Thursday, March 14, 2013

Making Yogurt



Homemade yogurt has become a staple in our house.  We have a bowl every morning for breakfast.  Yogurt is amazingly simple to make. All you need is some milk and some starter.  After making it a couple of times a week since January, we have got it exactly the way we like it.

Let's start by putting the milk in the pan, start heating it.  I'm using 5 cups of whole milk - you can use 2%, soy, almond, whatever you want - those will take a longer time to grow.  I'm using this amount because that's what fits in my maker.  If you want to use a heating pad to grow your culture you can start heating a half gallon milk.



While the milk heats you want your starter to sit out and get room temperature.  I have read varying amounts to use from 2 tablespoons up.  I use one small container of Dannon Oikos Plain Yogurt.  You can use any PLAIN/unflavored yogurt.  I've had good success using the same small container when making a half gallon as well.

At some point while your milk if heating you'll want to add in about 1/4 cup of dry milk.  This just helps make the yogurt thicker.  If you like thinner yogurt you can leave this out.



Get the milk to about 190 degrees Fahrenheit, whisking frequently.  When the milk gets near ready, turn your yogurt machine on to preheat a bit, OR, if you're using a heating pad, plug it in and turn it on medium.  Remove from heat when it reaches temperature.  At this point, you can let it sit and check it periodically until it reaches 105-110 degrees, OR, since this takes about an hour, I have found a shortcut. . .



Partially fill a sink with cold water (add ice if you like) then take your pot and sit it in the cold water.  I whisk the milk while it's cooling.  Doing it this way cuts the cooling to about 15 minutes or less.  I like to remove it from the cold water when it reaches 109 degrees.

Whisk in the starter yogurt.  Once you have made yogurt you can use some of it for your start next time.  I generally use what I've made for 4-5 times then get a new starter.



Pour the yogurt into your jars, cover and set the timer to 9 hours.  I really like how it turns out at 9 hours.  If you're using 2%, almond, etc, you will need more time, most like 10-12 hours, you'll have to play with it to see what you like.

If you don't have a maker you can leave your yogurt in the pan with a lid on it.  Sit the pan on the heating pad set at medium, cover with a bath towel or two and leave it be for 8-9 hours.  Once the time is up just pour it into containers and refrigerate.



When the time is up, put lids on the jars and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before enjoying.  It will last up to 10 days, never makes it that long around here though.



I add a scoop of protein powder to my yogurt, then whatever fruit I'm in the mood for.  I usually combine more than one fruit as you can see, and I chop up a couple of Brazil nuts to toss in.  Get creative and find what you like.  Great way to start the day!

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