Saturday, April 19, 2008

Homemade Yogurt

This was my breakfast today. Aren't you jealous? You should be. It's homemade yogurt with homemade granola and strawberries. I think I'm channeling Martha Stewert, or at least a hippy version of Martha Stewart. I've been flirting with the idea of making my own yogurt for years now. (Or is is decades? Who keeps track.) I got a step closer when I saw Alton brown make yogurt on the food network with a heating pad. Then I recently saw this post and had a conversation with Kristy about making yogurt. (Kristy's been threatening for years too.) Making yogurt is not hard. It is a kind or weird scifi voodoo cloning experiment. Since I eat smoothies for breakfast almost every day in the summer, I thought it would be worth it to figure it out. We'll have to see if I want to keep making it or not. If I do decide to keep making it I plan to buy a yogurt maker, which aren't expensive. When I made it yesterday, I just wrapped a heating pad around a quart jar. I did a dry run the day before. I put 100 degree water in a heating pad wrapped quart jar and then took the water temperature a few hours later. Still 100ish degrees, so I was cleared for voodoo yogurt cloning. Here are a few notes on Yogurt making. You need to start with good yogurt so you have good cultures. Your yogurt absolutely must have active live cultures or it won't work. I used low fat Stonyfield farms. They also sell yogurt starters online. Yogurt will only clone itself a few times before you have to get a new yogurt starter. According to Cooking the Hard way, if you want to make yogurt with skim milk you will have to add powdered milk. I used 2 % milk for my yogurt. It's a good idea to sterilize your jars. Running them through a rinse cycle in the dishwasher will do it. I plan to update this post after I have made yogurt a few times and can add my voice of experience.



3 1/2 c milk (I used 2 %)

1/2 c yogurt ( used low fat Stonyfield farms)

Heat milk to 170 degrees. I tried heating the milk slowly, stirring occasionally avoid getting a milk skin. This took forever and I still got a milk skin. I' plan on heating it faster next time. Then you let it cool until it's 100-110 degrees, this took me 20 minutes. Make sure the milk is under 110 or the yogurt cultures will die and it won't work, err on the cool side. Whisk some of the milk into your 1/2 cup yogurt. Whisk the yogurt-milk mixture into the remaining milk. Pour that into a sterilized quart jar. Allow to sit for 8 hours kept at 110 degrees. My yogurt actually set up much quicker then 8 hours. I let it keep going because I wasn't sure if it was really set or not and if you let your yogurt go longer, you get a more tart flavor. There will be a ton of whey (the watery stuff in yogurt). Just pour it off. Don't forget to give the whey to your yogurt loving dog who would really appreciate it. Bad owner. Bad owner.

*second attempt- I warmed the 2 % milk on my simmer burner set to medium to 170 degrees, stirring every few minutes. This took 21 minutes. I stirred the milk every few minutes as it waswarming and cooling (16-18minutes). There was no milk "skin" this time. I think stirring as it cools does it. The yogurt set up somewhere between 3 and 4 3/4 hours. I still let it go for 8 hours so it would be more tart. It made 1 3/4 c yogurt cheese. I drained it overnight and got at least a cup of whey. Based on this, I'd recommend always draining homemade yogurt overnight. I made frozen yogurt and it froze pretty hard. I will either make it again with whole milk or make yogurt Popsicles next time.

*Third attempt-I planned to make yogurt from low fat (1%) milk. That was the plan, but some idiot (OK, it was me) came home with fat free milk (Land O' Lakes with calcium). I figured I'd try anyway. I didn't think it would set up, but it did without a problem. The flavor was not as good with no fat milk however. My plan is to use 1 percent in the future.

*Le Groupe M. Vachon yogurt (bright green package) review- It makes yogurt. Not very good yogurt. It lacks a depth of flavor that I was getting using Stoneyfield Farms Lowfat yogurt. Also the second batch of this yogurt (made from first batch) sets up, but just barely. You could never get a third batch. You can get a third batch from Stoneyfield Farms. I don't recommend this yogurt starter.

1 comment:

Kristy said...

hurray! i'm so excited that you finally tried this. maybe i'll be inspired now too... and yeah, i am jealous -- that photo makes it look way too tempting.