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Friday, February 18, 2011

I Made Homemade Yogurt!

After reading about the success a couple of my online friends have had making yogurt at home, I decided to give it a try. It’s such a simple process that at first seems like a lot of fuss and bother, the kind of project I don’t necessarily want to take on, especially on a day when I have Brad-man running around the place. Thank goodness for Super Why! and Dinosaur Train on PBS. They gave me the time necessary to complete my task without “help”. Yes, I am a former Early Childhood professional and I use TV to distract the boy when there is something I need to get done. I make up for it after I turn off the TV. Promise.

So, about the yogurt. We don’t eat much of it around here, yet I always seem to have some in the frig waiting to be thrown away because it’s expired and funky. I know it’s so nutritious and something I should eat every day so I buy it with good intentions, but I don’t like the sickly sweet flavored kind and the plain has a tad too much “tang”. Reports were that the homemade was more tastebud-friendly, which intrigued me. If that’s true, then I’d probably start eating more of it – and would be more apt to incorporate it in what I feed Brad when he’s here, too.

So I did a little internet research and then yesterday combined a couple of methods to whip up a small batch. The information I used came from here and here. Not necessarily just the blog posts, but the comments were quite helpful also. Before we came home yesterday morning, Brad and I ran to the store (well, I drove and he rode, buckled into his car seat) and grabbed some fresh whole milk and plain yogurt with live cultures. Being the small-town grocery it is, there were no 6 oz. containers of plain yogurt so I had to purchase a quart. That’s okay, because I read that it can be frozen and used for future yogurt making. I did use whole milk since that’s what Brad needs right now. If he eats this well, I’ll keep making his with whole milk, but will make mine with skim.

The process was simple – heat the milk to 185 degrees F, let cool to 120 degrees F, then thoroughly mix in a bit of the yogurt. I put the mix into a couple of clean and warmed spaghetti sauce jars with lids, and a half-pint canning jar. Those went into the crockpot where I had a good inch+ of water that had been heated to 120 degrees F before I unplugged it. Set the lid on top and wrapped the entire thing with a bath towel. Four hours later, lookie what I got!

homemade yogurt

I put it in the frig until late in the afternoon because it apparently sets up a bit more as it cools. When Jess got here to pick up Bradley, we all took a little taste. I thought it still had quite a bit of tang, but the texture is softer than store-bought which contains gelatin. Bradley liked it well enough to eat a couple of spoonfuls before deciding that was enough. Jess spit hers out. She’s polite that way. Didn’t her mother teach her any manners?

So what will I do with it? One jar will be drained to make cheese which can be used like cream cheese for recipes. The other I think I will both flavor with fruits and make smoothies, and perhaps make some dip for crackers. Bradley loves Ranch, and if I can make that from scratch, so much the better. I’ll let you know. In the meantime, don’t be afraid to try this if it interests you. It’d be a great food experience for older kids.

After I told Greg how I did it, he started doing some research and found an easy recipe to make our own Ricotta cheese. Lasagna, anyone?


Dawn said...

Way to go! I love homemade yogurt. I do mix in a little sugar with the milk before it cools. It is still nowhere near as sweet as store bought would be.

Keep in mind that with skim milk it will not firm up as well as with whole milk.

NeeCee said...

Yea, you took the plunge and made your own yogurt! I can't stand store yogurt but we all love my homemade. I make mine in the crockpot. Super easy and yummy too!

Just a tip, if you want thinker yogurt, add 1/2 cup up to 3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream to your milk. It will be nicely thick and creamy.

Susan in SC said...

Good for you Tammy! I am afraid I would be more like Jess! LOL!! I do think it looks pretty if that counts!

Kay said...

I read on someone's blog to use vanilla flavored yougurt and to add some sugar to get a sweeter end product. I'm planning on making some myself for me. My Farmer only likes the really sweet, fluffy stuff.

Penny Ann said...

I use the crockpot to heat my milk, then cool it down. My first yogurt was 'okay', thick but not too, even though I used whole milk. However, I bought a thermometer and checked temperature regularly. Nice THICK yogurt resulted.

I love the taste of homemade and find it more digestible than the store bought. Next I'll try the ricotta myself, I have a recipe somewhere.