Homemade “Horchata” Yoghurt

This breakfast took about 3 days to prepare. Usually, my breakfast requires no brain power or thought, I shuffle half-asleep into the kitchen and numbly go about making coffee and a smoothie. I make the same thing every day which, in a way, is comforting. I know that many people, my friends included, do not even eat breakfast. They are too busy running around and getting ready for school. I’m not a person who heats her mug before pouring the coffee in, but that’s the goal.

I know that you cannot totally equate getting a drive-in meal from McDonald’s and eating it as you drive home with hurriedly making yourself toast or cereal in the morning before school or work, but it’s close enough. The Slow Food Movement isn’t only about boycotting fast food chains, it’s also about taking more time when eating. I thought that breakfast, perhaps the most neglected meal, would be a nice way to show what I mean.

Over the week, I talked with Gabriella Della Croce, a local woman who grew up in a slow food, Italian household. She talked to me about the way she grew up, about always having to sit at the table, waiting for the food to be brought out, making gnocchi with her mother, etc. For her, the slowness manifested in the time it took to eat and cook, and the tradition of sharing each and every meal like it was your last. She told me that it helped her to appreciate food not only in her childhood but also throughout her entire life. Her mother is a well known food writer, and has been mentioned by the New York Times for her talents, her name is Julia Della Croce.

This weekend I made yoghurt, a suggestion that my humanities teacher, Neale Gay, gave me. Turns out he’s a chef on the side! After talking to him, I did some research online and after reading many sketchy ask.com type cites (“how to make yoghurt in 10 minutes”) I settled on the Bon Appetit version with some helpful tips from The Stone Soup. I’m still not clear on what a ‘starter culture’ is, but all of these sources, in addition to my teacher, just said to use some fresh yoghurt.

Interestingly, there can be any milk base, including coconut or almond. The yoghurt you use should be fresh, this is a must. READ ALL OF THE DIRECTIONS, the first time I tried, I made this mistake and shook the yoghurt and put it in the fridge, which ruined the entire batch.

This recipe is basically word-for-word of the Bon Appetit Recipe but I did add some cinnamon and almond extract to boost the flavour. I let mine sit for 14 hours, but I would just taste it after 12 and determine how you like it best.

Tools Needed

  • Candy Thermometer
  • Heat-Resistant Spatula
  • Bowl of Ice Water
  • 1 quart Mason Jar, or 2 two-cup glass jars
  • aluminium foil, towels


  • 4 cups milk (I used whole but coconut, soy, rice or any kind of cow/goat milk)
  • 3 tbsp. yoghurt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 tsp. pure almond/vanilla/coconut extract (optional)

Start with 3 tablespoons active yoghurt

Tools Needed

Heat milk in a pot over medium heat, stirring and scraping bottom of pan often with spatula (don’t over-stir), until thermometer registers 185°. Mix in the cinnamon and almond extract before the milk reaches this temperature.

Reduce heat to medium-low and cook milk, without stirring or letting it heat above 185°, for 20-25 minutes (it will be slightly thicker at the longer cook time). You want it vacillating anywhere between 120°-150º.

Remove from heat and immediately place pot in a large bowl filled with ice water. Stir constantly until thermometer registers 110° (don’t go below). Immediately and gently stir in yoghurt until it is completely blended into the milk. Pour mixture into a  jar/s. Cover jar/s with foil and towels and place in a warm spot in your home.

Ice Water Bath

Wrap and Keep in a Warm Spot

Let mixture sit for 12-14 hours (do not disturb jar).

Add Almond
Taste yoghurt. If you prefer a thicker, tangier yoghurt, let it stand 5-8 hours longer. Once done, refrigerate. Remember to reserve 3 tablespoons for your next batch!

Make my Golden Morning Pistachio-Apricot Granola for the best breakfast ever.


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