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Thursday, February 14, 2013

I made yogurt, and it was good.

So I told you early this week on my Facebook page that I made homemade yogurt.

Well, I am thrilled to tell you that it turned out--and it is delicious!!  And super-easy!

It's not waaay cheaper than store-bought.  But I like knowing what's in it: milk, and culture.  That's it.  No artificial sweeteners (I put honey and vanilla in mine).  No preservatives.  No nothin' that I don't want in there.  I'd LOVE to make it with raw milk...but eh, maybe sometime.  For now, a girl can dream. :)

The process is nothing very exciting.
Warm up your slow cooker (on the lowest heat setting).
Bring milk to a simmer, till it foams.  I had a half-gallon and I used my biggest pot.  That milk expanded till it nearly filled the pot.  It was bubbly and fluffy and glorious, and it smelled delicious.
When the milk has shrunk down, take it off the heat.  Let it cool till you can stick your finger in it without burning your finger.  Mix a cup or so of the warm milk with 1/3 cup plain yogurt.  (I just used a store-brand, it was on sale, so was the store-brand milk, 99 cents a half-gallon!)  Put the rest of the milk in the slow cooker, slowly stir in the milk/yogurt, and then cover the slow cooker and turn it off, and unplug it.
Wrap it up in bath towels so it stays warm all night.
Go to bed.
Wake up the next morning and peer in your slow cooker to see half a gallon of lovely, tart, good-for-you yogurt!
That's the exciting part.  That, and trying to find enough old sour cream and yogurt containers in my cupboard to store all this creamy goodness.

I already used it to make cornbread, instead of milk.  Success.  Delicious with bananas, honey and vanilla.  Okay with raspberry jam, honey and vanilla.  Going to try it with pineapple tomorrow.  Planning on making homemade granola soon, because the marriage of granola and yogurt is a beautiful one.  Especially when both are homemade, and there is plenty of honey involved...

But I digress.

HERE is the recipe I followed, to the letter for once in my life, because I was a little nervous about this turning out.  (Thanks, Elsie!  It worked great!)

I'm excited to experiment with more flavors for my yogurt.  I'm thinking cocoa, and/or peanut butter, would be good.  I also plan to use it in cooking (for example, in the aforementioned cornbread).  If any of you know of good recipes which use plain yogurt, let me know!  I made a delicious salad last night with chopped tomato, half a sliced cucumber, some lime zest and juice, a little minced garlic, salt, pepper, and about a cup or so of yogurt.  SO good.

Anyway.  I'm excited that this latest experiment worked out.  Next time whole milk goes on sale (that's what I used) I'm going to buy three or four half-gallons and stick them in the freezer, because I think whole milk is probably the best choice for yogurt-making and, sigh, in this non-dairy-farming state whole milk is well over $4 a gallon.  Grr.  And that's the pasteurized, store-brand stuff.  Ah well.

It's worth it for the yogurt.

10 comments:

  1. This makes me so excited for my goats to grow up! Lol, I have never made homemade yogurt, but I have been tempted. I am SO annoyed at only being able to find low fat or no fat yogurt in stores. Conrats on your first batch being successful!

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    1. Ooh, goat milk yogurt! That would be great! :)

      I used "low fat" and it still worked out great. Just make sure you get the kind that says clearly on the container "contains live/active cultures" (acidopholous, sp?, is one of the bacteria present in yogurt).

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  2. I had no clue you could make your own yogurt. My daughter will love this. You made it seem so easy.

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    1. It IS easy! Really quite foolproof. I was a little nervous, but like I said, it turned out great! Let me know if you give it a try. :)

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  3. I make yogurt by heating milk, with some added powdered milk (it turns out firmer), in a pan to 180F. Let it cool to 100-110F and stir in plain yogurt (sell buy date with at least 10 days to go) I then pour it into pint widemouth canning jars and put lids on them. Put in a warm place to culture for at least 4. You can easily leave it for 8 or more hours. The longer it cultures, the firmer (and sourer) the yogurt.

    Possible warm places: on top of the hot water heater, in a cooler with a large jar of hot water (may need to refill with hot water after several hours), in the oven with the temp set at the lowest possible setting and the door slightly propped open (since my oven doesn't really go below 130 F), or, my favorite place: on a towel-covered heating pad set on low and covered with a large towel or blanket.

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    1. Powdered milk! Brilliant! That's such a good idea for making it thicker. :) I think I left mine for around 12 hours. It's quite tart, but I like it. :)

      Thanks for the tips!

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  4. Oh, yay! I'm so glad it turned out great! When I was in England we often had yogurt as a dessert--served plain, with various jams and preserves to stir in as desired.

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    1. That's a great idea! I'm excited for spring when more fresh fruits are available. :)

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