Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Yogurt making 101

I make my own yogurt and have done so for about 5 years now so I've pretty much mastered it. Just recently after making a trip to North Carolina the boy and I picked up some 2% fage nonfat greek yogurt and it was amazing. Thick and creamy and very dessert like so I was determined to do the same with my own recipe. I eat a lot of yogurt and I think a lot more than most people, I could be wrong but I really think so. I remember mentioning this to my mother and her telling me that she had recently read that people who eat a lot of yogurt appear to stop having certain allergies due to the live cultures called Lactobacillus (probiotics). I believe this because all of my life I have been allergic to metals touching my skin meaning any jewelry that is not gold or pure silver (the boy still thinks this is a ploy for real gems) but I can remember my poor ears oozing from infection only hours after wearing cheap earrings out for the night or my neck breaking out in itchy hives from a necklace. I would even break out from a metal belt touching my stomach which my youngest has been lucky enough to inherit. My mother handed it down to me. Well I no longer have any aversion to metal which is probably why I am a now a costume jewelry freak and no outfit is complete without lots of bling, the gaudier the better. I believe it is the yogurt and I truly know that my past digestive problems have been taken care of as well by my homemade yogurt.
People find the prospect of making their own yogurt daunting but it's surprisingly easy and really just takes a bit of experimenting with your microwave and yogurt maker to get it perfect. You will get instructions in your maker which can be purchased in either 1 or 2 L containers and then you can make a few changes on your own from there. Most will tell you that it is crucial to get the temp right and how important it is that all utensils that touch it are sterilized but this isn't true. No biggie and once you try your own you will not buy the store stuff again not to mention how much cheaper it is. I estimate that it's a 1/4 the price.

Measure out either 2 cups for 1L or 4 cups seen here for 2L in a microwave safe measuring glass container and microwave to the temperature your maker tells you.

Once your milk has heated to the right temp you can add approx 2/3 cup dried skim milk powder along with about 1/2 cup of of your last homemade yogurt or a store bought brand as long as it has live culture. Stir until dissolved.

Now add mixture to your yogurt maker and let sit for 8-10 hrs after which you will refrigerate until cooled.

If after your yogurt is chilled you would like to make greek yogurt which is simply removing the liquid whey to make a yogurt of 'cream cheese' consistency, just put a coffee filter into a strainer and let your yogurt drain for about 3-4 hrs.

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