Yogurt Making

I've made a discovery...homemade greek yogurt is AMAZING. Bonnie got a wonderful little yogurt making machine and Aunt Kathy (AKA: AK) got one and was on her way to making our lives full of yummy yogurt! You can get yourself this lovely little toy at: http://www.easiyo.com/

There are yogurt making packets that can be purchased along with your EasiYo, but if you would like to make it from a yogurt start, here are AK's instructions:

One tool I find indispensible is a candy thermometer. Other optional tools are a little whisk, a rubber scraper, and a plastic spoon or paddle of some sort for dishing up the done yoghurt (metal serving spoons break down the yoghurt. I use my rice serving paddle from my rice cooker, but largish and plastic are the operative words here.)

1) A generous 4 cups of milk, any style…….my preference has become ½ cup half and half and then just over 3½ cups whole milk (my reference book said that if you use milk alone, that you should add some powdered milk to the milk….I’ve never tried this, but I will get you the amount needed if you are interested. You can use milk with less % of fat this way……….but I’m all about the fat!) You will understand what I mean about the generous 4 cups of milk after you have made several recipes.

2) Greek yoghurt to use as a start. I prefer Greek as it is much thicker, any type would really be fine, but…..MAKE SURE THE WORDS “CONTAINS LIVE CULTURE” APPEAR ON THE LABEL SOMEWHERE. I like Fage brand the best, however I can’t get that in my regular grocery store, and have recently discovered that Danon (or is it Yoplait?) has started carrying a Greek yoghurt with live cultures in the supermarket and it is quite acceptable, and that saves me a trip to the natural grocery store.

1) Put ~¼ cup yoghurt on the counter to come to room temp while heating the milk. I put it into a liquid measuring cup so it’s in a good container already for its next step.

2) Slowly heat the milk to ~195°. (I have tried stove top heating (on low at first and then medium heat at the end—hook the thermometer on the side of the pan and watch the temp go up) and microwave heating both, I prefer in the microwave.) To make sure it’s heated slowly in the microwave I heat it for these times 30 sec, 30 sec, 35 sec, 35 sec, 40 sec, 40 sec……..you get the picture…….I check the temp (can’t leave the thermometer in the microwave!) frequently, and just keep doing it twice at each length of time, increasing by 5 seconds, till it’s at the temp I want. The book I referred to while “inventing” my process said to not let it come to a full boil, but just to 195°-200°. This process takes me about 15 minutes in the microwave (the math doesn’t seem like it would, but it always seems to!)…..I can’t remember how long it took on the stove, but it was at least that long……

3) Remove from heat and let cool to 105°-110°. This takes about 30 minutes. I check the temp after 15 minutes, then watch it every 5 minutes after that. Be careful that it doesn’t get any cooler than that.

4) When it is cooled, move the skin to the side of the pan and take about ¾ cup of it and add it to the room temperature start in the cup and stir it till smooth (I use the whisk). Take the skin off and discard (I find a fork the best tool for this), then pour the cup full of start and milk back into the milk and blend it up well. Then pour this into the container and put on the lid.

5) Put 110° water into the thermos part. Use enough so that the warm water will come nearly up to the lid of the container when you put it in (this is more water and much cooler than the directions on the Easi-yo indicate). Put that red inner piece and then the container in the thermos, cap it off, put it somewhere where it won’t get jiggled, leave it for several hours. (I carefully check the water temp after about 10 minutes to make sure it hasn’t cooled down because of the temp of the yoghurt container sometimes being slightly lower). After 3 hours I carefully remove and then open the inner container and tip it a little, it is generally quite a lovely yoghurty consistency by this time. I think it could be chilled at this point, but I fix the water temp back to 110° if necessary and always leave it for another hour or so. Once it is thickened, the time spent in the warm bath is gradually making the yoghurt more tart. I have never left it more than 6 hours. (3-6 hours is what my reference book said was the period of time it could take to “yog”. I’m finding 4 hours what mine is taking lately.) You will find what you like….

6) Chill thoroughly before spooning out. It will thicken slightly more as it chills. (I didn’t read anywhere about chilling before serving, but it seems logical to me so I do it that way. If you ever serve any out while warm, let me know if it keeps its shape or gets watery as I am afraid of!)

7) Eat and enjoy!

8) When you get down toward the bottom, put aside the ¼ cup that will become your next start. I don’t know how many times you can use your own start like that, I often serve every last bite I have made, so find myself grabbing another store bought yoghurt to start the next batch…..I’ve only been successful at reserving my own start like 3 times in a row……..it was certainly good that long!

Serve yogurt with any of your favorites!
Any berry (frozen or fresh)
Wheat germ
Vanilla sugar

The yogurt can also be used to make smoothies or can be made into sour cream or cheese! :-)

Happy Yogurt making AND eating!


Kath said...

Thanks for taking care of getting this posted for me, Pammy! Love the photos! I developed this method because of my Easi-yo toy, but the bottom line of yoghurt making is that after you heat the milk, cool it, temper it with starter, incorporate that into the batch, the only thing you need to do is keep it at a constant 110 temp without disturbing it for the 3-6 hours it takes to thicken. Long ago, on another planet that was the '70's, I had a gas stove with an oven with a pilot light that was the PERFECT temp for making yoghurt. You certainly don't need the toy to make the yoghurt, if you have another constant source of warmth. That said, I LOVE my toy!!!!!

Bonnie said...

Mom ... I don't think you can edit comments ... the only way I've discovered it to delete and re-do but what a pain ! So ... I usually just leave a second comment with my one line correction ! But ... I will do that for you here ...

FOR OTHER READERS AND COMMENTERS ... Mom meant 'temper THE starter' not 'temper it with starter'. There ! All done !! :)

Now ... I must go. I am heading straight to my fridge to see if my yoghurt has live cultures in it !! If so, I'll be trying this on Saturday. If not, I'll still be trying this on Saturday ... I'll just have to go get a different starter !

I'm so excited !!! Thanks for posting Mom ... er, Pammy. Thanks for the team effort !!!

Bonnie said...

Case in point ... is to ... not it to!

Pammy said...

What a team we are! :-)