Monday, November 23, 2015

Homemade Yogurt

There are so many ways to make yogurt. The basics are: Warm milk to 110F (hand warm), stir in some thinned yogurt from the store or a previous batch, keep at about 100F until it gels.
Sounds simple. But. There's the right way, the wrong way and My Way:
I add dry milk to whole milk (to thicken the end product), then heat it to 180F for 30 minutes (to denature the proteins, and double pasteurize it) in a pot inside another pot filled with water (water jacket), then take it out of the water jacket and cool it in a sink of cold water to 110F, add a small amount of yogurt (thin this with some of your heated milk so that it's not lumpy), stirring thoroughly. At this point you can pour it into jars and put it back into the water jacket (110F). Put it in a warm place. I put mine on a heating pad set on low, but used to use a cooler with another jug of hot water, and also have used the oven with the light on. After a period of time, 4-12 hours, it will have gelled enogh tht a knife will cut it. Cool it again in a sink of cold water and refrigerate. You will find your own way; it is a very forgiving food. The favorite so far is a yogurt that looks almost slimy and even snotty. However the taste is so good that the children ask for it without any additions. Weird, hunh?
You don't have to add dry milk, but doing so makes an almost greek yogurt. The heating to 180F also makes it thicker, but if you buy pasturized milk you can skip that too. Pouring into containers makes it easier to handle. If you have a sous vide setup you can put it in ziplock freezer bags and keep it at 110F until it gels.I have made it without the pot-in-pot water jacket, so you can skip that, too. Go back to basics, or rather start with the basics: 110F, add yogurt and keep warm until it gels. Folks used to make it from any old milk, poured into a leather sack and taken to bed. In the morning it was yogurt! Enjoy the process. Anything that comes out will be edible, so consume your mistakes. The fun is in the journey! Then think about making Brie, which is almost as easy!