In our effort to constantly become healthier we are also working on being more self-sufficient. In the next five years we will only be buying minimal foods from the grocery store, and our majority of food will come from the plants we grow, and the animals that we raise. Along with this mentality comes the need to be able to make more of our own foods, and buy less of the processed stuff. I have to admit that some recipes sound daunting, and just down right terrifying, but each time I decide to tackle a new one I am pleasantly surprised at the ease, and that the fear of trying something new was all in my head. There are times when I think cooks try to make recipes sound harder than they really are just to make it appear that their culinary skills are superior. I won’t do that. If something is easy, I am ALL FOR IT! 😉
This weekend I finally decided to tackle homemade yogurt, and I used The Crumb Blog for helpful tips, and hints. After doing a lot of research I found that with the tools I have, or the lack there of, her method was the absolute easiest. (Although I changed one thing in the recipe, and had to modify some of the instructions.) I went into this adventure 100% sure that I would end up with clumpy milk when all was said and done, or I would get food poisoning. To my surprise, and absolute delight, neither happened! Not only is this a healthier form of yogurt, but it is so much cheaper! I usually eat Greek yogurt, and hubby eats regular yogurt, but with this recipe you can make either. If you are going in the Greek direction you will have a smaller yield, and will need to incubate it longer. I actually enjoyed the mild taste and am totally happy with it, but will try a longer incubation next time just to see how the taste changes.
Are you scared yet? Words like incubation, yield, YOGURT! 😉 There are literally just a few steps to making yogurt, and the process couldn’t be easier. I want to give the crockpot method a try, but mine is no longer with us. But as soon as I get a new one, I am going to give it a shot. I found that you almost can’t mess this up unless you let it get really cold. I had periodically been warming the oven every couple hours through the day for about 5 minutes, and then when we went hiking on Sunday I totally forgot I had it in the oven. On the way to the park I couldn’t remember if I had left the oven ON the last time I heated the oven, or off. Luckily it was off or it would have killed all the good bacteria, and possibly burnt to the bottom. Then after we got home I check it and it was firm, but I wanted to let it sit a little longer and ended up heating a rice sock and putting it around the bottom of the bowl in the microwave while I made dinner in the oven. What I’m saying is, as long as you keep the bowl warm, it should work! So, throw some yogurt in the oven, and sit back, relax, and enjoy!
Have you ever made yogurt before?
Any tips or tricks that you found useful?
By Angie Gouchenour
4 cups WHOLE milk
¼ cup plain yogurt with active cultures (I used Fage)
In a sauce pan heat, the milk over medium heat until it comes to a boil, stirring occasionally
Simmer for about 5 minutes stirring constantly. You don’t want the milk to scorch
Remove the milk from the burner and let sit for about 15-20 minutes until it cools enough to be able to place a finger in the milk without being burned
Preheat the oven to the lowest setting you have. (I put mine on 250’ for about 5 minutes or so. You want the oven to be about 100-150’f). Then turn it off.
If you have an oven safe/stove top safe pan great! If you are like me, you will have to transfer the milk to another dish. (I used a metal mixing bowl.) I placed the bowl in the oven to preheat along with the oven.
Take half of the starter yogurt and rub it on the inside of the bowl to help start the culturing. Stir the other half of the yogurt into the cooled milk. Remove the skin from the milk before pouring it into the bowl. Cover the bowl with foil, and place it on a cookie sheet in the oven
I checked my oven randomly every couple of hours just to see if it was staying warm, and would turn it back on for a few minutes if I felt it wasn’t, but like I mentioned we left for three hours and the bowl was still nice and warm when we got home even though the oven wasn’t
I let mine incubate for 7 hours, but if you want a tangier yogurt you can leave it longer. It was already set around 5 hours when I checked it. (Some people leave it for 12-15 hours over night)
Make sure to set aside ¼ cup of yogurt for your next batch!
You can strain the yogurt with cheesecloth, or a thin rag, for several hours if you would like to make it thicker, but you lose quite a bit of the yogurt that way. Before straining the yogurt is the consistency of pudding. I did strain this batch, but I doubt I will again
Modified from The Crumb Blog