Tuesday, May 27, 2008

How I Make Yogurt

I started making my own yogurt a couple of months ago when our family consumption skyrocketed. It is not unusual for us to go through a 750 g container in one or two days. This was getting rather costly. One of my friends has a fancy yogurt maker that I borrowed and had fun with. When I got serious about making yogurt I decided to try making it without a machine before we shelled out money for an appliance that we didn't have room for on the forgotten appliance shelf in our pantry. (That space is taken up by a Juiceman and a pasta maker)

I started by doing research online and figured out the best way for me to incubate the yogurt without a machine. The only fancy equipment you need is a instant read or candy/deep fry thermometer. Nice but not necessary is an oven thermometer.

I followed the steps at this website to prepare the milk for incubation.

Here are some extra tips I have learned:
  • I find that my microwave takes between 7-8 minutes on HIGH power to scald the milk. I like using the microwave because I can heat the milk in the same container I plan to incubate it in. One less pot to wash!
  • My yogurt has the best consistency if I let it incubate at least 12-14 hours. To incubate it I preheat my oven to it's lowest temperature and then turn it off. I turn the interior light on and place my tightly covered milk mixture inside and leave it overnight. I also remind Richard not to make nachos for his bedtime snack!
  • The quality of your starter is important. I prefer to use full-fat commercially prepared plain yogurt. I find as my starter ages I have to use a bit more than the required 2 tablespoons. Reach to the very back of the dairy case and get the freshest yogurt you can.
  • To sweeten my yogurt I love a small drizzle of honey or some ripe mashed banana mixed in.
  • For a really delicious treat strain the yogurt in a coffee filter for several hours. It takes on a wonderfully thick consistency, almost like goat cheese. Drizzle this with honey and sprinkle with walnuts or pecans and cinnamon for a decadent treat. Chocolate milk mix stirred into homemade yogurt is pretty yummy too.
  • Home made yogurt has a milder flavour than commercially prepared yogurt. Be sparing with the sweetener at first.
  • Because it has a milder flavour, strained yogurt is a really great substitute for sour cream.

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