Friday, January 15, 2010

My First Attempt at Homemade Yogurt

I have seen many "recipes" for making homemade yogurt, but just wasn't sure which one to try.  A friend on facebook posted that she was having homemade yogurt for breakfast, so I asked her which recipe she uses, and she sent me to some videos on You Tube.  I'm so glad that she did because it turned out wonderful, and it was EASY.  Check these out:
Homemade Yogurt Making Part 1
Homemade Yogurt Making Part 2

And, I haven't made this yet, but it looks easy so I will probably be making it soon: Yogurt Cheese

A few questions that I asked my friend before I made the yogurt were:

Why heat it to 180 degrees?  Doesn't that pasteurize it?  Isn't that what we're trying to avoid?
She said that it does sort of pasteurize it, but it doesn't turn out as well if you don't heat it to 180.  When you add the yogurt to it, it adds good bacteria so it's fine.  She said that she tried just heating it to 120, and it was watery when she finished... so, I just did it as the directions said to.

How long do I let it sit?  I don't want it to be sour.
The longer you let it sit, the more sour it is.  So, I made mine in the evening and let it sit all night.  When I got up in the morning I stirred it and put it in the refrigerator.  It came out great.  It was NOT sour.  Some people let it sit for up to 18 hours and it turns out fine, just a little more sour.  Really, the longer you let it sit the more good bacteria there is, but I just don't like sour yogurt :).

Do you have to buy the yogurt culture, or does it work with just a plain yogurt.  If so, how much do I use?

You don't have to use a yogurt culture.  She used Dannon yogurt, and I actually ended up using one that is made in Austin: White Mountain Bulgarian Yogurt.  This yogurt says on the jar that it's a good one to use as a starter for homemade yogurt.  I used a tablespoon full and just stirred it in real good. In the future I will use a tablespoon from the previous batch.

Here are the steps, written:
  • Pour two quarts of milk in a saucepan
  • Heat slowly to 180 degrees (I just used a plain old kitchen thermometer)- bring to the point just before it boils
  • Let it cool to 120 degrees
  • Boil water, use it to heat up the jars and the cooler
  • Pour water out
  • Place towel in the bottom of cooler
  • Pour warm milk into 1 quart jars
  • Mix a tablespoon of plain yogurt into each jar
  • Place in cooler, color with several towels
  • Let it sit for 8-12 hours
  • After it sits, stir, and place in refrigerator
There are many ways to eat homemade yogurt.  Some people just eat it plain.  That wouldn't work for me or the kids, so I experimented.  I added agave nectar and real vanilla to it, and it is YUMMY.  Some other natural sweeteners that you could add are maple or raw honey.  You can also add blueberries, strawberries, bananas, etc.  You can eat it with homemade granola.  It's very good and good for you!!


nicole said...

When Abby was about 8 months old I wanted to try yogurt w/ her and the only whole milk yogurt I could find at our small HEB was the Blue Mountain stuff. I didn't realize it was for making your own and that it was so tart! Abby made some awful faces and so did I. I bought the Agave Nectar and it worked great!!

Lainie said...

Way to go. I used to make my yogurt this way, until I stumbled across the natural cookbook "Nourishing Traditions." You might enjoy it. I made cream cheese and whey the other day by simply mixing some nonhomogenized milk with a couple of tblsp of yogurt and leaving it in a jar for 24 hours. Then I strained the whey out through one of those Gerber Birdseye diapers that I got at a baby shower but are too thin to actually use as diapers. It's fantastic! I'm off to get some bagels today.
Love your blog. And the music!