Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Milk: Making home made Yogurt

I've been making yogurt for the last 6 years.  I started off using store-bought milk, but once we got a cow and now goats, I use their fresh milk instead.  It's hard to justify buying the stuff in the store, it's hugely expensive, full of artificial stuff and lots and lots of sugar.  My family is in love with yogurt.  Me?   Not so much!

Sometimes I skim the heavy cream off the milk.  When the yogurt has set up it makes a thick yellow layer which, although my hubby loves, the kids tend to shy away from.  I save the cream for making ice cream instead.  Now that they have no problem eating!!

I bought a Yogourmet yogurt maker and starter online.  However, instead of the costly starter, now I take a small portion of my previous batch and use that in my next one.  Usually I have a small container just for the starter.  You only need about 2 tablespoons, any more and the yogurt won't set up as well.

Mix 2 liters of milk and 1 packet of unflavored gelatin, bring to 180 degree Fahrenheit.  Take it off the heat, add in sugar if desired, mix well.  I usually add 1/3 to 1/2 cup, once I accidentally-on-purpose 'forgot' to add sugar and the kids refused to eat it.

I then put it in an ice bath in the sink.  You can skip this step, but it takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r to bring it down to 73-77 degrees, the best temp for yogurt.  Once in the ice bath, I add up to 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract.

At 73-77 degrees, pour some into the yogurt container, mix well with the starter, then slowly add in the rest of the cooled milk. 

Incubate in the Yogourmet for 13-15 hours.  I usually make it in the evening after I come in from milking, the yogurt incubates overnight and I put it in the fridge around lunch time.  I let it cool for about 6 hours and the kids enjoy it as dessert after dinner.  I top it with honey, fresh fruit or sauce I've made from fresh fruit.  Sometimes I'll even use the store-bought pancake fruit topping, although it has high fructose corn syrup in it.

I make this at least twice a week, with 3 yogurt loving kids and my hubby, it doesn't last long around here!

Two things that may make your yogurt-making life easier:  invest in a good thermometer and an immersion blender.  I bought a thermometer that beeps when it gets to temp.  This will free you from standing over the stove watching it get to the correct temperature.  The immersion blender is a useful tool, not required for mixing up the yogurt starter, but it does a great job and it's useful in other recipes, too.

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