Ode to Gastroenteritis (Code Name: Project Yoghurt)

Ode to Gastroenteritis (Code Name: Project Yoghurt)

Gastroenteritis… GASTROENTERITIS! Oh, how I have missed using such professional-sounding terms!

gastro- meaning stomach; entero- meaning small intestine; -itis meaning inflamed; meaning stomach + small intestine + inflammed = diarrhoea and/or vomiting

It can be caused by an assortment of reasons, but that’s really not the right kind of conversation to start before a cooking class.

Yoghurt, besides being an unbelievably yummy and versatile ingredient in the kitchen, is also incredibly healthy.
Besides packing a punch in the vitamin & mineral department (think calcium, potassium, and an assortment of B-vitamins),
there are studies (somewhat) proving that regular consumption can help reduce blood pressure, as well as reduce the overall duration of an affliction of acute gastroenteritis — ta-dah!

Having said that, most of us are satisfied with the tubs of factory-made yoghurt that we can grab off the supermarket shelves
— but it doesn’t have to be that way.

You’ll be surprised at how (super duper) easy it is to make your own yoghurt at home.
Without needing one of those fancy-schmancy kits.


  • milk — IDEALLY, we should be using udder-fresh milk; but since the risks of dying from a Salmonella spp. infection far outweigh any of the yoghurt’s extra yumminess, you can, and must, make do with fresh pasteurised milk. I’ve never tried UHT milk before, but my Mommet clearly remember achieving good results with rehydrated full cream milk powder. You’ll (naturally) get an equal amount of yoghurt for the amount of milk you use.
  • starter yoghurt — first timers can go ahead and take a tablespoon or two from your store-bought tub.

Yes, that’s all the ingredients you’ll need. Told you it was easy.


  • You’ll need to first set up your double boiler: I simply float a small metal mug (containing milk) in a big(ger) saucepan (containing water).
    I thoroughly recommend this method vs. direct heat to avoid burning your milk — a big no-no…
Double Boiling Milk

In case it was not (already) implied with the term double boiler,
this is the right time for you to place your newly minted contraption on the stove.

  • Now you can heat up the milk.
    I know that some will insist on an ideal temperature, and some will further insist that you measure it with a thermometer; but the NyonyaCelup says that waiting for your milk to foam over like a latte is good enough.
    Remember to stir constantly to avoid burning your milk.
My milk frotheth over...

Technically, this picture was shot when I made paneer,
but I needed to prove a point with the milk frothing…
Don’t worry, that lil’ foam cap will disappear once you turn the heat off.

  • Take it out and place the (mug containing the) boiling milk into a similar-looking contraption — only this time, fill the saucepan with cold water.
  • Place the milk in this cold water bath until it is slightly uncomfortable to touch with your fingers: meaning slightly warmer than how you’d prefer your milk, minus the scalding.
    Again, no temperatures for the NyonyaCelup.

*NOTE: I have read that the above process of rapid boiling & cooling of the milk is actually meant to replicate the pasteurisation of milk; meaning you could technically skip this step if your milk was pre-pasteurised (my Mommet never did it, and she made good yoghurt). But I’m a germ freak, so I think I’ll sit this one in.

  • Now, take some of that milk (a Chinese spoonful did it for me) and mix it with your yoghurt in a separate (preferable non-metallic, resealable) container.
    This prevents the yoghurt (and its beneficial bacteria) from sticking together in a lump in the corner.
  • Pour the rest of the milk into the container with the yoghurt, mix it well, and cover it.
  • The yoghurt has to stay at a warm temperature (warm to touch) for 6-8 hours in order to set.
    I place mine in a warm water bath to keep it nice and toasty.
    Try not to over incubate it as it tends to sour (more) the longer you keep it.
Incubating Yoghurt

This is where you’ll appreciate the use of a non-metallic container:
it doesn’t conduct heat as easily, keeping the yoghurt’s temperature (sorta) consistent.

Preparation time: Almost none
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Setting time: 6-8 hours
and you can tuck into your yummy treat!
Just remember not to finish it all and leave some for the next batch.

Brainy's yoghurt

Brainy agrees.

Watch this space for recipes in the future!

Love, The NyonyaCelup

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