Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Yogurt

I've been a fan of yogurt for several years now. I enjoy a small bowl almost every morning with a healthy scoop of homemade-granola. I switched to plain yogurt a couple years ago because the sweet stuff got too overwhelming on a daily basis.

When we moved here Meg gave us her recipe for homemade-yogurt and we've been making it ever since. It's great stuff and Jeremy and I have fun making some every few weeks.

We use a half gallon of whole milk which we get in returnable glass jars from Cedar Summit Farm or Castle Rock Farm. Pour the milk in a pot on the stove and turn on the heat. I think it's best to heat it slowly, but we've done it on high heat before and survived.



While I'm stirring the milk, Jeremy pulls out the jars we need and our little cooler. He boils some water and fills up several of the jars which will sit in the cooler till we're ready for them.





Meanwhile, I'm stirring away and watching the heat. We want to milk to get to 185 degrees.



At some point when it's warming up, we add a half cup of powdered milk and whisk vigorously to get it integrated. The first time we made yogurt we just stirred in the powdered milk and at the end found a lot of it clumped at the bottom, so now we whisk. The powdered milk adds some thickness.



As soon as it reaches 185, we turn off the heat and move the pan to a sink full of cold water and ice packs. Now we want it to cool down.



Jeremy has already pulled out the jars we need for yogurt (that had been keeping hot). Into each of these he has put about two tablespoons of starter yogurt. This is store bought yogurt that we froze in little containers. You need the cultures from this yogurt to get the new yogurt going. Somehow the freezing doesn't hurt the cultures.



When the yogurt gets down to 115, Jeremy scoops out a bit into each jar and swishes it around. By then the yogurt has reached the target temperature of 111 and we pour it into the jars.



Then we arrange them in the cooler along with two jars still full of hot water, put the lid on, and walk away. The yogurt sits in the warmth for 6 to 8 hours (or is it 4 to 6? we can never remember). After that we stick it in the fridge.



I know there is another method of keeping the yogurt in your oven at a low temp so it stays at that heated temp for all those hours. The cooler method is much less energy intensive. I also like not being 'chained' to an oven for four hours or more - making sure it's maintaining temperature, etc.

In addition to eating yogurt at breakfast, you can blend it with some heavy cream and strawberries (if you happen to have some around), and make an incredible smoothie.



So - now you all know how to make yogurt!

1 comment:

richelle said...

Mmm, I think I will have to try that!