Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Homemade Yogurt

Mom and Elizabeth
I think I'm turning into my mother. At about the age I am now, she gave up white flour and refined sugar, made her own yogurt and whole wheat bread, planted large gardens, and danced to MTV in the living room, with us in a baby carrier. OK, that last part is all her own thing, and she still plants huge gardens every year, but here I am making wheat bread with her Vitamix, making yogurt, and contemplating using cloth diapers for our next child. She just smiles now and says "Just wait till you start eating nothing BUT sugar."

I think I've mentioned before how I discovered an entire case of powdered milk, pull-dated this year, in our food supply recently. Up to this point, I've made my family drink gallons of the stuff, turned it into Magic Milkshakes and peanut butter balls, and made a completely failed batch of pao de queijo. However, it makes a very nice yogurt!

I had trouble finding precise directions online, and finding more than one source to back up any particular method. Seems like that's normally the case with "cottage" type products. At any rate, here's my mix of a few different sources (probably Hillbilly Housewife and WikiHow). Seems to have worked!

3 1/2 cups water
1 cup powdered milk
2 Tablespoons plain yogurt with active cultures

Quart jar with lid
Thermometer (I used a barista thermometer)
Small cooler
small jars or glasses

  1. In the saucepan combine water and milk powder. Stir to combine totally, clip thermometer to pan, and heat to 185 degrees stirring occasionally.
  2. Remove from heat, and take your yogurt starter out of the fridge to warm up on the counter.
  3. Let your milk cool to below 120 degrees (105-115 is best), stirring frequently to make sure your thermometer reading is accurate.
  4. Add the yogurt starter to the milk, stir to combine, and pour into a very clean quart Mason jar. Seal tightly, and put in the cooler. Surround your jar with open jars or glasses of very hot tap water, shut the lid, and put a few towels on top for extra insulation. (Not sure if that's necessary, but it's what I did!)
  5. Leave, undisturbed, for 8-14 hours until set. I changed the water once, right before I went to bed, and put it in the fridge in the morning. If you mess with the yogurt early, I'm told it will take a lot longer to set up. Store in the refrigerator.
We've tried it with sugar, honey, and jam and it's all nice. Although it's not as sour as store-bought plain yogurt, it's still a little sour for our tastes right now, when served plain.

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