Yoghurt, yogurt -- buying, making

[color=#008040]Mod note: split from hummus – buying, making thread. [/color] – DB

Is the cucumber dip tzatziki?
I love all that stuff. It is a bit hippy-ish though. It was funny; on my recent Thailand trip, my brother and I had just come down from the mountains near the Burmese border, and stopped in a small town, Pai, for the night. Pai is what they call a “backpackers’ Mecca” i.e. a bit of a hippy hangout. In the morning we found that all the restaurants offered falafels, hummus, tabouli and other such traditional Thai fare!

I’m sure it would be very nice, but an easier way to make yoghurt-type stuff is to buy a box of the little sachets of dry culture, let a bottle of milk come to room temperature then empty the contents of a sachet in, shake a bit then put the top back on and leave for 24-36 hours. I’ve been doing this for quite a while now and the results are pretty good. I think they call the stuff ‘kefir’ - you can buy boxes of the sachets in health food shops.

I love tzatziki!! I use to make it all the time back home but since I can’t get thick greek style yogurt, I just gave up. Okay I’ll look for these “sachets”.

See above posts. Cafe Mykonos on Lishui St. sells it home-made to take away and Jason’s in 101 has organic NZ thick Greek-style.

Cheers Sandman, but I want to make it. I think it’s tzatziki that I was thinking of. Thanks for the name, now I can search for a recipe.

As for the yoghurt, those sachets are exactly what I meant by ‘yoghurt kit’. I was just wondering whether this would come out thick like Greek style yoghurt or would be too thin.

I’d better get down to Jason’s and compare. Might have to be quick though. Today’s Taipei Times suggested that it might be running illegally and be closed.


It would be a bit thin, but you can easily thicken it up by straining it through a piece of muslim or cheesecloth. That’s how Mykonos makes it.

When I make it, it’s set, but can easily be ungelled and turned into drinking yoghurt by shaking it up in the bottle.

You can also make it a bit thicker by letting it ferment for a bit longer before putting it in the fridge to stop the process. That will make the taste a bit sourer as well. Don’t go overboard, though - you don’t want the thing growing legs and running away.

I went to the Health Food store last night and ordered my batch of yogurt. I was looking at the yogurt maker, it doesn’t look that complex and I’m wondering why they charge so much for it, 1200NT plus 32 packets of yogurt starter. I know people who make yogurt without the maker … so does it make a difference?? Also you can skip the packets and use the culture from your previous batch right?

Strictly speaking, the one you can make in the bottle without a maker is called ‘kefir’ and as Sandman pointed out, it’s a bit thinner than proper yoghurt, made with yoghurt culture in a yoghurt maker.

You can use yoghurt as a starter in a yoghurt maker (as long as it’s live yoghurt that still has the bacteria in). My boss has successfully done the same with the kefir, but I tried and I just ended up with some smelly milk.

I would love to understand more about the whole cultures/bacteria thing. I wonder how a dried culture can still be ‘live’ in some way. I dropped biology after the age of 16, which is why I don’t know the answer.

[quote]Strictly speaking, the one you can make in the bottle without a maker is called ‘kefir’ and as Sandman pointed out, it’s a bit thinner than proper yoghurt, made with yoghurt culture in a yoghurt maker.

Hmmm. I was looking at ‘kefir’ then. What does a yoghurt maker consist of then?


[quote=“Bu Lai En”]Hmmm. I was looking at ‘kefir’ then. What does a yoghurt maker consist of then?
It’s just an appliance which keeps little pots or a big pot of milk/yoghurt at an optimum temperature for the culture to ferment. My mum used to have one.

I don’t know what culture you’re supposed to use in those things. I think my mum did the whole use-a-little-bit-from-the-last-batch-as-a-starter thing. But if I remember rightly, you can only do that a certain number of times before it becomes too weak.

I think the yoghurt maker is much quicker than doing the kefir in the bottle. Also it’s foolproof i.e. you can’t kill the culture by making it too hot or too cold.

I think my mum used to boil the milk before letting it cool down to an appropriate temperature and mixing in the starter.

Fee, could I suggest that you change the title of the thread to ‘making hummus and yoghurt at home’ or similar, as the discussion has developed and it might be of interest to others? You go to your original post then select ‘edit post’ and alter the title. You’re the only one who can do that, apart from that lazy good-for-nothing Sandman.

Ah, the wielding of power! Truly I am omnipotent.
I saw an automatic yogurt maker in the deli in the basement of the Far Eastern Plaza. Cost was about NT$800, which I think is not bad, considering it costs over NT$100 for a pint from Mykonos. It wouldn’t take long for such a machine to pay for itself.

Just to let everybody know that it was Sandman himself who edited the thread title and added that last part to my last post. I have never called him any bad thing except perhaps mean - Sandman, where’s my scooter?

P.S. I would settle for a couple of cheeses from that shop you went to recently - they would probably cost the same as a medium-sized scooter, anyway.

Mr. Monk got us one of those yogurt making appliances (just a plastic box with a heater inside) and it works great! Took a couple of bad batches to get the system down though. Here is what I learned:

  1. I could never get the dry culture to work properly - I either got it or the milk too hot or not hot enough. What I do now is just put a carton of cold milk into the yogurt box and add a cup of store-bought yogurt. The Uni-President AB Yogurt works well (sold everywhere in three packs. Has an A and a B in orange and green boxes and a picture of a cow on a blue background.) The only problem is that since everything starts out cold - it adds a few hours to the whole cooking process (it usually takes 14-18 hours).
  2. I cannot get it to work with low-fat or non-fat milk.
  3. After the yogurt is “done” there is always a layer of water (?) on top. I drain it off because I like thick yogurt.

I would suggest buying one of the boxes as it makes the whole process really easy. You don’t have to worry about temperature or heating anything.

Favorite way to eat my homemade yogurt is with glopped over a big pile of fresh papaya. For breakfast, snack, dessert - yumyum it always tastes good. (And works well for many Indian recepies that require yogurt.)

Okay I’m getting the Yogurt Maker for sure! I want to also make yogurt cheese … what is cheese cloth called in chinese??

That’s whey, as made famous in
“Little Miss Muffet,
Sat on her tuffet,
Eating her curds and whey…”

Tahini is locally available in any supermarket, it’s just sesame paste.
Garbanzo beans are available at markets and supermarkets al over Taiwan. But they are dried and therefor hard and need to be soaked and boiled before making them in to hummus.

As for yoghurt, I have original starter/fermenter and make my own yoghurt since 3-4 years.
To ferment my yoghurt I made a wooden box with a heating element and thermostat. When making yoghurt you have to keep it at least on 40 C for 6-7 hours. To start you need to boil ( to get the best results) your milk and cool it down to 45 C before adding the culture ot starter from a previous batch. Normally you should be able to re-use the starter yoghurt up to 25 times.
I use powder milk, but I use double the amount of milk powder that’s mentioned. This way I have a thicker consistency when the yoghurt is finished. Or… you can use normal milk and add milk powder.

If you don’t want/can’t make a ferment box than you can use a thermos bottle. You need to heat your milk as previously mentioned, than add your starter/ferment. Pour it into the thermos and let sit for up to 8 hours.

In summer you can put your yoghurt to be made in the sun behind a window, but this need a bit experimenting.

I also have original ferment for fresh (white, cottage) cheese. I use it sometimes to make my own fresh goat cheese. Not cheap though as the goat farmer charges 100 NT$ a liter for his fresh from the goat milk.

I would suggest making a batch of yoghurt and if someone wants starter-yoghurt he can come and pick it up. Or … we can meet somewhere, sometime.

My yoghurt is absolutely original, unsweetened and cheaper than you can buy anywhere in Taiwan.

Keep in mind though that when making yoghurt all utensils need to be clean and germ free.

BTW, the fermenting box is also handy when making bread, can keep the right temp. summer and winter.

The Tian Mu tuck shop has a great (though lumpy at times) yogurt in constant supply in their display cooler. Makes a refreshing drink in the summer time.
Also there’s a shop call “Trinity” in the Chung Siao area that has many varieties of fodds from Basmati rice to anything Indian/Pakistani you can think of. And I believe that if they don’t have it, they can get it.

The number is 02 27567992.


Edit: The Tuck shop is now closed.

I guess there was too much competition from Carrefour(don’t know if I spelled that right :blush: ) and Costco. Although they did carry a few things that no one else did…

All right. I have a great recipe that is so easy.

Two cups warm water (not too hot)
One cup of powdered milk (the type in a gold bag that’s from Australia)
Two tablespoons of yogurt (the best is one from a health store)

First, mix the water and milk. Let it set for about two minutes. Add the yogurt. Let set for five minutes. Afterwards, wrap in a towel and place on top of your fridge or another warm place. Not hot. Somewhere that can be like an incubator for a wee bit. Keep it there for about ten hours.
I usually make about three or four times this amount at a time. It never fails. It saves money because the yogurt at Jason’s is expensive. I buy one container of it and use a part of it as the starter for my own yogurt. Whenever I get to the last bits of a jar, I make another batch. If I had known it was this easy, I would have done this years ago. All you need are either some large plastic containers with a lid or some glass ones. If you have an insulated container, good on you. If not, just a towel and a hot spot. Just make sure that the starter yogurt has all of the “good stuff” that you want in it. The little cups from Wellcome just don’t have enough kick to start growing.
Enjoy and let me know if it works for you. I’ve been doing it this way since I’ve been in Taiwan. All of those packets and other things are a total waste of money.
JC :laughing:

This thread’s a few years old, so I am wondering whether anyone has a good lead on inexpensive automatic yogurt makers in Taibei. A larger electric crockpot with a sufficiently flexible temperature range on which you could set the target temperature for either yogurt or cheeses or buttermilk or regular crockpot foods would be even better.

i was wondering, if u made ur own yogurt, can u make a bad batch that will get u sick? and how can you tell if u made a bad batch? is there a distinct smell? difference? etc?