Friday, June 15, 2012

Cooking with Food Storage: Make Your Own Yogurt

We love yogurt at our house.  But, have you ever read the ingredients on the side of the yogurt package?  I bet you can't pronounce most of them.  I like to know what's in the food I eat. That is why I make my own yogurt.  It's fast and relatively easy. In fact, I don't even have to rely on regular milk. I make it with powdered milk!

Now I am not talking about the powdered milk you purchase at the grocery store.  Personally, I do not care for the taste of that.  I purchase my powdered milk here. It tastes just like fresh skim milk you purchase at the grocery store. Read the customer reviews or you can read about a woman who did a taste test with her church. The Great Powdered Milk Taste Test and Review

One definite item you will need to make yogurt is a yogurt culture.  I buy mine here.  However, you don't have to purchase a dry culture.  I know people who make yogurt with a spoonful of yogurt from the grocery store. (Make sure it is one with live cultures.)

Full disclosure:  I do not get anything for mentioning these products, I am just a satisfied customer.

OK, lets make some yogurt:

The first step is to mix up the powdered milk.  Now, if you don't want to use powdered milk, you can use fresh milk from the grocery store.  Whole milk will taste creamier, but I prefer to reduce the fat content by using skim milk.  By the way, powdered milk mixes much easier if you use hot water.  For today's batch, I made two quarts. 

After mixing the powdered milk, place it in a large pot and heat on medium to 185 degrees.  Be sure to stir it constantly so the milk doesn't burn on the bottom.

A great way to make sure your milk hits 185 degrees, is to use a milk thermometer.  They aren't expensive.  You can easily order them online. I use mine all the time!

Once the temperature of the milk hits 185 degrees, remove it from the heat and let it cool to 112 degrees.  Usually, I remove mine from the stove and place it on the counter on a pot holder.  Let me say here that it is extremely important to get the milk to 185 degrees before you cool it to 112.  The mixture won't make yogurt if it doesn't heat all the way up to 185. (Ask me how I know this!)

Once cooled, pour the milk into a thermos-like container.  I use a Yogotherm.  It holds exactly two quarts.  I have had mine for a few years now, but to the best of my recollection, I purchased it here.  However, a lot of other places sell it as well.  Do an Internet search and see who has the cheapest prices. What I like best about the Yogotherm is it doesn't use electricity.  So, if the power goes out, I can still heat the milk on the charcoal grill and create delicious yogurt!

After you've poured the 112 degree milk into the container, open one of the dry yogurt cultures and sprinkle it on the milk. If using yogurt from the grocery store, add it now. I am afraid I can't offer any guidance on how much fresh yogurt from the store you should use, I have never tried it. I have read about it on the Internet and the directions I read stated a few tablespoons. Since I have never tried it, I can't verify the accuracy of that information.

Next, let the dry culture re-hydrate for a few minutes.  Here you can see mine sitting on top of the milk.

After a few minutes, stir it in to make sure it mixes throughout the milk.

Now, cover and leave it undisturbed on the counter for 6 to 12 hours.  I like to check mine at six hours, if it needs more time leave it for longer.

And there you have it!  Fresh homemade yogurt. 

As a final step, add Splenda and fruit  if you would like.  We like strawberry banana and peach.  I have used both freeze dried fruit and fresh fruit from the garden, both are delicious!

Try making your own yogurt sometime, it is inexpensive, delicious and doesn't have any preservatives!

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