how to make butter and yogurt- Frugal Friday

I think every blogger who ever dabbles in food posts, has done a how- to- make- yogurt and/ or butter at one time or another. Just to add to the lovely collection- here’s my way.

How To Make Yogurt 

What you will need-

kettle, yogurt thermos, yogurt container, powdered milk, 2 heaped tablespoons old yogurt, water, measuring cup.

Time it takes- do it in the time it takes to boil the kettle.

Fill your kettle up and turn it on. Take 2 heaped spoonfuls of bought yogurt (like the end of the tub), add a little water to mix it, it’s now runny and set aside.

 Fill your yogurt container half full with water.

 Add one and a half cups of powdered milk. No need to shake it down and fit as much as you can, just roughly 1 1/2 cups. Mix it with a spoon and add your runny yogurt mixture. Mix again and fill the rest of the container up with water. Lid on, give it a good shake.

 Kettles boiled. Fill it up to the top of the plastic thingy inside. Place your yogurt container in with the lid on, add the thermos lid and leave it (don’t peak) for 8-12 hours. The longer you leave it the tartier it will taste. (I’ve forgotten it for 24 hours and it’s still fine.)


Once, about every six weeks I refresh the batch with a packet of the ready to go yogurt mix you can buy (which is just add water and shake.) I find it keeps the cultures stronger, and more likely to keep it at a thicker Greek style yogurt consistency, (which is what we all like.)

$20 for the yogurt maker, and each litre of yogurt I make, works out to be about $1.50 a batch. I then add any of our homemade seasonal jams to sweeten the yogurt. Dead easy. You are saving a whole bundle of money, no more plastic tubs and you don’t have the usual paragraph of ingredients that’s in a lot of yogurt today.

How To Make Butter

In a mixer, pour in a carton of cream. The best you can buy, (not thickened cream). Whip it….and keep whipping…

 Keep it whipping until it starts to look like this. The liquid will start to separate, which is then able to be drained off. Add a pinch of salt (to taste) and keep squeezing out that excess moisture using a spatula against the side of the bowl. You don’t want any of that moisture in there. Once it is all drained off it can be shaped into what ever shape you need.

Next time you see one of those fancy pancy butters imported from countries far far away, you can have a little chuckle at the thought of spending that much money on butter and then go home and make it yourself. Again, dead easy.

Now where’s the bread to go with it?…

Coconut Sourdough with lashings of Strawberry Jam

Many many moons ago, when I was a footloose and fancy free youngster, I worked in England for a little old lady. Charged with looking after this delightful old lady, it was up to me to make sure she was cared for and entertained. Being a little old lady she didn’t like big meals but she sure liked lots of little ones. There was breakfast, morning tea, 11’ses, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and supper…alright maybe it wasn’t that many. But it felt like it. Afternoon tea however was a must. At precisely 3pm, a cup of tea and a little something to tide her over until the next meal would be served. Now more often than not, she would be rather partial to a packet of crisps and a quick nod off in the comfy armchair. Only for her to wake up awhile later with fallen crisps surrounding her and only the backpacker carer to blame it on.

Sometimes though, she would like a piece of cake or bread and jam. Accompanied with a little recital from the poetry in “Alice in Wonderland”. As I  was always happy to make cake and love to read this was always a really nice way to spend the afternoon.

Winter sun peaking through the curtains, little old lady with jam and bread perched on her knee and footloose and fancy free backpacker reading… “will you walk a little faster? said the whiting to the snail, there’s a porpoise right behind me and he’s stepping on my tail…”

Coconut Sourdough with Strawberry Jam- just the thing for a little afternoon tea.

Strawberry Jam

750gms roughly chopped and hulled strawberries

750gms sugar

1 lime juiced

1/2 lemon juiced

Cook the strawberries and sugar together. As there is no water in this recipe, keeping stirring continuously until moisture comes out of strawberries (otherwise it will burn.) Add juice of lime and lemon and cook until gets to wrinkle stage or do the saucer test. Bottle it up or just keep in a bowl in the fridge, (it gets eaten pretty quickly round here.)

Coconut Sourdough Loaf

175gms starter

1 1/2 cups bakers flour

1/2 cup desiccated coconut

200-250mls water

2 tbs honey

3/4 tps salt

What I did was mixed, over night ferment, 2 folds over about 5 hours. Final prove in tin for about 20 minutes. Baked at 250C initially for about 15 minutes and then down to 180C for a further 10 minutes. This was only a small loaf as it was an experiment. I’m not sure whether it’s the honey or coconut which hinders the rising process for the sourdough, (or it could be both). There were a few holes, but it is a denser loaf compared to my normal sourdough.

A hit though for The Monkeys when they were whooping it up for a little something to tide them over until dinner time.

The Lobsters Quadrille Lewis Carroll

“Will you walk a little faster?” said a whiting to a snail,
“There’s a porpoise close behind us, and he’s treading on my tail.
See how eagerly the lobsters and the turtles all advance!
They are waiting on the shingle — will you come and join the dance?
Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, will you join the dance?
Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, won’t you join the dance?

“You can really have no notion how delightful it will be
When they take us up and throw us, with the lobsters, out to sea!”
But the snail replied “Too far, too far!” and gave a look askance —
Said he thanked the whiting kindly, but he would not join the dance.
Would not, could not, would not, could not, would not join the dance.
Would not, could not, would not, could not, could not join the dance.

“What matters it how far we go?” his scaly friend replied.
“There is another shore, you know, upon the other side.
The further off from England the nearer is to France —
Then turn not pale, beloved snail, but come and join the dance.
Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, will you join the dance?
Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, won’t you join the dance?

Travels with Sourdough

Almond and Raisin Sourdough

The underside of the Almond and Raisin Sourdough. A toasted almond crunch to a slice.

Wholemeal sourdough.

Sunflower and Linseed Sourdough Panini.

Date and Pecan Sourdough

350gms starter

600gms flour

2/3 cup chopped medjool dates

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 tbs raw sugar

good shake of cinnamon

1 1/2 tps salt

I made this sourdough on the warmest day so far that I have toyed with the sourdoughs. Consequence- a lighter sourdough then I would normally make as it rose so quickly. I did two lots of folds in between proves. Verdict- um yes please! (My mum liked this one too, and said that I could make some next time I came down to visit. Have starter…will travel.)

For the love and taste of it all.

I get a kick out of food.

There I’ve said it. I’ve hinted at it, I’ve alluded to it and now I’ve said it…

I get a kick out of food. Nothing makes me happier than making something, unsure of how its going to turn out and then being blown away by the results. To buy something from the shop and then get home and think…actually I can make that, then do that and make it taste sooo much better. I get a real buzz from that. I’m not interested at this point in my life in super fancy pancy foody creations. I need things that will keep my family fed and contented, (and healthy.) Down the track I’m sure, actually damn sure I will want to spend 6 hours creating a particular meal, but for the moment when my time and attention is taken up predominantly by two small kids I like doing the basic cooking and having fun with it. Being able to provide that food for my family makes me so seriously happy, I sometimes wonder there may be something wrong with me.

Do I sound like a bit of a nutter, going over minute details of a particularly tasty pastry. Or the subtle tones of a handmade chocolate with hints of pepper, tobacco, and orange? Probably…But I can’t stop… I love it.

Making marmalade yesterday by 7.30am, seeing how it has set beautifully, using the natural pectin from soaking the seeds, running my fingers over the labeled recycled jars in the cupboard…true happiness. Making sourdough, letting the smell waft through the hall, hearing my husband say I think I need to have one of those rolls after dinner…makes me smile with pride. Proud that I made them, and proud that even after dinner he finds the bread so enticing that he wants to eat a bit more.

For me cooking is a creative outlet, I find it a lot of fun to build something up out of simple ingredients. Its also fascinating seeing how different concoctions of things come out with so many different results.

Bought food can give me a kick just as well. A delighted smile, when I taste something I wasn’t expecting. Trying to work out what the ingredients could be and how they made it. Looking at something lovingly created and amazingly produced. From an artfully decadent Adriano Zumbo creation, to just knowing where my free range ham came from.

Having bought some ham recently, Mr Chocolate and I were raving about the taste. The taste… I can’t tell you how different it is to regular store bought ham. The ham tasted drier, the flavours more in depth, there is a layer of fat around the outside and every bone in my body wants to eat that said fat as I know it will just add to the flavour. Compared to the regular bought one that tastes watery, salty, and a little slimy, it truly doesn’t compare.

Its expensive at around $40 a kilo but I seriously don’t mind paying the price. Not because we are rolling in money as we are not. But because I know where I bought it, I know who cured it, I know where that pig was raised in a free range environment, and I know that when I put a slice of that delectable pig on my tongue it will just slowly dissolve. So for us, I would rather pay more for ham and just eat it less frequently. When it is eaten, its eaten mindfully and every mouthful is enjoyed.

Since making more foods from scratch, we have set ourselves up with a certain standard though. A standard that means more work in the kitchen, but really and truly most of the time I don’t mind compensating that. As it means I know what went in to the food, and how it was made, and I truly, truly enjoy it, we all benefit from it.

The kick I get from eating my sourdough bread, with my own jam or marmalade, home made pasta with a little lovingly made ragu, a tarty yoghurt with an apple crumble, and while watching The Monkeys eat a biscuit that has 4 simple ingredients in rather than a whole paragraph. It really makes my heart swell with pride and my taste buds sigh with contentment.

Simple things that I truly love and just make a lot of sense to me.

(Down the track, add my own produce from my garden, and having built our own house and oh!…)