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Originally uploaded by theoriginalaliceq
I eat a lot of yoghurt. But I'm picky about my yoghurt. Essentially, the only commercial yoghurt I like is Stonyfield Farms Whole Milk Plain yoghurt (also sold by Trader Joes, with their own label). A 32 oz tub of SF tends to cost $4+. The Trader Joes yoghurt is only $3 per tub, but it's a 30 mile round trip to the nearest store, so it's not so easy to just run out for more yoghurt.

Meanwhile, various friends of mine have posted and blogged about making their own yoghurt, using some commercial, live-culture yoghurt as a starter. So, Thursday night, I gave it a whirl. I started with a quart of whole milk ($1.19 at the supermarket) and the last 1/4 cup of commercial yoghurt. The various web sites that I read made heating the milk seem like a big production, which put me off for a bit, until I realized that nobody has double-boilers anymore. Except me. So, I put the milk in the top part of my double-boiler, heated it to 180°F, let it cool to 110°F, put it in a larger bowl, and mixed in the starter. I had already preheated the oven to 110° and turned it off. So, I put the bowl of yoghurt in the oven, turned on the oven light, and left it to sit overnight.

And, in the morning I had yoghurt. I brought a little cup of yoghurt in to work for my afternoon snack. By mid-afternoon, it had firmed up nicely. And it was delicious.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 13th, 2009 11:48 pm (UTC)
Are there any potential health risks? Because if not, that does have interesting project potential. Especially in a few months when it's time to crank up the ice cream maker again.
Dec. 13th, 2009 11:55 pm (UTC)
The whole heating-then-cooling is supposed to kill off anything in the milk other than the bacteria you want (from the starter). If you use low-fat or skim milk, you can add additional milk powder for body. And you can add sweeteners and flavors. I made plain, since I dig into the same thing of yoghurt for snacks and for cooking.
Dec. 19th, 2009 03:50 am (UTC)
I make yogurt at least once a week, both for me and for the dogs. Here's my routine:

Put 1 quart of milk (I usually use 1%) into a large Pyrex measuring cup.
Whisk in the amount of dry milk powder that would make a pint of milk. (Not necessary if using whole milk, which produces a thicker result.)
Microwave on High for 5 minutes. (It should be steaming but not boiling; adjust to suit the power of your microwave.)
Whisk again.
Microwave on 10% power for 20 minutes.
Let cool for about half an hour, until you can stick a finger in for ten seconds without screaming.
Preheat oven to the lowest it will go (on my oven, that's 170F).
Pour the milk into the old plastic quart yogurt container, which still has some scrapings of yogurt clinging to the walls. Cover.
Half-fill a large stockpot with hot water from the tap.
Place the covered yogurt container in the stockpot; the water should come most of the way up the sides.
Place the stockpot in the oven.
Turn off the oven.
Wait a few hours.

The purpose of the stockpot of water is to maintain a moderately-steady temperature. The purpose of the 5 minutes on high, as you point out, is to kill whatever microorganisms are already in the milk. The purpose of the 20 minutes on 10% (see McGee's On Food and Cooking) is to denature the milk proteins so they thicken better when the lactobacilli start churning out acid.
Dec. 19th, 2009 04:12 am (UTC)
Thanks...I'll have to try this heating sequence, as I'd like to end up with something thicker without resorting to cheesecloth! Mind you, what I have is thickened, but I'd like it still thicker.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )