Saturday, November 20, 2010

How to Make Yogurt

At Mrs. Turkeybird's request, a tutorial. I'd use yogurt in bentos more often if Toddlebug and my husband didn't eat it for breakfast nearly every day!

 Basic Yogurt
1.) Measure out 2 cups of milk and pour into a medium-sized heavy saucepan. Put in a candy thermometer and turn the burner on medium.

2.) Preheat your oven on warm for just a few minutes; your goal is a 95-100 degree Fahrenheit environment. Over 115 will kill your cultures. Turn the oven back OFF, and turn the oven light on. That will help keep the oven at the right temperature. If you have a pilot light in there, you won't really need the oven light on--but you might like to use it anyway so you remember that you have yogurt in there. If your oven racks are too hot to touch, you've overdone it; leave the oven door open for a few minutes to cool.

3.) Stir the milk every minute or so (I like a silicone scraper for this) and keep an eye on it. You need it to get to 170 degrees F. Don't leave the kitchen--those last 30 degrees go fast!

Heat milk to 170 and then cool to 110.
4.) As soon as the milk reaches 170 degrees, turn off the heat and move the pan onto a cold burner or other heat-proof surface. You now need to let it cool to about 110 degrees.

5.) When the milk is cool, stir in a cup or so of yogurt with live, active cultures to use as your starter. I use organic, either plain or vanilla (since I normally make vanilla yogurt). If you are making vanilla yogurt, add 1/4 tsp. of vanilla extract and 1/8 to 1/4 cup of sugar.
When the milk gets back down to 110, add the yogurt, sugar and vanilla.
6.) Pour it into a glass container. I use a 1-qt. canning jar, but I've also used a Pyrex mixing bowl with success.  

7.) Cover (plastic wrap is fine, since the oven will not be hot) and wrap in a small towel. Place in oven 8-10 hours; I usually leave it overnight. If it's hot in your house (at least 90 degrees F) you can just leave it out.

8.) Chill before serving. If you like Greek-style yogurt, strain it (cheesecloth or a coffee filter in a mesh strainer has worked for me) for a couple of hours in the fridge. Add fruit or granola if desired.