Thursday, March 15, 2007

Making Yogurt

I have tried in the past making my own yogurt, and I did it in this yogurt maker. I could never get excited about it though. For a large family, eight tiny half-cups of yogurt, in fragile plastic cups that *can't go in the dishwasher*, with lids that constantly crack and *also* can't go in the dishwasher, was not a good configuration.

But homemade yogurt is so good, especially when made Greek style (see end note), that I wanted to try again. What works for me is to ditch the machine, and use the following:

•half-gallon of organic whole milk
•two envelopes of starter
•two quart jars

I heat my milk, let cool, and mix in starter as directed on the starter package. While all that is going on, I fill my crockpot with hot water and turn it on to its lowest setting. When the yogurt is all mixed up, I pour it into my two quart jars, loosely cover them, and set them in the crockpot of water. I turn the heat off, balance the lid on top of the jars, and drape a folded bath towel over the whole affair. It's done in about six hours, or overnight. If I'm making it during the day I will occasionally turn the low heat back on for ten minutes or so--but this set-up holds a steady temperature surprisingly well.

Greek Yogurt:
Line a colander or steamer basket with a single thickness of paper towel. Set securely over a bowl. Put any amount of yogurt in, and refrigerate. It will immediately begin to drain off the thin liquidy whey. After a half day, the yogurt will be firm and extremely creamy, like a soft cream cheese. Drizzle local honey over your serving and enjoy!


MamaBirdEmma said...

This sounds so easy! Where do you get the starter, Anna?

Anonymous said...

I just put my yogurt in the jars with the oven light on overnight. It works very well.

Stacy said...

Mm. I'm so glad you supplied this recipe. I will be trying this! :)
Where would I find the starter?

Heather K said...

Sounds good. A friend of mine makes hers in the oven. She gave me a packet of the starter to try it. Haven't done it yet though...
Stacy---I think you can get it at a 'health food' store. That's what we call them in Canada anyway.

Anna said...

What kept me from trying this for so long was the lack of oven accomodations. Everything I read was to the effect of "Keep you oven light on" or "Just the heat of the pilot light is enought" or "Set your oven to 150"--my oven doesn't do any of those things!

I buy my starter at the health food store, like Heather says. You *can* make yogurt using a spoonful of active culture yogurt as your starter, but I just don't like it as much--yogurt comes out much runnier. I like the reliability of the starter.

AmeliaB said...

I haven't tried making yogurt before but I know there is a recipe here:

She also has other recipes that are non-dairy and other types of yogurt and cheeses. It is a very nice site. We love her milkshakes(you don't need ice cream!). :-)


Anonymous said...

Great idea for making larger quantities. I'm the only one in the house that will eat Greek yogurt so Fage works well for me. The Donvier machine is on my Amazon wish list though.

Stacy said...

Thank you. It's going on my grocery list!

Serena said...

Thank you for the wonderful recipe, and the crockpot idea! My oven doesn't do any of those things, either, so the crockpot should work well for me.

My fourteen-month-old daughter and I love to dip our daily apple in yogurt that has cinnamon (the more the better!) and just enough maple syrup added to have a hint of sweetness.

Have you tried making tzatziki sauce with the Greek yogurt? That with pitas (which MUST be homemade) makes an excellent snack. Add some chicken, and it's a meal!

QueenOrual from S&S Board

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Anna, for posting the instructions. I love plain whole milk yogurt, but our regular store only carries low-fat so I'll have to try this!
Serena, I love tzatziki sauce on pita, too. Is the recipe simple enough to post here? Or you can find me at the S&S board :)
Stacy in NC

Serena said...

Stacy, I'll post it in the Recipe Exchange at the S&S Forum.

Stacy said...

I tried this today- following your instructions to the letter. I ended up with two quarts of what looks like thick milk. It has the right taste, but it is so liquid-y. Is that how it's supposed to turn out, or should it have come out more set? Maybe it sets only after chilling for several hours?
I planned to do the Greek Yogurt but I'm afraid that if I pour it into a paper towel, it will all drain through! Any ideas?

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