Saturday, February 5, 2011

Most yogurt in Brazil doesn't have active cultures

Our family likes yogurt. We eat it almost every morning for breakfast. Yogurt in Brazil tends to be very liquid, and very very sweet. It's okay, but we've been talking about making our own yogurt for a while now, to try to cut down on sugar. My sister used to make yogurt when she lived with us (and my Mom had a yogurt machine when I was a kid), so we figured it couldn't be so difficult. I brought back a milk thermometer from the U.S., and my dear hubby was just so excited that he tried it 3 days after I got back. The first batch failed miserably, because I'd purchased yogurt without live cultures. I'd just assume that all yogurt had live cultures, that the cultures are what makes it yogurt. But no! The only kind of yogurt here with live cultures is Activia. What do you know... We got some Activia, and good milk. The milk is not UHT (Ultra High Temperature or shelf-stable or milk in a box that does not need to be refrigerated until you open it), Grade A, homogenized and pasteurized. It is yummy milk, like I'm used to drinking in the states. I'm starting to think that we should buy this good milk, except that it's only found at one store (which is not so close) and you have to drink it within 3 days (i.e. you can't stock up). Bummer.

But back to the yogurt--Matt made some last night, and it worked!

Hooray! Now if only I'd been eating this early, perhaps I wouldn't have been so sick on Thursday and Friday. I don't know what it is, but our family has been attacked by some bug. We're com pato, throwing up, and generally feeling bad. I'm hoping that Matt and Beatrice don't get it, especially since Matt is taking a trip back to the US on Tuesday. So do your work probiotics!


  1. WHAT is this store that has real milk?? I'm dying for some! And I would love to learn to make my own yogurt! Would you share your recipe?

  2. Dear Shelley,

    It is very common to make yogurt in Brazil.
    There is a MADE IN BRAZIL yogurt maker by "Arno", it is not expensive and it makes your life super easy if you want to make healthy delicious just right yogurt at home in a routine basis.
    You can add natural fruit or even Jello to flavor it anyway you want it, kids will love it and if you want less sugar, you could use the Sugar Free Jello.
    Every padaria should sell the "real milk" or fresh milk with the short life, they are graded C, B and A, A whole milk with highest fat content and C the least amount of milk fat.
    Many companies will also deliver milk and other dairy products weekly directly to your house.
    In Sao Paulo, we use to have VIGOR, PAULISTA, LECO and FAZENDA delivering milk and dairy products such as butter, yogurt, cheeses, among many others in our neighborhood several times a week.
    Perhaps there are some local BH brands that offer the same service.


  3. Hey Angela! Verde Mar has it, in the refrigerated section in plastic bottles. But of course, as most things in stores here, I can't guarantee that it will be there when you want it. It's R$3.50 or so. There's a Verde Mar not too far away from you, on Nossa Senhora do Carmo, on the way to BH Shopping. Ray--thanks so much for the suggestions. I'm going to look to see if we have milk delivery here, and check at the padaria. They did have refrigerated milk in a bag, but it wasn't the same (I can't remember the grade/type right now). I suppose I can always ask them to carry what I want :-)

  4. I have been making yogurt for about 20 years. I had a small electric Salton that held 5 cup jars. Then I found Yogotherm that is a two litre plastic container lined with rigid insulation and in that is a plastic container that holds the yogurt. It is not electric. I put hot water in the container to heat it up as you would do would a coffee thermos, while I make the yogurt. I used to make the yogurt with plain yogurt starter that I bought separately and 250 gms would make about 6 litres or three batches. Then this started to fail, so now I buy Yogourmet Free Dried Yogurt Starter powder that lasts a long time in the cupboard. The instructions say to use one 5 gm package for each litre of yogurt but I use one 5 gm package for two litres. I use powdered skim milk, 1 litre (or 4 cups) dried milk. Fill the pot with water to make 2 litres. The yogurt is thick and creamy, not runny or lumpy. Also the powdered starter instructions says to heat the milk to 180 F and let it cool to 112 F. I just heat it to 112 F. and ignore the first step.
    So to sum up -
    1. Use the powder starter, it never fails. Costs $4.00 to make 12 litres.
    2. The large capacity appliance is non-electric.
    3. Powdered milk is cheaper to use and is thick in texture.

  5. I lived in a vegetarian Co-op when in college (all those years ago!) and we always had a huge pickle jar of yogurt in the making sitting in the furnace room (warmer there). It is so simple to make, even without a machine.

    My mother's mother was born in Lebanon and always made yougurt, old world style. That is, after your yogurt is fully set, wrap it in about 4 or 5 layers of cheese cloth (place in the center of a large square and lift the four corners, then twist and tie closed the fabric at corners) and hang it up over a bowl to drain the excess liquid and get a super thick final product (and you can still use the drained liquid for other things). Yum!

    I'm inspired...

  6. Susan--are you living here in Brasil? I'd love to find the yogurt starter here. Any suggestions on where to get it? Jim==I love that thick yogurt "cheese." Sooo yummy!

    Canadian company but they sell in the US. Lots of info here.

  8. I will send some down to you next month with my husband. Are you by chance a member of an English language book club that used to meet in Carmo/Sion?

  9. Hey Susan--email me at srkelz at gmail dot com.