Do you like and eat yogurt regularly? Do you buy it or make your own? If you buy it, no matter the brand, it's expensive! Did you know you can make it for much less?
Now wait, I forgot something... oh, are you getting plain or flavored yogurt? That will change nutritive value and cost!! Yogurt with out live cultures is junk food, kind of like eating a milk shake with less fat but still lots of sugar. Live cultures make all the difference!
So can you guess my next project in the kitchen? No not canning... no not painting (yet).. no not re-arranging the room.. it's learning to make my own yogurt, yogurt cheese and then make fantasy cheesecake. How will I do this? Well first I am going to buy a tub of greek plain yogurt and a tub of Nancy's plain yogurt. I am also going to get some 2% milk from the grocery and if possible some raw milk. Then the experiment will start.
Make sure all your equipment is CLEAN!! Yogurt culture is like sourdough culture (starter) and it is effected by natural molds in the air.. OK, we'll need a glass quart jar with lid; candy thermometer; yogurt starter (store bought yogurt); cooler; milk (fresh or powdered).. The hardest part about making yogurt is cleaning all the equipment, does that tell you how hard this will be?
First add hot, NOT BOILING, water to your cooler where you are incubating your yogurt so it is nice and warm.
Ok, heat 1 quart (4 cups) milk to 130 degrees F; or heat enough water to fill quart jar 3/4 full to 130 degrees F, then add powdered milk for one quart, then add enough hot or cold water to make one quart of milk. Do not heat above 130 degrees F !!! UNLESS you are using RAW milk, then heat to 164 degrees, then cool as below.
Cool to 105 to 110 degrees.
ADD 2 HEAPING tablespoons of yogurt to jar.
Stir it in until it is dissolved in milk.
Let sit 12 - 18 hours. IF not thick enough or sour enough, let it sit in warm place a bit longer.
Refrigerate or eat warm.
Yogurt can be frozen. To use as a starter for next batch, put in ice cube trays and measure out 2 TBS. Pull a cube out and defrost for next batch :)
IF a layer of white mold grows on your yogurt, you can skim off that mold and use the yogurt in baking recipes. ONLY the top layer was contaminated as mold only grows where it has access to air.
I have made both yogurts, using the powdered milk recipe and the grocery milk recipe. It works!! and it is good! I put my jars in a cooler that had been warmed with hot water and drained just before I added the yogurt jars. I also put warmed towels in there and wrapped the closed coolers in towels and blankets. I am very happy with the results! I also made the yogurt cheese, but I will have to make more before I have enough to make the cheesecake :)
Place yogurt on a piece of cheesecloth (not the cheap stuff you find in grocery stores, a 90 ct. muslin (butter muslin) or cheesecloth with a fine mesh). Draw the sides of the cheesecloth up to make a bag and hang the bag over a container overnight. What drips out is "whey", as in the Little Miss Muffett story. You figure out what to do with that (try using it in baking)! What's left is yogurt cheese. It has the consistency of cream cheese and can be used as a cream cheese. Try doctoring it up with garlic or chives or even pineapple. It's a great spread for crackers or bread.