Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest lactose. Lactose is a type of sugar found in milk and other dairy products. Lactose intolerance seems to be a complaint that is on the rise in our society, and we at Green Living Australia have certainly noticed a significant increase, over the years, in the number requests we receive for help in producing lactose free dairy products including cheese and yoghurt.
We have recently found that our yoghurt cultures do work with lactose free milk, although a small amount of sugar may be need to be added as food for the culture depending on the brand of lactose free milk.
YOU WILL NEED THE FOLLOWING ITEMS
- A yoghurt maker or a jar large enough to hold one litre of milk.
- A stainless steel pot or glass jug if planning to heat the milk in a microwave.
- Dairy thermometer.
- An esky to put the jar in or a blanket and a warm spot if you do not have a yoghurt maker.
- 1 litre lactose free milk
- 25 grams sugar may be required (to act as food for the culture)
- 1 dose of Yoghurt Starter Culture
(Up to 100 doses per sachet culture)
If using fresh lactose free milk place it into a stainless steel pot on the stove and heat to 90° C and keep it there for 10 minutes. Let the temperature of your milk drop down to 40° C. You can also heat the milk in a glass jug in the microwave. You can speed the cooling by sitting the pot into cold water, although I would not recommend doing this with a glass jug.
If using UHT lactose free milk this heat processing step can be left out, but we advise preheating the milk to between 35 and 40° C to avoid unbalanced culture growth.
Once your milk has dropped to 40° C add your starter culture and mix well to ensure the culture is evenly distributed.
Pour your milk into the yoghurt maker, or jar you have selected. Maintain the milk mixture between 37° and 43° C for 8-12 hours, or even longer.
A NOTE ABOUT YOGHURT MAKERS
An electric yoghurt maker will maintain the heat very well, but may creep up in temperature as previously mentioned.
The Electric Yoghurt Maker has been built to maintain the correct temperature range indefinitely.
A thermos style yoghurt maker will have directions on maintaining the heat. The only change required here is that in an EasiYo system for example, you should not fill the external container so high with boiling water, as to have it come in direct contact with the yoghurt container as this may scald, and kill some culture. Just fill it to the level of the hole in the baffle, and this will give you the benefit of a heat reservoir, without risking scalding or killing the culture.
If you do not have a yoghurt maker, then place your jar in an esky and add warm water, but do not have very hot, or boiling water, in direct contact with the jar. You can also wrap your jar in a blanket, and place it in a warm place; on top of the hot water heater works well in my laundry.
CHECKING YOUR YOGHURT
To check if your yoghurt is ready, press a spoon into the surface of the yoghurt and see if the impression of the spoon is left. If so, it is done.
Chill for a few hours, then mix in fruit, jam, or even trail mix, as the yoghurt is served, or eat plain, over homemade apple pie perhaps.
You can also add a probiotic culture if you wish. This must be done at the same time that you add your yoghurt culture.
As with making any fermented milk products, cleanliness is vital in yoghurt making. Make sure that you thoroughly clean and sterilise all your utensils before using them. By heating milk to 40° C and then keeping it at that temperature you are deliberately creating the perfect environment to grow bacteria. Just be sure that you are only growing the bacteria (starter culture) that you have introduced, and not some other bacteria that blew in on the wind