May 12, 2010 4 Comments
I’ve had a couple requests to post how I made homemade yogurt. The pic shows my younger daughter, D holding the jar of homemade yogurt. She is my picky eater, and she gobbled down the yogurt and raspberries she had for breakfast yesterday morning.
Some tips to start out:
- Use 2% or whole milk. Skim milk makes nasty, sour, chalky yogurt.
- Use regular fresh milk, not the ultra-pasteurized organic milk. The high heat process breaks down some of the proteins and will not work for yogurt. (As a side note, my big milk drinker, J thinks ultra-pasteurized milk tastes funny and prefers Publix milk)
- You can buy a yogurt maker, but glass jars work fine. You can use one big one as I did or divide the batch into smaller jars. The easiest way to sterilize the jars is to run them through a dishwasher.
- There are yogurt starters, but I just used Stonyfield Farms plain organic yogurt as my starter. It has a good culture profile.
- Use a double-boiler to scald the milk. This will keep you from scorching your pans. I don’t trust this process to the microwave.
4 cups milk
1/4 cup plain yogurt with active cultures
Scald milk in a double boiler over medium heat. Bring the milk to 180 – 185 degrees (this will take about 30 min) , stirring regularly. Hold the milk at this temperature for 5 minutes to kill any stray bacteria that may interfere with the yogurt culture. Cool the yogurt to 120 degrees or a little less. I put the double boiler into a large bowl of ice water. It will cool off fast this way, within 5-10 min. Stir in the plain yogurt with a whisk. Pour the mixture into a large glass jar or several smaller ones. I liked using a big jar because I could give it a few good shakes to make sure it was well mixed. Place the jar in a warm place for 4-8 hours (the longer the time, the thicker and more sour the yogurt will be). I turned my oven on, turned it right back off, and placed the yogurt in the oven with the oven light on. You could also place jar(s) in a cooler filled with a warm water bath or set them on a heating pad and wrap them with a towel.
When the yogurt is done, it will have a layer of clear yellowish liquid on the top, which is the whey. I pour this off and use it in soups and stews, but you can just stir it in if you prefer a thinner yogurt. To make a very thick (Greek style) yogurt, strain the yogurt in a cheesecloth-lined colander until it is the desired consistency. I was happy with the flavor and thickness of the yogurt at 8 hours. Place the yogurt in the fridge and eat when cool. Taste it first – I didn’t think this yogurt required a sweetener. Set aside 1/4 cup to use as a starter for your next batch (use within a week).