Thursday, February 7, 2008

Yogurt Making!!!

I love yogurt! I can't tell you how much I love yogurt... especially Greek style, or super thick, whole milk yogurt that you need to skim the cream off the top. Delicious! I don't drink milk at all, so yogurt and cheese are my calcium staples (and some occasional ice cream, as any good Norwegian gal living in Lancaster County would agree and subscribe to as a necessary part of any healthy diet!). Anyways, I eat so much yogurt, that I really thought I should be making my own. We buy organic yogurt, and try to buy it locally, but how much more organic AND local could it get if I'm making it in my own kitchen. Of course the problem is that I don't have a cow or a goat in my back yard, so I actually have to purchase milk, but at least we're trying! I'm not sure what people would say about a cow in city limits...
Tim and I researched several web sites last night so we'd know how to best prepare our first batch of yogurt. My parents had a yogurt maker (Big Batch) that they got probably in the early 70's but haven't used for YEARS, so they gave it to us. Yippee!
We learned that it's best (and I think so far we agree, even if it's just our first batch) to use Stonyfield's Organic Whole Milk yogurt as a starter and whole milk to get the batch going. The Big Batch makes 2 quarts of yogurt at a time, which I probably go through in about a week. So, I poured a half gallon of whole milk into a large pot, and brought to a boil, and took it off the heat when it hit 185 degrees. The longer part of the process is letting it cool down, which took some patience, but we eventually got it to 110 degrees, when we knew we could add the other ingredients. Some sources we read said that you could immerse your pot in the sink with cold water to speed up the process, but then sometimes it goes too fast, so you really have to watch. We just continued to stir until we got it to the right temp, then added 1/2 cup of yogurt and 1/3 powdered milk, which we read would help it to be thicker. We transferred it to the Big Batch when it was all mixed together, and plugged it in to let it incubate over night. We are fans of tangy and tart yogurt, so we let it incubate about 11 hours. You can do it for shorter periods of time if you like a milder flavor. And that was it! This AM, I transferred my 2 quarts of yogurt to glass containers to put in the fridge. I happened to sneak a taste by licking my fingers at the end, and it seemed great! The consistency and the flavor seemed right on, which makes me oh! so happy!!!

In summary, it was super easy and all we used were the following ingredients:
  • One-half gallon of whole milk
  • 1/2 cup of whole milk plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup of powdered milk
Hooray for yogurt and hooray for the Big Batch Yogurt Maker that still works some 30+ years later. Thanks, mom! :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've been hauling my abandoned Big Batch Yogurt Maker from moves state to state for 30 years. I dug it out of the closet, neglected and forlorn. Lately, we've been eating a lot of yogurt and I decided "what the heck." Dig her out. Just needed a refresher on how to make a creamy batch.

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