Homemade yoghurt in Sakura

Surprisingly easy to make and tastier than you could imagine

Summer berry yoghurt made in a rice cooker

Yoghurt making is one of the unique add-on features on our Sakura rice cooker, this setting takes all of the hard work out of producing perfect, creamy, tasty yoghurt. The best thing is, there is no added sugar in homemade yoghurt so you know exactly what you are eating.

The key thing about yoghurt making is being able to keep a constant (correct) temperature – Sakura being a rice cooker is ideally suited to have yoghurt making as an add-on feature. The yoghurt setting on Sakura maintains the constant temperature (+38 – +40°С) required for bifidus bacteria growth and excellent development of yoghurt out of yoghurt culture and milk. Doing this yourself without an appliance to help keep that constant temperature is very difficult.

The yoghurt setting can be used to create tasty yoghurt made from cow’s milk and yoghurt starter or for dairy allergies or lactose intolerance you can use your favourite non-dairy milk and yoghurt starter instead.

The making of the yoghurt couldn’t be easier, you simply need:

  • 90g of plain, live yoghurt (if you want to use probiotic yoghurt, this is ok too)
  • 400ml of full fat milk (UHT is best – see additional notes below)

Combine the yoghurt and the milk together and place in the inner bowl of Sakura. Close the lid and select the yoghurt setting – the clock will flash on 8 hours. You can reduce the cooking time down to 6 hours or up to 12 hours; the longer the cooking time, the thicker the yoghurt, the shorter the cooking time, the thinner the yoghurt. Keeping the cooking time at 8 hours produced a perfect consistency yoghurt. After cooking, Sakura will beep but won’t switch to keep warm. Allow the yoghurt to cool and decant into containers to keep in the fridge. This yoghurt should last 7 days and you can save some of this yoghurt to make your next batch (best used within 7 days for this, so the bacteria is fresher).

Some tips:

  • You can use yoghurt pots instead if you prefer, if you do this then fill the inner bowl to half way up the pots with hot water so the water conducts the heat to the pots.
  • Using semi-skimmed milk will produce a thinner yoghurt as it has more water content than full fat milk
  • For non-dairy yoghurts, use a milk which has as few additives as possible (e.g. soy milk without sugar or vanilla, just soy beans and water should be listed on the ingredients). You can also use a probiotic starter capsules instead of a pot of non-dairy yoghurt.

Adding flavour after the yoghurt is ready – the sky’s the limit:

Always add flavour after the yoghurt has cooked, if you are retaining some to use as your next starter, set this aside in a separate pot before you add anything else to the yoghurt.

  • Use plain on granola or muesli for breakfast
  • Top with frozen or fresh berries
  • Add the yoghurt to thick, fruity jam (always add the yoghurt to the jam, it combines better this way)
  • Drizzle with honey and serve with roasted figs or other fresh fruit
  • Add honey for a little more sweetness or some vanilla
  • Make a delicious Indian style lassi with blended fruit

Additional notes:

  • UHT whole milk results in firmer yoghurt.
  • UHT semi-skimmed milk will result in less firm yoghurt. But you can use semi-skimmed milk and dissolve 2-5 tablespoons of dried skimmed milk powder per 1 litre of milk to give a thicker yoghurt.
  • Pasteurised whole milk will give a creamier yogurt with a little skin on the top. If you are using pasteurised whole (or semi-skimmed/skimmed) milk, you should boil it first. Allow to cool to hand-hot (36°C) temperature and then strain through a fine sieve to remove any skin before used for yogurt making. For a thicker yoghurt, before the milk is boiled you can add 2-5 tablespoon dried skimmed powdered milk per 1 litre of milk.

ALTERNATIVE STARTERS Instead of the plain, live yoghurt you can also use specialised starters that you can buy in powdered form from health food shops and online. Surprisingly, you can also use chilli stalks (i.e. the green part that holds the chilli to the plant which you discard) as a yoghurt starter. Chilli stalks contain bacteria lactobacillus and 10-15 chilli stalks in place of a yoghurt or powdered starter work to develop any kind of milk into yoghurt.