So, a few of you may have read my previous post about yogurt where I said that I would attempt to make my own next. Well, that time has come! The other day I bought a quart of milk from a local dairy for $3.00, and one “starter” yogurt for $1.34. If all went well I’d have a whole quart of yogurt for less than $5.00. Not too shabby, if I don’t say so myself! So, first of all you need all of this stuff:
A quick breakdown in case you don’t like trying to figure out what’s going on there:
- A pot
- A digital therometer
- Whole Milk (local if you can get it)
- Starter yogurt (plain, live cultures), room temp
- Bottles to hold the yogurt, sterilized
- Heating pad (not pictured)
Surprised? I was… turns out you really don’t need much to make your own yogurt except time. The first thing you need to do is to put about a tablespoon of yogurt “starter” in each bottle (per 2 cups of milk). Next, fill up your sink with icewater. Why? Because as soon as we get the milk to the right temperature, we’ll need to cool that pot down as fast as possible. Next, pour your milk into the pot and secure the thermometer so that it’s in the liquid, but not touching the bottom.
Slowly heat the milk on medium-low, stirring, until it hits 180-185 degrees. As soon as it hits 180, immediately take the pot off the stove and put it in the sink until the temperature of the milk reaches 110 degrees. While cooling, setup your heating pad. I just got one of my extra large pads, placed it on the counter and set it to “medium.” Once your milk hits the 110 degree mark, it’s time to bottle.
Pour a small amount of the milk into the bottles and blend with the starter. Once mixed, go ahead and pour the rest in. Mix well, seal with the cover, and place in the heating pad. Your goal is to keep the bottles between 110 and 120 degrees for 8 – 10 hours. Periodically you may need to check on your heating pad to make sure it hasn’t turned off, or that your bottles haven’t gotten too cold. I found that using the thermometer on the outside of the bottle gave me a good ballpark of the temp inside, but if any of you have a better way, I’d love to try it!
So, you’ve waited the time, you’ve babied the bottles… what next? Simple, just open it, stir until it is very well mixed, re-seal, and toss into the back of your fridge until cold. You see, this stops the bacteria from feeding, which will make the yogurt less tart, though a bit less thick. The next day, open it up and take a taste… if all went well, it’ll taste, well, like yogurt!
You may notice the chunky look of the yogurt… I promise the texture isn’t like cottage cheese (nor is the taste), it just looks like it. I’ve been told that if you strain it, it’ll come together nicer, but then you lose all the goodness in the whey, so I left it. What’s left to do now? Nothing but eating! I’ve dressed mine up with some strawberry preserves and walnuts (yum!), but the possibilities are almost endless.
Now, this was my first time doing this, but it won’t be my last. Does anyone else out there have any tips or tricks for me (and everyone else) when it comes to making yogurt? Don’t be shy!