You can have yogurt on board even if you have no refrigeration. The only trick is, like with any starter, you have to make it regularly before your starter goes bad.
Yogurt Making Tools & Supplies
- wide-mouth thermos, sized for the amount you can eat in a few days. We usually make two cups or three cups at a time so we have a 24 oz thermos. A Thermos brand stainless steel wide mouth food storage thermos is worth the extra cost.
- food thermometer (not essential)
- powdered milk
- Yogurt starter: the first time use an organic brand with no gelatin, nothing except milk and culture if possible. Plain – no sugar, no fruit etc. Just milk and culture. After the first batch you will use your home-made yogurt as starter for the next batch.
Easy Yogurt Instructions
- Heat water to no more than 120 degrees. 110 degrees is optimal if it won’t cool down much when you put the powdered milk in. Some recipes will say 180 degrees, boil the milk, all kinds of nonsense. If you’re using powdered milk there is no need to sterilize anything.
- Add equal quantity of powdered milk to water. This makes a fairly thick greek-like yogurt.
- When the water and milk combination is well stirred and about 110 degrees (hot to the touch but you can leave your finger in there), add a tablespoon of starter for every two cups of liquid. Approximately. Too much starter can make it bitter, too little and it won’t thicken.
- Mix thoroughly and pour into thermos and close. In six to eight hours you should have yogurt. Put it in as cool a place as you can, say below the waterline. Save a tablespoon or two for making the next batch. Make the next batch before this yogurt gets moldy!
About Powdered Milk and Milk Substitutes
Powdered milk is fabulous to have on board for cooking and baking if you don’t have refrigeration. If you wish to drink the powdered milk or put it on cereal it’s much tastier if you make it ahead of time and let it sit. When I have ice I’ll make it the night before and chill it for the next morning.
Many cruisers used boxed milk and though boxed milk takes a little more room in storage it doesn’t require water to reconstitute it. Likewise canned coconut milk (the stuff that’s used in Thai recipes, not the milk-carton type like almond or rice milk) is another good choice of a milk substitute that doesn’t require refrigeration – and it makes great yogurt! It comes down to a trade-off between storage space and water – which is scarcer on your boat?
I want this to work so badly, but it keeps coming out stringy or not really… Coagulating? What can you recommend?
I’m guessing that it’s either the starter you are using doesn’t have live bacteria or the thermos you have isn’t sustaining the heat. Use a good quality yogurt without sugar or flavoring that has live cultures – the label should give this information. Do you have an instant read thermometer? They are very useful and cheap, you can get one on Amazon for less than $20. Measure the water (or milk) before you put it in the thermos, then open it up a couple hours later and measure it again. If it’s not holding heat think about replacing it. Carolyn… Read more »