On the Making of my Own Yogurt

I am really struggling for yogurt puns.  All I can think of is the dude from Spaceballs.  Moichandising!

So now that that’s out of the way, let’s dive right to it:  Making your own yogurt is super easy, and here’s how.

You will need:

*Plain Yogurt
*A Pot
*A Container that is neither metal or plastic (this and the pot should be capable of holding 1 quart of liquid)
*A Kitchen Thermometer

1) Go pick up a little thing of plain probiotic yogurt.  What you want here is something for which the ingredients read “Milk, bacterial cultures,”  period.  No flavours, added sugars or preservatives.  You don’t need a lot, so go ahead and get an expensive brand.  You will also need just over a quart of milk from whatever animal and in whatever fat percentage you want.  Full fat, skim… it’s all good!

2) Mix two tablespoons of yogurt and two tablespoons of milk in a small dish.  Set aside.

3) Heat 1 quart (32 ounces) of milk to about 180 degrees Fahrenheit (80 degrees Celsius).  Do this slowly to avoid burning.

...like so!

4) Carefully pour the hot milk into your Container.  I use a Pyrex mixing bowl, but Corningware would work too.  I just don’t want plastic particles to melt into my yogurt and the conductivity of metal would make handling hot liquids difficult.

5) Cool to about 100 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius).  You can let it sit or put it in a partially filled sink of ice water if you want to speed things up.

Note the happy frog scrubby holder. This is critical to making good yogurt.

6) Once cooled, pour the yogurt and milk mixture from earlier down the side of the container, so as not to disturb any skin that may have formed on top.  Do not stir.

7) Cover your container with a clean dish cloth (don’t seal it!) and place it somewhere warm and dry where it won’t be disturbed.  I like to hedge my bets by placing it on an electric blanket on medium-low heat.

8 ) Come back in 8-12 hours!  The longer you wait the more tangy the yogurt will be.  Wait much longer than 12 hours and you may find it too sour.

9) Carefully drain any excess liquid off the top.  This, by the way, is called whey (there’s my pun!) and you can add it to smoothies for extra protein if you like.

10) Refrigerate until cold, and enjoy!

Really what we’re doing is “extending” the yogurt.  The initial heating breaks down the proteins, and the continued low heat allows the bacterial cultures to replicate and convert the milk into yogurt.  Putting it in the fridge causes the cultures to cease and desist.  It may sound a little gross, but it’s the basic principle of making all sorts of dairy products, and these cultures are beneficial!

You may find homemade yogurt to be runnier than storebought, simply because many of those brands have thickening agents added.   You can thicken it at home through the following steps:

1) Place a colander in a larger bowl or the sink and line it with cheesecloth

2) Pour the yogurt into it.

3) Bring together the corners of the cloth and twist them to squeeze extra whey out.  Tie it up tight and let it drain for a couple hours.

4) Give it one last squeeze.

You should get a thick, greek-style yogurt!  Unfortunately this will come at the cost of about half your total weight…sadface.

Now just remember save a couple tablespoons for the next batch!  You can keep this going indefinitely if you’re careful.  I have heard that you can freeze samples in an ice cube tray for later, which may be helpful if you’re the kind of person who regularly finds furry blue creatures nesting in your leftovers…like me…

I’ll let you do your own research on the health benefits of yogurt,  but here’s a start with the Globe and Mail’s recent headline: A Yogurt a Day may keep Heart Disease Away.   Enjoy!


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Laury Spohr on August 8, 2011 at 5:52 AM

    Amazing!!! think I will try this… now where do I get a happy frog?


  2. Sounds awesome Em! I need to try this!


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