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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Teach Me Tuedays: Making Homemade Yogurt-2nd Time around Homemade Yogurt:

Making Yogurt with Store Bought Yogurt as a Starter

I have had some ppl voice their concerns about making yogurt at home and I have done so much reading and research from various web sites and books-
basically yogurt is created using "helpful" bacteria (usually lactobacillus bulgaricus & streptococcus thermophilus), found in Dannon PLAIN, which will cause the WHOLE milk to ferment.

For all the science behind what these particular HELPFUL BACTERIA do to the WHOLE milk check the blog below!

Before pasteurization and refrigeration, this was the only way to make milk last longer !!!
I find this  homemade yogurt to be more like a Keifer than a thick yogurt. Remember that MOST STORE BOUGHT YOGURTS use pectins and other such additives to thicken. IF you want a thicker yogurt, after making use a mesh strainer lined with cheese clothe or a coffee filter and place over a bowl in fridge. The Whey will strain off and make a thicker yogurt. Don't waste the "whey", use it to ferment veggies, add to lemonade (MY personal fav!), this is good stuff!!

2nd Time around Homemade Yogurt:
I learned some things from the last time I attempted making yogurt at home from a yogurt starter.
  • If you hold the WHOLE milk at 185°F for 30 minutes, you will get a thicker consistency-just read that, only held that temp for minutes, if it doesn't get thick this time I will remember to hold 185 for 30 min next time.
  • Make sure house is not colder than 68- ideal temp is 70-72. Too cold temps won't allow the starter to ferment the WHOLE milk into yogurty loveliness!
  • Allowing the  starter to sit 9-12 hours-is the stage of tanginess I like!
  • Just found out about using the lactobacillus bulgaricus & streptococcus thermophilus cultures, the yogurt I used doesn't have those 2 listed, so if you are going to make a yogurt with the thought of having a "mother starter" you need to check the ingredients for these 2, apparently Dannon's Plain Yogurt is the one that contains this strain, not a fan of the way that way one tastes will check other brands to see if they contain these 2. UPDATE: Wasn't an issue-  it tasted fine!
  • Place yogurt in the coldest part of your refrigerator and wait overnight, for a tastier and thicker yogurt.~THE BACK OF THE FRIDGE!
  • The recipe I initially used called for 1/2C yogurt & for the one I have seen from a very reputable home yogurt maker uses 2-3T of starter. It was just fine with only 2-3T, I do this now.
  • Take 2-3T from your container right away so the starter doesn't die off if you wait too long and if you aren't going to be making yogurt within 5 days- freeze your starter. Just thaw in fridge overnight and proceed with the recipe as usual. I do this all the time, not an issue!
  • USE WHOLE MILK! Lower fat milk didn't give me a good result.
  Now the recipe I use (From Web site Below):
  • 1/2 gallon of WHOLE milk (The amount of  WHOLE milk you use, is the amount of yogurt you will make so use what your family will gobble up!)
  • 2-3 Tbs of plain Dannon yogurt (as a starter)
  • 1 8-10 Qt stock pot
  • 1 4-5 Qt pot with lid
  • 1 Metal or plastic spoon (NO WOODEN SPOONS!)
  • 1 candy thermometer with clip
  • 1 Heating pad (can be replaced by a hotplate)

Milk as it starts to cook, notice the bubbles are starting to get @ 130 degrees   

Heat the WHOLE milk to reach 185°F  this temp will kill any bacteria- stir constantly.

Helpful Hints:
•While you are waiting for the milk to reach 185°F, fill your sink about 1/4 of the way with cold water. You know- while your stirring the yogurt at the same time, you can do this! :-)
•For your final trick...Add some ice to the sink water.

Notice the the texture of the milk @185 degrees

This took about 10-15 min over med heat, if you do this method you need to constantly stir so you don't scald the WHOLE milk.

If you do not have a thermometer, this is also the temperature that milk will begin to froth, like in a latte.

Once the temp heats to 185 degrees- keep the WHOLE milk at this temp for 30 min, Haven't tried this method yet.UPDATE: Did try and it helps slightly, enough that I do it every time now.

Cool to WHOLE milk to 108°F -110°F . 
This is the temperature where you get to  
start the yogurt magic. 
(For reasons behind this phenomenon check the blog below)

Slowly & Carefully place the pan of WHOLE milk into the sink that has been filled with ice water.  The level of cold water in the sink REALLY needs to be pretty much even with the level of WHOLE milk in the pot.- I waited for the WHOLE milk to cool on its own, with the thought that yogurt likes to be still and undisturbed about 10-15 min and I also stirred occasionally to help cool, pretty much same results.

Adding the yogurt starter

Pour your 2-3 Tbs of yogurt into your 110°F milk.
Helpful Hints:
•Again, if this is your first batch, use only Dannon plain yogurt. All
future batches you will make using your own.

Yogurt all warm and cozy
The 7+ Hour Wait
After stirring you need to leave the yogurt undisturbed and warm for at least 7 hours!  I used a corner of my stove top &  turned the hood light on. (I know seems scary, but that back burner doesn't work)

Stir WHOLE milk well to incorporate the yogurt you just added.

I covered with a towel bc of all the blogs I read told me to allow "natural gasses to escape".

**The household temps will affect the yogurt setting up, so be sure to really insulate the yogurt. NOT too hot either or you will kill all that healthy bacteria... Wait at least seven hours to uncover.

What I did to make my own YOGURT MAKER: 

Set heating pad to medium and place on a cutting board or as I did a pizza stone. Place your pot of yogurty goodness on top. I THEN Cover with several towels and blanket to insulate THE PAN and keep  it toasty as my household temps are below 68- I really wrap it up.


Stir, Stir, Stir!!
THE BEST PART!! After waiting at least 7 hours, or in my case 9-12 hours, it's like Christmas time, you get to see what all those patient hours made!!

Remove from heating pad, uncover yogurt,  & use a sterilized spatula/spoon to combine the curds in with liquid.  


IT might look like you did something wrong at first or smell a bit "off" it is normal, all cheese kinda smells off to me anyways...
Helpful Hints:
•Sometimes there might be a strong, cheesy odor, and you might even see some greenish liquid on top. This is ok, it's part of the process and what want to you to see, it freaked me out at first too!
•Really stir it well to incorporate the clumpy curds into any remaining liquid, you DON'T want curds and whey, remember what happened to Little Miss Muffet dontcha?

Almost there!!
Pour YOUR yogurty delicousness into chosen container/s & cover with tight fitting lid/s...You can use any containers that have a GOOD fitting lid and can hold whatever size batch you are making, I sometimes use more than one container.
Helpful Hints:
•Yogurt will be thinner than commercial yogurt, remember they use thickeners plus, your yogurt is not yet in its finished state, see below*

*Once you stir the yogurt like you mean it, quite robustly, you stop the whole process then storing in coldest part of fridge overnight will help thicken it up. Trust me it does help! For the science part check the blog below

& Enjoy all that delicious yogurt that saved you bunches of money & in my personal opinion TASTES wayyy better!!

This blogg "How to make Your Own Yogurt" 
is amazing if you have any in depth questions or want to see more pics, I got a lot of my info from this blog...

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