Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Making Homemade Yogurt

I have to preface this post by saying that making yogurt is not at all complicated, and if this makes it look like it might be, that's just because I like to take a lot of pictures.  And complicate things.

This is my method for making yogurt using my Excalibur Dehydrator.  You certainly don't need a dehydrator to make yogurt though, and I'll address other options later.

I made a quart of yogurt when I took these pictures.  Sometimes I also make two quarts at a time.  You can use regular milk from the grocery store.  We drink skim, so that's what I use for yogurt, and it works fine.  If you'd like it richer, just use a higher fat content milk.  Do make sure that the milk is not ultra heat pastuerized.  This is done a lot to organic milk, but some other milk UHP as well.  It's a high heat processing that changes the milk to the point where the yogurt culture won't be able to grow in it.
Whisk in 1/2 a cup of dry milk powder for each quart of milk.  This provides more protien and makes a thicker, less watery yogurt.
Bring this mixture to a boil, making sure to whisk often so the milk won't scald on the bottom of the pan.

I line my clean jars up, and pour boiling water into them while the milk comes up to a boil.  I also pour boiling water over all the utensils that I'll be using.  I have so many jars here because I was making indivual serving jars.  I've recently just started using quart jars, since it's much easier, and Ben wasn't actually using the jars for serving and eating.
After the milk has come to a boil, take it off the heat and let it rest, until it comes back down to 120 degrees.
When the milk is at 120 degrees, whisk a large spoonful of yogurt into a ladle full of the warm milk.  Then pour this into the remaining milk in the pot, and whisk this to combine well.  Dump out the hot water, and ladle the milk mixture into the jars, capping them finger tight. 
These then go somewhere where they can maintain a temperature of 115 degrees for 4-8 hours.  I use my dehydrator for this, but you could also use an oven with the pilot light lit, a cooler filled with hot water, or as Alton Brown does, a heating pad wrapped around a jar and insulated by towels.

These jars are filled halfway because I wanted to leave room for the toppings, considering I was going for an individual serving type of thing here.  I thought that was a pretty good idea, but Ben sometimes wanted more or less yogurt, so it was easier to go to big jars and just scoop from them.
But the individual serving jars all topped up did make for a pretty picture!

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Mrs. Mordecai said...

Thanks so much for posting this. It looks so yummy! I kind of like the idea of getting a food dehydrator to do it all instead of two separate appliances.

Bethany said...

I absolutely love my Excalibur dehydrator. I know they're expensive, but if you have the money, they are absolutely worth it if you eat lots of dried foods or have a harvest to dry. It's so great how much it can hold.

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