So today we’ve experimented with making sheep’s milk yoghurt.
Sam first tried sheep’s milk yoghurt during a visit to the Royal Bath & West Show in Somerset. While there, he visited a sheep dairy who make lovely cheese and yoghurt from their milk – Wootton Organic Dairy.
Because sheep’s milk is naturally richer and sweeter than other milks, it makes a thick, velvety textured yoghurt with a lovely clean, sweet and acidic flavour.
We’ve always intended on making a small amount of this luxurious yoghurt for our own consumption, and we’re experimenting with whether we could make this one of our products.
Step one is to heat the milk to 85oC, and leave it there for 5 minutes. This helps the milk to evaporate and concentrate, as evidenced by the line around the side of the pan showing the original level of the milk.
Heating the milk in this way is important to get the right texture and structure in the yoghurt. Heating denatures the albumin proteins, allowing them to be captured better as the yoghurt coagulates.
It also helps sweeten the flavour of the milk by cooking the lactose.
Step two is to cool the milk down to between 42oC and 45oC. This is the ideal temperature for the bacterial cultures to grow and ferment the milk into yoghurt.
Once down to the target temperature, it is time to add a cultures. You can buy a myriad of yoghurt cultures online, but any live yoghurt is essentially a living yoghurt culture. We added about 200ml of bio-live yoghurt to the milk and stirred in well.
Step three is to pour the warm, cultured milk into whatever tubs or pots you wish to serve your yoghurt in. The yoghurt will ferment and set in these pots.
Once the milk is transferred to the pots, these should be incubated for at least 4 hours. If possible, the temperature should be kept at over 40oC during this time. The yoghurt will still ferment and set at lower temperatures, but will take much longer.
We put the pots into large Tupperware boxes filled with warm water, then placed these into the oven, to act as an insulated box.
Finally, simply wait until the yoghurt in the pots has set and turned nicely firm. If the temperature has dropped considerably during fermentation, this can take up to 12 hours, so be prepared to be patient!
As soon as it is set, place the yoghurts into a fridge and enjoy.
If you’d like to try our sheep’s milk yoghurt, watch this space! We are working on an outlet for this delicious product soon.