Homemade Yogurt

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As I’ve mentioned, my partner is Turkish and it’s his habit to go through a half a liter of yogurt a day. Yogurt is pretty cheap in Switzerland, but milk is even cheaper and so we started making yogurt by the liter out of Swiss UHT milk.

Growing up in the States, I loathed milk. It was sour and thin (my mom always bought skim milk) and I just couldn’t stomach it, except when accompanied by cookies or chocolate cake, which masked the taste. And even then, the milk had to be ice cold. If it warmed even slightly, I couldn’t drink it.

When I arrived in Berlin in 2005, my then-boyfriend (a Russian who taught me how to cook pelmeni and borscht like his Siberian grandmother made) introduced me to German milk, which was much better than any other milk I’d ever tried. But it didn’t hold a candle to Swiss milk, which tastes like milk ought to taste. It’s nothing like the milk I grew up with. Swiss yogurt and cottage cheese are also sweet and rich and bursting with flavor, without a single sour note. Even Swiss UHT milk is a thousand times better than the freshest organic milk in the States, and so I’m perfectly happy using boxed milk for my yogurt since I don’t have to preheat it.

Instead, I just mix Swiss whole milk (3.5% milk fat) into the 1-liter yogurt maker, mix it with a tiny container of live culture yogurt (I prefer acidophilus to bifidus) and toss in a heaping tablespoon of inulin and about a ½ cup of UHT cream and set the timer for 14 hours. The resulting yogurt, thick and creamy, is fabulous spooned over blueberries or an other fruit. It’s thick enough on its own, but if I want it creamier I can drain it in a basket for an hour or two. If I leave it in the basket longer, I end up with a particularly nice yogurt cheese.

The few times I’ve forgotten and bought dairy products in the market in the States, I’ve found them inedible. My tastes haven’t changed—the milk here really is different and better.

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Kali Tal

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By Kali Tal

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