Making Homemade Yogurt

M

MrsPinecone

Guest
One way to extend the shelf life of milk is to make yogurt. Once you try the homemade stuff, you'll never want the commercial stuff again!! You can avoid all of the preservatives, artificial colors and sweeteners. You can also use up some of the jam or fruit that you canned to flavor it.

This method is my new favorite way to make yogurt. It is easy, easy, easy and has not failed me yet!!

This recipe yields approximately 9 cups plus enough to start your next batch.

1 half gallon milk
1 commercial yogurt or powdered starter
Optional: nonfat dried milk

Place milk in a heavy bottomed pan. If you are using a low-fat milk, you can whisk in 1/4-1/3 cup dried milk to obtain a thicker result. Heat gently until it reaches 180 degrees F. Remove from heat and let cool until it reaches 110 degrees F. You can speed this up by placing it into an ice bath, but it's not necessary. Once it reaches the right temperature, whisk the starter into the milk.

At this point, you will transfer the milk into the containers in which you culture it. I use half-pint canning jars with the reusable plastic lids so that I don't have to scoop out portions from a larger container. If you want to do it in quart jars, that's fine, too.

Place the jars into a cooler that has been filled with hot water at 120-125 degrees F. The water should reach about 3/4 of the way up the sides of the jars. Put the lid on the cooler, set a timer for 6 hours and walk away. You can go longer, but 6 hours makes a nice yogurt. Place in the fridge to stop the culture and enjoy your yogurt!

Remember to save about 4 tablespoons from each batch to culture the next. After about 5 batches you will need to start over with a new commercial yogurt or packet of starter.

Milk is on sale here this week for $2.28/gallon. Half of that is $1.14 + $.79 for a commercial starter = $1.93
This recipe yields the equivalent of 10 x 6oz commerical yogurts, which works out to $.19 each. It will be even cheaper with subsequent batches.
 
C

clippyclippy

Guest
Thank you for this!
My mom used to make yogurt, and it was just so yummy! She would use whole milk. I never liked store bought until I discovered the greek style. I think that is closer to what she made (hers was still better!)
I think I may give this a try.
 
M

MrsPinecone

Guest
I like whole milk best, but adding a bit of powdered milk to lower fat kinds helps to make a thicker product. To get really thick like commercial Greek yogurt, you can put it into a coffee filter and drain off some of the whey.
 

vica

Well-Known Member
Trader Group
I use microwave to speed it up and avoid milk sticking to the pan. Making yogurt every time i can get a marked down organic gallon at Kroger. If its 1-2 days to expiration i ask them to mark it down.
 
M

MrsPinecone

Guest
How long does it take in the microwave (and for how much milk)?
 

vica

Well-Known Member
Trader Group
It depends on the amount and the power of your microwave - you will have to watch it the first time to figure out how many minutes. You stop it before boiling, when small bubbles start to show up on the sides. I Use Pyrex glass bowl, its about 1/2 gallon and takes 12 minutes. I used to do it in a smaller bowl - 8 min. If you do it in a bowl leave it in a microwave to cool down b/c its difficult to handle a bowl full of hot milk.

After adding a starter i use oven for a warm place needed for fermentation. i warm it to 180F, turn it off and place yogurt in it for 6-8 hours. When the oven cools down i turn it up on min temp (170F in my oven) for a few minutes to warm it up.

This just simplifies the whole process.

How long does it take in the microwave (and for how much milk)?
 
M

MrsPinecone

Guest
That's what I love about the cooler method. No babysitting. :)
 
M

MrsPinecone

Guest
A friend and I are trying to knock off a yogurt whose name starts with N and ends with -oosa. We can't find a recipe online, which is really rather shocking. We're monkeying around with adding gelatin, pectin and milk powder to whole milk. She wasn't totally happy with her first try (1 tsp gelatin, 1/4 cup dry milk, 1 tsp Pomona pectin to 1 quart milk), so I am giving it a go.

I used 1/2 gallon of whole milk, 1 tsp of plain Knox gelatin, 1/2 cup of the commercial yogurt in question as a starter and 1/4 cup local honey to sweeten. I'm using my cooler method as described in the OP. I put about 6 oz in each of 11 8 oz canning jars with plastic lids for individual servings.

We'll see in the morning how it turns out.

Results: tasty, slightly sweet to balance the tang. Texture is puddingy, but bordering on the gelatinous (drips off the spoon are kind of goopy). I think next batch I will use 3/4 tsp of gelatin and some no-sugar pectin.
 
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M

MrsPinecone

Guest
My friend and I have found a couple of references for higher, longer heating to make "custard style" yogurt, which is what we're aiming for.

Last night's batch was:
4 cups whole milk
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
1/4 cup commercial -oosa starter
1/2 tsp gelatin

4 cups milk, sprinkle gelatin on cold milk, heat to 195 and hold it there for 10 min. Cool to 110, whisk in starter. Split evenly between 6 half-pint canning jars and incubate at 120 overnight.

This is getting MUCH closer, but is still a teeeeeeny bit grainy. I think I am going to hunt down the Pomona pectin and actually use that. It's one of the ingredients on the commercial yogurt list.
 
M

MrsPinecone

Guest
OK, things we are learning by many trials and much error:
* Bring milk to a higher temp than we used to -- 195 degrees vs 180 degrees
* Hold it at the higher temp for 10 min vs starting to cool immediately. This helps to denature the proteins, leading to a creamier yogurt
* Don't stir it while it's holding -- too much stirring leads to grainy yogurt. You will end up with an almost burned crust on the bottom of the pan, but you need to.
* Starter needs to be fairly fresh. Older starter also leads to grainy yogurt.
* Too much starter also leads to grainy yogurt.
* Current trials are 4 cups milk, 1/2 tsp gelatin, 1/4 tsp pectin, 2 tbsp starter, around 8-10 hours incubation.

I am making another batch tonight, so we shall see what the changes do.
 
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