January 31, 2012

How I Make Yogurt

Yogurt!  This has become a favorite for me over the past year, as it is easy and healthy.  I can't believe that just a year ago I hated the stuff.  In the past I typically made it with powdered milk from the Home Storage Center (LDS cannery).  I am making the change to using more and more milk instead for health reasons, and because my husband thinks it tastes better.  He'll eat my powdered milk yogurt in smoothies or with vast amounts of fruit.  My two year old loves my yogurt completely plain.  I don't like it plain, but I'll eat it with fruit or as a substitute for sour cream (such as on enchiladas or potatoes).   I am also using more milk because it makes much better tasting yogurt cheese (like cream cheese)-a new family favorite.

I'll begin with the basics, then give more details on how I make it using powdered milk.
Update:  I now only make it with whole milk and it is so yummy!

1.  Heat milk to 180 F.
2.  Lower temperature of milk to about 115.
3.  Add yogurt with live cultures.
4.  Keep milk between 90-115 for 6-12 hours. The idea here is to allow the healthy bacteria to multiply (pleasant thought!).  If the temperature is lower than this, the bacteria will stop multiplying.  If the temperature is too high, the bacteria will be killed.
5.  Refrigerate yogurt for 8 hours.
6.  Enjoy!

Plain Yogurt

8 cups water
powdered milk to reconstitute water, plus a little more (2 cups from Home Storage Center)
1/4 cup plain yogurt with live cultures (store bought or saved from a previous batch)

1,  Heat water in a crockpot on high for 1 hour.  Stir in powdered milk; mix well.  Heat on low for 1/2 hour.  Temperature of milk should now be 180.  If too low, keep heating.
2.  When milk reaches 180, unplug crockpot.  Cool for about 2 hours, or until milk reaches about 115.  Update: To ensure thick yogurt, don't add the yogurt until the milk has lowered to 110 degrees.
3.  Stir in yogurt.
4.  Wrap crockpot in a towel or two to insulate.  Allow to sit for 6+ hours, until the yogurt is firm.  (Sometimes I let it sit for nearly 20 hours.  This is okay, because yogurt is cultured.  It won't hurt you to eat yogurt that's sat out for a day.)
5.  Scoop yogurt into containers.  (You may have some watery looking substance at the very top, or the bottom may not be quite as solid as the rest.  This is okay.  The watery substance at the top is whey.  If you don't want to eat it, add it to your bread, or save it to soak your oatmeal.)  Be sure to scoop 1/2-1 cup into a separate container to use as the starter for your next batch.  Refrigerate for at least 6-12 hours before eating.

I have made this recipe about once each week for about 6 months without having any botched batches.  If you have problems let me know, so I can help troubleshoot.

Update:  Click Here for Directions on how to make your yogurt thicker.