Saturday, March 1, 2014

Making Homemake Yogurt

Photo: My Healthy Green Family (here)
Years ago while still living at home with my parents, I bought a yogurt machine. I still have it and recently decided to make homemade yogurt again. Supermarket yogurt keeps shrinking. I need a full cup of yogurt to feel satisfied. So, I will go back to making it myself! 

You don't need a machine to make fresh yogurt. All a yogurt machine does is control the temperature like an incubator. If you don't have a yogurt machine, you can pour treated milk into a pot or jar, mix in plain yogurt (as a starter), wrap towels around  it, and put the batch inside your oven, using the pilot light to keep it warm until it turns into yogurt about 12 hours later. 110-112 degrees F is the desired temperature.

Since I have a yogurt machine, I use it. I replaced the 6 ounce (grrr!!!), milk cups with 8 ounce, Mason jars. Not only do they hold more yogurt, they travel well. I love the metal, screw-on lids. Very secure ... and I feel a bit like a city dairy farmer pulling out my canning jars. I'm a serious yogurt maker, mister! 

I like to use powder milk to make yogurt because it produces a good consistency. Here's how:
My yogurt machine

Homemade Yogurt - one quart

4½ cups water
2/3 cups dry powder milk (that's a little extra for a thicker yogurt)
2 - 3 tablespoons of plain yogurt with live active cultures

You can buy plain supermarket yogurt for your first batch, then remember to save a few tablespoons of the last of the yogurt to make future batches.

1. Boil the water to kill any bad bacteria.
2. Let the water cool to about 110 degrees F, so you don't kill the good yogurt bacteria.
3. Stir the dry powder milk (equals 5 tablespoons per cup + a little extra) into the water until it dissolves.
Photo: Lousia Enright (here)
4. Next whisk in the plain yogurt.
5. Pour into a large jar or individual containers, or leave in the pot. My 8 ounce Mason jars go into my yogurt machine with their medal lids, but without the screw-on cylinders.
6. Leave for 12 hours.

If you use liquid milk, it's super easy too. Just heat one quart of milk and let cool. Whole milk and 2% milk make a thicker yogurt. Skim milk yields a thinner yogurt. Just like when using dry milk, add the spoons of plain yogurt to the liquid milk. Pour into container(s). Let the batch set for 12 hours. Voilà.

Time makes a thicker yogurt also. The longer the batch sits, the thicker the yogurt. But, the longer the yogurt sits, the more sour it becomes. So to keep the taste mild, I pop the yogurt into the refrigerator after 12 hours. I prefer a thinner and milder flavor to a thicker and sharper taste. Some manufacturers add gelatin to thicken the yogurt, but I like to keep yogurt-making simple.

Greek yogurt is yogurt strained of some of its liquid (a/k/a whey). Drain more whey to get yogurt cheese.

Enjoy the creamy freshness!

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