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Creamy homemade yogurt

 

“Homemade yogurt?” you ask.  Yes, homemade yogurt!  I started making my own yogurt for two reasons.  First, I love yogurt and the number of plastic containers left over from my yogurt addiction made me sad.  Second, I love the creamy european style yogurt – and that stuff’s expensive.     

All it takes to make yogurt - milk and yogurt cultures (in the form of the remains of the last batch of yogurt)

 

Yogurt is basically fermented milk and yogurt making has been used for centuries as a means of naturally extending the shelf life of milk.  Creamy and tangy – this is a recipe that replicates the expensive gourmet yogurt found in high-end stores.  Besides saving money – homemade yogurt contains live yogurt cultures, which are key to keeping your intestinal flora healthy.  Despite what companies like Clorox may tell you – some bacteria is good and necessary for optimal health.   I make it a habit to eat yogurt when travelling, as a means of combatting food illness (a real risk given my love of street vendor food).  I also make sure to eat yogurt with live cultures after taking any form of antibiotics in order to replenish my intestinal flora.  

Jars loaded up and ready for incubation

 

Here are some recipe notes.    

First, the main ingredient is milk so do not skimp on the milk.  I use high quality milk that is not been ultra high pasteurized.  UHP milk is heated to a point which increases shelf life – but at a cost.  The milk proteins in UHP milk have been damaged beyond repair leaving the milk watery and tasteless.  UHP milk cannot be used in home creamery projects like yogurt and cheese making so keep an eye out for plain old pasteurized milk.    It also goes without saying – avoid milk from hormone treated cows.  My personal favorite brand of milk  is Alpenrose  – based right here in Portland.  

Second, if you use skim milk you will need to increase the incubation time.  Keep in mind that a longer incubation time makes the yogurt more tangy – something I prefer.   

Third – how to incubate, I purchased a yogurt maker in order to better control the temperature during the incubation stage and make things fool proof.  If you don’t have and/or don’t want to purchase a yogurt maker you can place your yogurt to be in a bowl and wrap in warm towel/keeping it in a warm location or use heating pad.   They have been making yogurt for thousands of years in the middle-east so you don’t need a special machine to do it.  

mmmmm breakfast

 

Recipe adapted from Darina Allen’s Forgotten Skills of Cooking  

2 quarts whole milk (not UHP)  

2 tablespoons powdered skim milk (optional)  

2 teaspoons live natural yogurt (either from a prior batch or high quality yogurt like Stonyfield)  

Heat milk in non-reactive pan over medium heat – stir constantly to avoid burning.  When luke warm add powdered milk if using.  Heat until milk reaches 180F.  Remove from heat and let milk cool to 110-113F.  Mix small amount of warm milk with yogurt – add back to the rest of the milk and stir well.  Transfer to bowl or containers and incubate in warm place (see note above) until set, usually 8 hours (I like a tangy yogurt so I incubate for 12 hours).   Place yogurt in refrigerator for at least 3 hours after the incubation period is over.  If you want a firmer consistency – you can drain the yogurt in a cheesecloth lined strainer.