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!)


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