September 20, 2010

Yogurt is so easy to make. We’re on a diet that requires that we use yogurt that’s been cultured for way longer than what you can get in the store. Thus, I’m making it about once a week right now.

What you need:

Mason jars
A bit of yogurt from the store with live active cultures. I use Strauss.

Stirring frequently, heat the milk to 180 degrees.

Still stirring frequently, bring the temperature down to 110 degrees (or a bit less). All the stirring helps to prevent a skin from forming on top of the milk.

Mix the yogurt (roughly 2 T to 1/4 c per quart) into your milk. Make sure that you get the yogurt thoroughly incorporated into the milk. I use a whisk, but very gently. If you use the whisk vigorously, you’ll have a lot of foam on top of the yogurt. Pour into sterilized jars, and secure sterilized lids . Keep at around 90-100 degrees for at least eight hours. I ferment mine in my dehydrator for about 24 hours. From what I understand, you can also use a gas oven. When the oven is off, the pilot light keeps the oven warm enough for culturing yogurt. Store in fridge.

You have to heat the milk to 180 to kill any bacteria in the milk. Because you’ll be leaving the milk at room temperature, you’ll be encouraging bacteria to grow- so you’ll want to make sure that you’re encouraging only good bacteria to grow. This is also why you need to sterilize your mason jars and lids before you pour the milk in.

Now the good part. My favorite ways to eat yogurt are:

– Add honey. Pour honey yogurt over fruit and nuts for a yummy, healthy breakfast. I eat this a lot at night as a dessert.

– Drain yogurt in coffee filters or a tea towel set inside a strainer to make thick greek yogurt. I use the left over whey in fermenting. Any way, use the drained yogurt with some seeded and chopped cucumbers, garlic, lemon juice and a bit of salt to make a great greek dip. I make this whenever I make lamb burgers. So, so good.


4 Responses to “Yogurt”

  1. Vida Says:

    Making yogurt is even easier if you heat the milk in the microwave. No stirring and no burnt milk! After adding the starter, I put it into a warmed oven (turned off) overnight. I don’t bother with sterilizing…I just put it into a corningware.

    I like my yogurt the way I ate it as a child: with dried mint, salt, diced cucumbers,and raisins.

    • Robin Johnson Simpson Says:

      Thanks for the help, Vida! I’ll be the first to admit that I’m anal retentive with sterlizing. Would you mind sharing what country your mom is from? The ingredients sound Mediterranean-ish.

  2. Vida Says:

    We’re Iranian, so this has been a staple in our household. We eat yogurt with practically every meal.

    Keep in mind the process of making yogurt is actually growing bacteria…as soon as you add the starter to the warm milk, the bacteria start eating and multiplying and your sterilization is for nought!

    I remember when we got our first microwave in the 80s and my parents figured out they no longer had to stir the warming milk on a hot stove anymore. Who needs that? They also had a food-warmer in their kitchen, but I just preheat the oven for 2 minutes and turn it off before putting in the dish.

    The most important step (for me) is to put a postit on the oven so I’ll remember to remove the yogurt the next morning. (And not preheat the oven again with the yogurt still inside. It isn’t pretty.)

    • Robin Johnson Simpson Says:

      LOVE Persian food!

      So, have you had the icky boiling over milk mess?

      My first kitchen mess involved a margarine tub being used to warm up Campbell’s tomato soup on the stove.

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