Smarter Than Pancakes

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Homemade Yogurt

Filed under: Healthy Junk Food,yogurt — shaye3 @ 1:28 pm

I could have sworn I copied this from my old Vox blog into this one, but I can’t find it anywhere.  My niece posted about homemade yogurt on facebook this morning, and I was going to direct her to this post, but then I couldn’t find it.

Be warned, this looks like it’s hard, but I typed every single step in detail to make it foolproof.

There for a while, I was making yogurt about once a week.  The better your milk tastes, the better your yogurt will taste.  We prefer organic, but regular works fine as long as you taste it before you use it.  We’ve gotten regular milk that tastes really nasty before.

I like to add pictures with my posts, so I’m adding this lovely shot of the yogurt maker that I inherited from my husband’s grandmother, but you absolutely don’t need a special maker.  I’ve used a heating pad, the oven pilot light, and my crock pot set on warm.  Lately I use this baby:

This was Steve's grandmother's yogurt maker. I love this stupid thing.

Homemade Yogurt Recipe

To make about a quart of yogurt you’ll need:

1/2 gallon of milk

1/3 to 1/2 cup dried milk–makes it thick and creamy (skim milk takes more than whole milk)

1/4 to 1/2 cup plain yogurt with active cultures

100% apple juice concentrate (I use frozen)

fruit like bananas, strawberries, etc. to puree to mix in

1.      Set out the plain yogurt to warm up to room temp while you do everything else

2.      Combine your milk and dry milk in a large pot and slowly warm it to 180° F. (You need an instant read thermometer.)

3.      Let it cool down to about 110°

4.      Add the yogurt, but stir carefully so you don’t incorporate much air

5.      Pour it into a very clean container (I use a big Tupperware with a lid.)

6.      Put the container somewhere where it will stay at 110° (+/-5°)
(You can use your oven set on low, you can use warm water in a cooler, anything you want as long as it stays between 105° and 115°.  I used to put my Tupperware container in a soft sided cooler with my heating pad set on medium with the probe of my thermometer in there so I can keep an eye on the temperature.)

8.      Leave it to ferment for around 6 hours.  (Don’t jostle it while it’s fermenting or it might not set up.)
You can see when it’s set up because it looks kind of jelled and sometimes you can see the watery whey around it.  The longer you let it set, the tangier it gets.

9.     It’s now ready to eat, but I drain mine so it’s thicker–almost like pudding.

10.  After it’s set up, pour it into a strainer lined with a few layers of cheesecloth (or a coffee filter) over a mixing bowl to catch the whey.

11.  Leave it in your fridge for several hours or overnight so the whey can drain.

12.  After the whey has drained, pour it out of the bowl and dump the leftover yogurt cheese from the strainer into the bowl.  (It will kind of peel away from the cheesecloth.)

13.  Stir in the apple juice concentrate, a little at a time, until it is a sweet as you’d like (I think I use about 1/4 cup.)

14.  To make the fruit for the bottom or to mix in; I frequently use unsweetened, defrosted, frozen fruit that I’ve whirled in the food processor.  Our favorite is a really ripe banana, a few defrosted strawberries, and a drop or two of lemon juice.  (The lemon juice keeps the bananas from turning brown.)  You can experiment to find your favorites.

15.  I just keep all of it in a large container in the fridge and mix flavors when I serve it so I can pick flavors depending on my whim.

16.  If you leave the yogurt to drain longer, it will get more firm—like soft cream cheese.  You can then add herbs and spices and use it as a really good, low fat, savory spread or dip.

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