Homemade Yoghurt with Spiced Orange Compote

Photographer: Kate
Serves Many

Thick?  Yes! Creamy? Yes!  Super kind on the purse strings? Absolutely! I’d like to point out that I’m completely stoked to have mastered the art of homemade yoghurt making.  After the success I had with my dairy free coconut yoghurt I thought I should have a go at the real deal.  I have battled away banging pans, sterilising implements, using a steam oven, a hot water bottle, heating milk, cooling milk, different types of milk (who would have known the humble cow could produce so many!) to some degree you really can’t go to far wrong but today I bring you the simple, straight forward method that came up trumps.  Coming to work each morning is such a pleasure right now as the two liter bowl I made is slowly being devoured by topping off my current autumnal breakfast favorite of porridge spiced up with a few raisins, cinnamon and honey. It just gets better and better each time I dig in.

The number of gourmet yogurts that  are available these days is incredible, and they are so delicious that somehow one always appears in my trolley, naughty supermarket pixies!  But now there are no excuses because with 10 minutes preparation, 2L of milk and some microbiology magic I have slashed my yogurt bill by a good 75%!  But what about those delicious fruit fusions that really make a yogurt sing?  This orange compote is an absolute beauty and will last in the fridge alongside your yogurt for at least a week.


The addition of skim milk powder increases the milk solid content of your yogurt which results in a thicker set because those lovely friendly bacteria have more lactose to ferment.  You can play around with the amount you use depending on the thickness you require.  Another great tip is for kiddies lunches; freeze cubes of a sweetened fruit puree and pop one in a jar, fill with yogurt and pack in their lunch.  The fruity ice cube will help to keep the yogurt chilled and it will be nicely defrosted ready to stir through by lunchtime.


2 litres full-cream milk
75g skim-milk powder
2 teaspoons very fresh, live natural yoghurt

Spiced Orange Compote
8 oranges, preferably seedless
2 cups water
5 tablespoons sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
1 star anise


1. Heat the milk in a heavy, stainless-steel saucepan. When it is lukewarm, stir in the milk powder.
2. Continue to heat until the milk reaches about 90ºC.
3. Turn off the heat and leave to stand for 15 minutes, by which time the mixture should have cooled to about 40ºC.
4. Stir in the live yoghurt and then transfer the mixture into a heavy earthenware bowl, cover with foil and place in the oven on the lowest setting (in my case our LO setting sits at about 40°C) and leave for 8-12 hours.
5. Alternatively, while it is still warm wrap the entire bowl in a towel and keep it in a warm place (such as the hot water cupboard) overnight.
6. Regardless of the method you choose, you need to keep the bowl warm. The optimum temperature is around 40ºC, but if it’s a little cooler it won’t matter; it will just take longer to coagulate.
The longer the mixture is kept warm, the better the flavour.
7. When the yoghurt is set, transfer to the fridge and use as required.
8. Remember to save the last couple of spoonfuls to start the magic in your next batch.

Spiced Orange Compote
1.Remove zest from oranges into long, thin,strips (see Variation).
2. Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the zest to the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a small strainer (reserve the cooking liquid).
3.Stir sugar into the reserved cooking liquid; bring to a simmer. 4. Cut vanilla bean in half lengthwise; scrape the seeds into the sugar water and add the pod along with cinnamon stick, cloves and star anise.
5. Continue to simmer until the sauce reduces to 1/2 cup and thickens slightly, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat.
6. Meanwhile, slice off an end of each orange so they stand upright steadily. In careful sculpting slices, remove all the remaining peel and white pith from the oranges with a very sharp knife.
7. Carefully cut segments of orange out leaving behind the core and membranes.
8. Discard the vanilla pod and whole spices. Stir the oranges into the syrup and simmer gently for 1 minute.
9. Cool and serve with yogurt