While successful dairy farmers in Kenya are raking profits to the tune of hundreds of thousands simply from the sale of raw milk, others are making millions from the same milk through value addition. Think of this, raw milk earns a farmer about Ksh40 per litter. Once the same milk is pasteurized and packaged, it will retail at more than Ksh40 per half a litter. And whatâ€™s more, the same milk made into yogurt will retail at more than Ksh80 per half a litter! Does that capture your business and profit making spirit?
Well, most dairy farmers in Kenya have shied away from value addition, such as making yogurt, because they think it is a much-sophisticated process that should only be left for those with the power to put up big processing firms. But did you know that you can make yogurt at home and produce the same or even better quality products than what you get from the supermarket shelves? Yes, you can, and that is what I want to teach you today.
How to make yogurt at home: what you will need
- One litter of milk (you can have more but this is good for a start)
- About Â¼ glass of ready yogurt (source of live cultures)
- Sugar (amount will depend on the desired taste)
- Equipment; Source pan (sufuria), thermometer (optional), heater, oven (can be improvised)
Procedure of making yogurt at home
Step 1: Heat the milk in a source pan until it boils. Keep stirring during heating to prevent the milk from burning.
Step 2: Cool down the milk to about 43Â°C. If you do not have a thermometer, donâ€™t worry, you can use the natural one â€“ sense of touch. 43Â°C is the temperature at which the milk is just hot enough to touch. You can let the milk cool under room temperatures but you would better place it in a fridge or a container of cold water to speed up the process. Keep stirring to ensure that the milk has even temperatures.
Step 3: Maintaining the milk at between 32Â°C and 43Â°C, add the ready yogurt into the fresh milk. You may need to heat the ready yogurt a little to maintain the temperature. The ready yogurt will act as a source of active cultures, the bacteria that aids in the process of converting fresh milk into yogurt. At this stage, you can also add sugar and other flavours to your taste. Make sure you put at least one teaspoonful of sugar to feed the bacteria.
Step 4: Incubation. This is the final stage in making yogurt at home. You will need to maintain the temperature of the milk mixture between 32Â°C and 43Â°C throughout the process. This is done to allow the bacteria to grow and act on the milk mixture. There are several ways to do this. The easiest one is to place the mixture in a home yogurt maker which will automatically regulate the temperature at the required level. However, if you cannot access a home yogurt maker, you can use an oven, a rice cooker or you can simply heat the milk to about 43Â°C then cover the container and place it in layers of insulating materials (such as blankets) to maintain the temperature. The incubation process should take at least 4 hours and you have your smooth yogurt made at home.
Notes on how to make yogurt at home
You can choose to add powdered milk. This will increase the nutritional value of the yogurt you produce and will also help it become thicker.
After incubation, a layer of clear liquid will appear at the top of the yogurt. There is not harm in stirring this liquid back to the yogurt but you can strain it off to attain a thicker product.
The longer the yogurt stays in incubation, the thicker and smoother it will be. There is no harm if the temperature drops below 32Â°C during incubation. It only means that your yogurt will take much more time to be ready.
After making the first batch, you can use the yogurt you get as ready yogurt for making the next batch.
To make yogurt at home for sale, you only need to increase the ratio of ingredients and size of equipment. However, it would be best if you use a yogurt maker to make your work easier and not run the risk of producing low quality yogurt.
Take advantage of milk value addition. You can make your own yogurt at home and sell it to increase your profits from dairy farming.
I wish you all the best.