acidic cultures can’t degrade in glass, no matter how many times you reuse them.
Glass jars are completely recyclable and reusable and don’t contribute to our world’s enormous plastic problem
Shopping for the thermal yoghurt maker at an op shop extends the life of a plastic item that has already had a life in another home, and once (re)purchased will last many, many more years. My secondhand ones are still going strong after 15 years, and I have 3.
If you go through less yoghurt and want to make a smaller amount then use a smaller jar, as it will still work well. Or you could make yoghurt in the 1 litre jar, but just half fill it.
This recipe is thousands of years old, probably about 5000 years old, although clay pots and animal organ linings would have been used instead of thermal yogurt makers and glass jars.
It was around 5000 years ago that the first gene mutations appeared, allowing some human populations to digest milk products, particularly fermented milk products. Around 30% of humans currently have the gene to enable digestion of milk products.  Enjoy!

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