Mmm. Smooth, tangy, and creamy all in one bite. Imagine it. In less than half a day you could be enjoying one of the simplest pleasures of life – that of homemade yogurt. Stir in some fruit, a dollop of jam, or a drizzle of honey and you have yourself a simple, cheap, wholesome snack. Follow along as I walk through it, step-by-step. But first, let’s cover some basics, shall we?
To start, you’ll need a good plain yogurt starter. I recommend Dannon (this is not a paid advertisement), and not a low-fat variety, either. Get the good stuff. You will make your own yogurt starting with the store-bought stuff. Kind of feels like cheating but it’s not! You could buy an expensive yogurt culture but why bother? And another secret? You can use your own homemade yogurt as a starter too, though every few batches you’ll want to start over with some bought yogurt. Keeps the yogurt sweeter for some reason. I mean, you could always use your own but it tends to get sour after too many batches.
The milk: I use raw milk from our cows. It’s not pasteurized or homogenized. If you don’t have access to good raw milk, a whole milk from the grocery store will work just as well. I don’t recommend using low-fat milk unless you want a super tangy yogurt. The more fat it has, the sweeter it will be. I skim some of the cream off the milk but I’m left with probably a 2% or whole milk just like you’d get at the store.
(Note: I don’t recommend much that’s low-fat or no-fat. I’m a firm believer in consuming fat. Our bodies need it. Eating fat will not make you fat. Eating too much will.)
The other ingredient you’ll need is plain gelatin. Please don’t use flavored stuff. I’m not sure you’d like the results. The gelatin helps the yogurt to set up and keep from getting too runny.
Here’s the formula:
For every pint of milk (2 cups), you’ll need 1 t plain gelatin and 2 T yogurt starter.
(Edited April 2013: For vanilla yogurt – along with the yogurt starter, stir in 1/2 t vanilla extract per pint of milk.)
Other necessary items:
jars, lids (and rings if necessary), a ladle, a funnel, a whisk, a measuring cup, a large pot, another pot, a thermometer, some cold water, and something to incubate the yogurt in.
Oh, let’s talk about your incubator. I use my food dehydrator. I can adjust the temperature of it low enough to keep the yogurt alive. If you don’t have a dehydrator that does this, or you want to save electricity, you can just use an insulated lunch box. Some people also use their oven with the pilot light on. Still others set theirs on a heating pad. The only other method I’ve tried is the lunch box. You’ll have to put warm water in it with the jars of yogurt and cover it with towels. It will be necessary to check the water temperature and add more hot water if the temp is getting to low.
Here’s how it all works.
1. Whisk the milk and gelatin together in a pot.
2. Turn the heat on medium and cover the pot. (Stir occasionally as you proceed with the next few steps.)3. While the milk is heating, place your jars, lids, ladle, whisk, and funnel in a large pot and put about a half inch of water in the bottom.
8. Swish the water around (you may need to get new water if it gets too warm) and leave the pot of milk in just long enough for the temperature to come down to 55 degrees Celcius (130F). This will only take a few minutes so don’t walk too far away. If your milk gets too cool, just heat it back up to 55C (130F).
9. Remove the pot from the water. Ladle a little of the milk into your yogurt starter and whisk it together well. This gets rid of any yogurt lumps.10. Pour the starter into the pot of milk and whisk well again.11. Ladle the milk into your sterilized jars. I use the funnel for this.12. Screw the lids on the jars and place them in your incubator.
13. Turn on, pour in hot water, cover, do whatever it is you need to do to keep the yogurt around 45 degrees Celcius (115F) for about 3 or 4 hours. Around 3 hours, tip one of the jars a little. If the yogurt is starting to look congealed, it’s done. If not, leave it go for a little while longer. When set, remove from the incubator and allow the yogurt to cool to room temperature, at which point you can refrigerate it for as long as you like. Sadly, I’ve had yogurt in my fridge for about 6 months and it was still good. I went through a spell of not using it (not sure why…just didn’t). So it keeps for quite a while, especially if unopened!
yogurt (1/2 cup?)
frozen blueberries (1/2 cup?)
toasted sliced almonds (3 T?)
honey (2 t?)
Layer together the yogurt, blueberries, almonds and honey in whatever fashion you please. Eat immediately. Lick your lips and say, “Yum!”
This post is a part of Pennywise Platter!