Yoghurt – 1 hour plus 5 hours setting
Balls – 20 minutes, plus 10 hours draining and 1 hour marinating.
Makes – about 40 balls
2 litres milk
80 grams yoghurt starter *(see note below)
Pour the milk into the TM bowl and warm for 20 minutes/80 degrees/speed 2-3. Remove the lid and let the milk cool to 37 degrees, as indicated by the temperature lights. This will take around one hour. The TM bowl will turn itself off in the meantime, but it will read the temperature of the milk when switched back on. Don’t be tempted to start making the yoghurt before it’s cool enough or the yoghurt won’t set.
When the milk is 37 degrees, add the yoghurt starter and mix for 10 seconds/speed 4 then heat for 20 minutes/37 degrees/speed 2 – 3.
Tip the yoghurt into the Thermoserver and put on the lid. Leave the lid on for at least 5 hours, or overnight, trying not to move or agitate the container at all. Refreigerate yoghurt once it has set. Save 80 grams of yoghurt to use as a starter next time, it will last a couple of weeks in the fridge.
1 quantity yoghurt (above)
1 tablespoon dried sumac, or other spices such as cumin, fennel and caraway seeds, or dried herbs such as oregano)
1 tablespoon salt flakes
1 tablespoon chilli flakes (optional)
100ml olive oil
Place a clean kitchen cloth or muslin cloth over the varoma tray and pour the yoghurt on top, leting it drain over the sink or a bowl. If you let it drain for about 5 hours, you’ll end up with thick Greek-style yoghurt. But if you let it drain for 10 hours or more, you’ll be on your way to creamy white cheese, that’s spreadable but will hold its shape. If, after 10 hours, the cheese is still too wet to hold its shape, turn it upside down and continue to drain it on a clean, dry cloth for a few more hours.
Make small balls from your yoghurt. I use wet hands; Valerie uses a small melon-baller.
To marinate the balls, take two bowls, both of which need to be big enough to hold all balls comfortably. Valerie adores a mixture of garlic, dried oregano and basil, fennel, caraway and dried chilli flakes; I love sumac, salt and chilli. Mix your choice of flavourings and oil in one bowl. Add balls. Tip balls gently from one bowl to another until they are well coated. Leave in the fridge to marinate for an hour or more. Drain oil before serving.
Place a marinated ball on hot green beans, asparagus, a jacket potato or in a bowl of soup. Create a sweet version by marinating the balls in honey, or fruit compote and crushed nuts. Use goat’s milk to create a homemade version of chèvre.
*Yoghurt starter is a bought yoghurt that contains nothing but milk and live bacteria; organic yoghurts from small producers are a good choice.