Sunday, May 20, 2012
Making your own yogurt is easier than you think
This weekend is a long weekend here in Canada known as Victoria Day weekend, with Monday being a holiday. It's going to be sunny with temps in the high 20's C (85 F) all weekend. Perfect weather for a ride on the city bike trails! I hope we can find time to go out again tomorrow. We have some lovely bike trails that stretch the length of the city and we try to take advantage of them as much as we can.
Weekends I have more time for cooking and one thing I like to do is make my own yogurt. It really is quite easy if you have a yogurt maker. I love the one I have! It's a Miracle Milk Carton Yogurt Maker. There are ways to make yogurt without a yogurt maker using the oven, slow cooker or a cooler but I have never tried them.
The only yogurt I eat is plain and unsweetened (preferably organic) pro-biotic yogurt. It's really tangy and can be an acquired taste. I eat it an average of 5 days a week for breakfast with some fresh fruit and a sprinkle of granola for added crunch and sweetness. Yum! Besides being a complete protein yogurt with active cultures promotes good gut health (by creating balanced microflora in the intestines) and bowel regularity. It may also help to prevent osteoporosis, cancer, and high blood pressure.
The equipment: 2 quart saucepan, stainless steel whisk, candy thermometer, yogurt maker
The ingredients: one quart of organic whole milk, 1/4 cup organic pro-biotic yogurt, 1/4 cup powdered milk
You can use 2%, 1%, or skim milk but it will be thinner. I use whole milk because it's less processed than milk with the fat removed. Be sure to use a plain, unsweetened yogurt with active bacteria cultures, and make sure it does not have gelatin or other thickeners in it. There are many good quality organic yogurts available so pick one that you like the taste of to start your colony. It's not necessary to add the powdered milk, but the addition of these milk solids helps to make it thicker.
I have never found it necessary to sterilize the equipment/utensils used in making yogurt but you will want to make sure they are clean and free of anything that would contaminate or interrupt the fermentation process. Heat the milk over med-high to a temperature of 180 F stirring frequently to prevent a skin from forming. Remove from heat and allow to cool to 115F. Once cooled, mix about a cup of the cooled milk together with the yogurt starter and the powdered milk if using, and then mix it back into the rest of the milk. It's now ready to put into your yogurt maker following manufacturers instructions. With my yogurt maker I just have to pour it back into the milk carton, stand it in the machine and leave it for 8-12 hours.
The finished product:
Sorry about the poor quality of the photo, but you can see that it did turn out quite thick.
With bananas and granola. Breakfast is served!