Friday, July 29, 2011

How to Make Your Own Yogurt

Jani Hershberger, Tiffy's sister, inspired me to try to make my own yogurt. It took me 3 tries to get it right. It tested my pride, my patience, and my womanhood. But, I persevered. This morning, I ate my homemade greek yogurt, with homemade toasted almond granola and I was made new.

I want this for you. I want this character building process. This challenge. This trial. But mostly, this success. It may not be yogurt for you. It may be cinnamon rolls, it may be sewing, or it could be almond milk. (keep on truckin' Heika!) Whatever it is, work for it. You'll be glad you did.

This is the best system I compiled and developed from different sources. Mainly

You'll need some gear*:
a double boiler
a thermometer
a heating pad
a towel
a wooden cutting board
a strainer

You'll need some ingredients**:
1 half gallon of milk
2-3 tablespoons of plain yogurt to "pitch"

* If you don't have a double boiler, you can make a water jacket using two different sized stock pots. Fill the bigger pot about halfway with water, and then add the second pot. When the milk is in the second pot, the water from the first should be hugging it. It should sit just about even, not too much water so it floats, but don't skimp on it or the milk won't heat evenly.
You could just use a regular pot, just make sure you're watching it and stirring it, and don't let it burn.
*If you don't have a heating pad, be creative. You just need to keep the milk at 110 for 7 hours. maybe an oven with a light on. Maybe a crock pot. Whatever works for you.
*Cheese cloth. At Jewel it's in the baking stuff. At Wal Mart it's in the craft aisle or the home projects section. It's confusing, but you need it.

**I just used skim milk. One guy said he likes milk with more fat. Mine turned out SUPER thick and creamy with skim
**I may or may not have broken the rules and pitched my yogurt using Dannon Greek Vanilla. It's what I had around. it turned out fine though

Ok. Are you ready?!
First, fill the bottom of your double boiler with water and get it bubbling. Then add your top pot and your half gallon of milk. Stick your thermometer in and heat to 185 degrees. Then hold it there for 30 min. This will make your yogurt thicker and creamier than just stopping it at 185.

Next, Fill your sink about 1/4 way with ice cold water. When your milk has held 185 for 30 min, move your top pot to the sink and let it take an ice bath. Bring it's temp back down to 110 stirring occasionally.

Once your milk is at 110, "Pitch" your 2-3 Tbsp of yogurt and stir well to incorporate.

Now it's time to set the mood for yogurt making. I set a wooden cutting board down, then a heating pad, then an end of a towel. After the yogurt reaches 110, move it to your 7 hour time out spot. Cover it up and keep an eye on the time.
My heating pad shuts off every 30 minutes for safety, so I just keep and eye on it. I turn it off and on to make sure it stays right around 110.

7 hours later, you should have a yellow/greenish liquid on top and your yogurt should be firming up.

(if you just want regular yogurt, you would stir vigorously, then chill overnight)

Dump as much of the liquid out as you can. Then whisk it all together and chill it for a few hours.

When it's cooled, take a strainer, a bowl, and 4 layers of cheesecloth and strain the yogurt overnight. You can save 2-3 Tbsp of it for the next time you make yogurt. It will save in the freezer for 2-3 months.

Next, all you have to do is put the yogurt left in the cheese cloth in a jar or container. You can keep it for 2 weeks (if it even lasts that long!)


Friday, July 1, 2011

Casey's Yummy French Toast Casserole

It's been too long. I'm sorry. I just had a lot going on. I didn't stop baking! I just stopped telling you about it.

Here are some important and unimportant things that I can share.

I'm pregnant. I am 32 weeks and 5 days pregnant to be exact. My body has changed a lot in the last 32 weeks and 5 days. And here are some notes on that.

I now know that you can't just sneeze whenever you feel like it. You have to get ready. Cross your legs, cross your fingers, close your eyes and say a prayer. Or else, you will probably pee... enough to have to re asses your wardrobe.

I can't zip my pants. I can't complain. At least I can still wear some of my pre-preg pants. But, sometimes people want to rub your blooming belly and they can totally feel the top of your pants wide open.

I'm never bored. I always have a little friend with me. When I feel bored, I just wake her up and try to figure out where her body parts are. I can't tell if she likes it or it bothers her, so I just assume she likes it like I do. She's just already cute.

Earrings make you feel pretty. Wear them camping. Wear them with sweats. Where them when your body is huge or when you need to get your eyebrows threaded.

You can wear pretty shoes, but you can't buckle them.

Those are just a few. There are more things, but that's not why I'm writing.

I'm writing to tell you about Casey's Yummy French Toast Casserole.

It belongs to Casey.

I've borrowed it from Casey multiple times. It's great for when you're hosting a group of people overnight; or if you have hungry boys. One time, she measured and combined all of the ingredients for me and all I had to do was put them together for Melissa's wedding morning breakfast. It's that great. She's that great.

Preparation time: 15 min

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Servings: 6 (maybe more) (maybe less if you have hungry boys)


I cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup butter or margarine (=1stick)

2 tablespoons Light Corn Syrup

12 slices of bread (torn up in pieces) (texas toast, or french bread that is about to be too hard)

1 3/4 cups of (2%) milk

7 eggs

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon of salt


in a small saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup. bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened. Pour into the bottom of a 13x9x2 baking pan.

Arrange bread (torn) on top.

Beat milk, eggs, vanilla, and salt in medium bowl. pour over bread, cover and refrigerate over night.


Preheat oven to 350

remove cover from pan, and bake for 50 minutes, or until set and golden brown. Serve immediately.

Serve with some fresh fruit on the side or on top. Serve with a dash of cinnamon (it never hurt anyone) Serve it with a fork and eat it right out of the pan.