Fellow cruisers have been giving us recipes for yoghurt making, offered yoghurt starter cultures, but we always politely refused–it seemed like such a hassle involving either yoghurt making machines, or without such machines the process would take hours, while we’d have to regularly check with a thermometer to keep the temperature at exactly the right degree to keep the bacteria happy and working. We were content just to buy yoghurt from a supermarket from time to time.

In Tonga dairy products are a luxury, there’s milk and butter in the fridges of the (usually Chinese) supermarkets, but no yoghurt or cheese and not even Happy Cow style processed cheese (which we found in every minimarket around the world so far). But at the fourth supermarket we checked we saw a bag with yoghurt starter powder and decided to give it a try.

I hate complicated recipes, always try to simplify them and usually that works. I did the same with the yoghurt and here’s the foolproof recipe a la Pitufa for dairy dummies:

Mix 3 cups of milk (or pour it from the packet if you don’t use powdered milk) and heat it just to the boiling point. Let it cool off to a bit warmer than handwarm, stir in two spoonfuls of yoghurt starter (or yoghurt if you’re lucky enough to have some), pour the mixture into a plastic box, wrap it into a towel and put it into an insolated box or bag together with a hot water bottle. Leave it snug in there for 12 hours–voila the mixture has turned into yoghurt and is ready to hop into the fridge.

No hassle, no gadgets required. I can’t believe I used to buy the expensive stuff in tiny plastic cups (all the senseless rubbish production…).


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