Tuesday, June 8, 2010

homemade yogurt

If you are looking to try something new this summer give homemade yogurt a try.  It is great for yogurt popsicles, smoothies, parfaits and so many other great recipes. It has taken some trial and error batches to get this process perfected at my house but it is worth it.  I adapted a recipe that I found at The Hillbilly Housewife.  The ingredients are very simple.

6 cups of warm tap water
    2 cups of nonfat dry milk (hillbilly housewife uses instant so I am sure that both will work)
    1/4 - 1/2 cup store bought plain yogurt with active yogurt cultures        (read the label to be sure)

You will also need a food  or candy thermometer and some kind of incubation device (more explanation later).  

In a large sauce pan combine water and dry milk.  Stir until all the dry milk has dissolved.  Heat over medium low heat  stirring occasionally (so the bottom does not scorch) until it reaches about 175-180 degrees.  I use a digital food thermometer but you could also use a candy thermometer.  This temperature kills of any competing bacteria so the the yogurt will respond better.

You then remove it from the heat and let it cool to about 115 degrees and add the plain store bought yogurt starter.  This takes a little while but if the milk is any hotter it will kill the yogurt cultures.  I like the Dannon all natural yogurt from my starter.  You can also save a little from a previous batch of yogurt but this will eventually weaken so it is good to buy some every few batches.  I have also heard of a powdered culture that can be found at health food stores but I have never tried it myself.  

I then pour it into four clean pint size canning jars and top with lids.  It is now time to incubate it for about 8-10 hours.  Everyone develops there own way of incubating yogurt.  I will share my method but there are many others.

The temperature needs to stay at about 110 degrees for about 8 hours.  I put my jars in a 
slow-cooker (or crockpot), cover them with a dishtowel for more insulation and place the thermometer in also so I can monitor the temp.  My crockpot also has a insulated cover that came with it for traveling so I put that on also.  I turn it on the warm until it reaches 120 degrees and then I turn it off (if I leave it on it gets too hot).  This incubation method holds this temperature pretty close for the time needed.

Some cooks use heating pads, warm ovens, thermoses, or a commercial yogurt maker.  You will have to do some trial and error to figure out what works for you.

After the yogurt is thick I place it in the fridge and it will keep for about two weeks.  It will taste like plain yogurt (not too tasty) but with a little sugar, jam, or honey it is yummy!

I found this honey powder at a local grocery store and I love it for yogurt and smoothies.

This is one of our favorite breakfasts.  I use freeze dried strawberries and our granola recipe found here.  
There is so many recipes to try.  It can be made into yogurt cheese, frozen yogurt, can be mixed with sour cream or mayo, used like buttermilk, and so many others. 

There is a video from the food network TV show Good Eats  about yogurt that has some interesting information.  His recipe is a little different but he explains the food science about yogurt.  I learned that if you are lactose intolerant you may still be able to eat yogurt because the lactose is broken down in the process.

1 comment:

  1. This looks yummy!!! I've never heard of honey powder before, I'm definitely going to have to check it out. Thanks for the recipe and tutorial!


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