Tips for Making Homemade Yogurt3:54 PM
A little while ago I did a blog about making homemade yogurt. The process always works for me, but it's sometimes cumbersome.
What follows are a few tips that I've discovered to make my weekly yogurt making easier.
First allow me to give tiny primer for novice yogurt makers. After you've heated the milk to 180 degrees and cooled it back down, you need to hold the temp at approx 110 degrees for a fairly long time. The problem with 110 degrees is that it's not too hold and not too cold. When I first began trying to make yogurt I had a TERRIBLE time holding the temp for the incubation period.
Sure I could buy and use a yogurt maker, but honestly the last thing I need is yet ANOTHER kitchen device. The challenge for me was to incubate the yogurt in a way that wasn't too fussy.
My original plan for incubation was to wrap the warm milk in a big towel and stuff it into my microwave for 10-12 hours. This worked. The only down side(s) being 1-it can be tricky to keep the towel wrapped around the jar and 2- my family HATED the there was no microwave for a long stretch of the day.
I used leftover fabric I made myself a quilted incubation bag.
|Yogurt incubation bag|
Using left over quilted fabric I made a plain bag. [Think brown paper bag made from fabric.]
|Inside the bag|
|Inner liner for yogurt bag|
|Wrap warm milk (with yogurt starter) in the liner|
|All wrapped up|
|Milk and liner inside incubation bag.|
The bag I made has velcro closures and a velcro strap to keep everything wrapped nice and tight.
|Velcro closure strips|
|All sealed up|
|Velcro strap holds everything snug|
|Ready to incubate|
|Close up of the strap|
|Find a warm place to incubate yogurt|
At the end of the incubation period, here's what you'll have!
|Fresh homemade yogurt!|
Starter:Another problem some yogurt makers have is finding a really nice yogurt starter. Until recently I used plain store bought yogurt with live and active yogurt cultures.
|Yogurt with live and active yogurt cultures|
Again, this worked well enough and I was happy with the result. THEN I discovered something better.
A few months back I tried freeze dried yogurt cultures. MAN what a difference!!!!
|Freeze dried yogurt cultures|
I was able to purchase 2 envelopes of Euro Cuisine freeze dried yogurt cultures on Amazon.com for $3.99. You only need 1.
I heated my milk (reg and powdered milk) like always. In case you missed it before, here's the recipe . I cooled the milk down to 120 degrees and added the freeze dried cultures. Next I incubated the yogurt in the usual way (see above).
The resulting product was thick and firm and incubated in less time than normal. DELISH!
Saving Starter for next time!
I don't know about your house, but my house is busy and noisy most of the time. It's not uncommon for the last of the yogurt to be eaten before I know we're even low! As soon as I've incubated a successful batch of yogurt, I immediately save a few tablespoons of starter for the next time.
Place a couple tablespoons of freshly made yogurt in a ziploc bag and toss it into the freezer for next time.
|frozen yogurt starter|
When you're ready to make a fresh batch of yogurt, defrost the frozen starter in the refrigerator over night (or leave it on the kitchen counter for about an hour). If you save a bit of starter from each batch you make you'll never have to buy starter again!
If the yogurt doesn't set: use the unset yogurt to make pancakes, cake or waffles. I use it in place of buttermilk
If there is clear or lightly tinted liquid on top: You can either stir in the liquid or drain it off. I like thick Greek style yogurt so I always drain it off. My son likes a softer creamier texture so he stirs it in. The choice is yours!
If you find that you've made too much yogurt: Freeze the extra. When you're ready to use it defrost in the refrigerator overnight.
Cooking with Yogurt: We use plain yogurt in place of sour cream for tacos or in place of buttermilk or cakes, waffles, pancakes or corn bread.
Happy Yogurt Making!