Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A guide to making your own yogurt

I’m sure just a few generations ago, everyone made their own yogurt. It certainly isn’t difficult. I wonder whether the milkman used to bring it in glass jars. But as I mentioned in an earlier post, now most people think nothing of buying new plastic tubs weekly and tossing the empties into the recycling.

For my yogurt maker (Deni 5600 1-Quart Electric), I take 3.5 cups milk (skim or 2%, organic or not, whatever we have that day), heat to boiling, cool to room temperature*, add ½ cup plain yogurt, and pour into the 6 jars in the yogurt maker. The timer dings when it’s ready (I set it to 10 hours), and the yogurt must cool completely in the fridge before consumption.

Our jars are roughly the size of the tall Gerber baby food jars, so I use those when I need a few extra jars. Unfortunately, they are a touch too tall, so I can only use them in the middle two slots. The lids sort of pop on, not screw on, so I wouldn’t trust them in a lunchbag. In fact, if I had it to do over, I’d probably just go with a larger container-style maker. (like this one, maybe: Salton YM9 1-Quart)

Tips:

  1. You can purchase yogurt starter, but it makes a lot more economic sense to just use some yogurt from the store. Make sure it is unfavored and says “live active cultures” on the package.
  2. After the first time you can obviously keep using some of the results for future batches. Or start over with another kind, if you want to continue experimentation. You little scientist you.
  3. Don’t overpay for your machine. All it is doing is heating the milk for a few hours at some ideal temperature. It’s not rocket science.
  4. Use your yogurt in place of (or mixed with) sour cream on baked potatoes, Mexican dishes, in dips, etc.
  5. Make a Greek-style dessert with your yogurt, honey, and walnuts.
  6. Use fresh or frozen berries on top! The kids love it, and I’m not even adding sugar.

Which reminds me, Boo doesn't drink milk, so I consider yogurt a necessary staple of her diet. I mean, the kid can't live off sour cream alone. Or shouldn't, anyway.

* I find the brisk Midwestern winter helpful in this regard. 30 minutes in a snowbank is just about right. You sad little people without snowbanks can just use the fridge.

5 comments:

arlopop said...

Hey - thank you. This is now another kitchen task for my list. um, what's up with Boo and milk?

Bluestem said...

Boo takes after her mother, who has been loathing milk for at least 36 years now. Milk is disgusting! (Pssst. Don't tell Nea.)

Kate said...

Well, we may not have any snowbanks here, but I wouldn't exactly describe us as sad about it. But I am glad you're putting yours to good use. ;)

Hilts said...

maybe you are a vampire?

bridget said...

I've not done it myself, but I think you can also make yogurt in a crockpot or an well-insulated cooler. For those without a yogurt maker.