how to make yogurt

IMG_5168.jpg

IMG_5168

Good morning!

It is a brand new January week with the promise of snow here in central PA tomorrow.  We have our lists of things we need to do and want to do and places to go, all with the exciting addition of playing in the snow to add to it.

I've had many requests for our homemade yogurt over the past few months and I'm happy to share it today.   Making our own yogurt saves us half of what we used to spend on Stoneyfield Farm's yogurt.   And the taste doesn't even compare to store bought.  It is creamy and smooth and so delicious.  

I've asked Bobby to share his recipe and yogurt-making skills with you since this is his weekly duty in the kitchen.   He usually picks one day a week and makes a batch after breakfast, transfers it to the refrigerator when it is complete (in the evening) and makes another batch that night.  The two 2-quart containers of yogurt will last us through the week of yogurt snacking and breakfasts.

IMG_3995

how to make yogurt

1/2 gallon milk

1/4 cup of yogurt starter (plain yogurt)

1 cup heavy cream (optional- produces incredibly rich yogurt)

Yogurt Maker (This is ours, the[amazon_link id="B002KBFO6C" target="_blank" ] Euro Cuisine 2 Quart Yogurt Maker[/amazon_link].)

Start with 2 quarts (1/2 gallon) of milk. You can use anything from skim to whole, depending on preference (we use whole). You cannot use almond, rice, or soy milk. This is due to the importance of lactose in the yogurt-making process. Lactose, or milk sugar, is what the live cultures (bacteria) consume, magically turning your ordinary milk into delicious yogurt.

Also, I specify 2 quarts of milk because we have a 2-quart yogurt maker. Adjust the quantity of milk to suit your machine. Also, at this time, you'll want to get your yogurt starter out of the fridge and let it get to room temperature. You can use a cup of plain, store-bought yogurt as a starter or you can use some leftover yogurt from the previous batch. All you'll need is about 1/4 cup.

IMG_3999

Heat the milk on a stovetop on med-low to low heat until it reaches 180F. The key here is to set the burner to low. If you go any higher than "5", you'll scorch the milk on the bottom of the pan, which is not fun to clean. The lower the heat, the lower your chance of scorching and the less you have to stir the milk. Obviously, the lower the heat, the longer this process takes, so you'll have to figure out what works for you.

IMG_4004

Our yogurt maker came with this handy-dandy thermometer that clearly shows you (via a red line and a green line) the critical temperatures for yogurt making.

IMG_4010

Once the milk has reached 180F, you then need to cool it down to 110F. This is most easily accomplished by putting your pot into an ice bath.

IMG_4012

I have an extra pitcher of water in case I need to add more water to the bath.

IMG_4016

Stirring helps to release heat and will speed up this process.

IMG_4019

In the meantime, your yogurt starter should be in the yogurt-maker container. In fact, a shortcut that I often do (that I apparently didn't do this time) is to put the yogurt starter in the container, put the container in the yogurt maker, and turn it on while I'm heating and cooling the milk. This way the starter gets warmed up while you're working.

IMG_4020

Once you've poured your 110F milk into your starter, stir to combine.

IMG_4021

Then, put the lid on your container and place it in your yogurt maker. You'll need to give it at least 8 hours to incubate. Once 8 hours are up (you can go longer if you want. More time=more tanginess), remove the container from the yogurt maker and place it in the fridge. After it has cooled (5 hours or so), you can add flavorings (vanilla, sugar (or substitute), cocoa, fruit) or cream (to make it creamy)

You can also make Greek yogurt by putting it through [amazon_link id="B0091XNL0I" target="_blank" ]a stainer.[/amazon_link]

Thanks Bobby.  Tomorrow I'll share a variety of ways we enjoy our yogurt throughout the week.

the sleepy time gal