Who Else Wants Easy to Make Homemade Yogurt?
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One of my first adventures with trying to make new foods was homemade yogurt. Something that was easy to make at home. I had never heard of making yogurt, I just knew where to get it at the grocery store. Then I learned that yogurt is a great probiotic if it is made at home and fermented correctly. So, I thought I would give it a try so I could use it in my smoothies. I love smoothies! I eat them almost daily. Yogurt can be made with different kinds of milk, but I started out with organic pasteurized cow’s milk from the grocery store. Then I went to our local health foods store to buy a yogurt starter. I found it in the fridge section and it came in powdered form.
How to Make the Yogurt
Now let’s get started on making the yogurt! The process isn’t too tough, it just takes some patience. When using pasteurized milk, it first needs to be heated and cooled before adding the starter. When heating the milk, you can put it in a pan on top of the stove and turn on the burner. The recipe calls for 1 liter (4.2 cups) of milk for one of the starter packages. Don’t heat the milk too quickly. The milk needs to be heated to just below boiling point, 180 degrees Fahrenheit or 82 degrees Celsius. Once it gets to that temperature, put the lid on the pan then put the pan in the sink that is filled with cold water. I have a hole in the top of my lid, so I stick the thermometer in there so I know the temperature the whole time. Stir the milk occasionally, until it has cooled to the range of 110 – 115 degrees Fahrenheit (43 – 46 degrees Celsius). When the milk has reached that temperature, remove it from the sink and add the starter.
Adding the Starter
There are two different ways to do the starter. My first batch of yogurt needs the starter to get started. I take about ½ cup of milk and mix the powder starter in there. Once it is mixed well I use that as my starter to stir in with the milk that has been cooled. After making yogurt one time, all I need for the second batch of yogurt is 1/3 cup of the previous yogurt as my starter for the next batch. It is great how it can keep going! The beneficial bacteria will continue to work for quite a few batches of yogurt! But make sure to save 1/3 cup from each batch, sometimes I wait until the end to see if there is enough and it is almost all eaten. I will keep an extra 1/3 cup of yogurt in a smaller canning jar in the fridge for my next batch. That works well.
Once the starter is mixed in with the milk it is time to ferment! Make sure to place the milk with the starter in a glass or pyrex container. It is best to be able to ferment the yogurt for 24 hours, but some do not take as long. One way to ferment the yogurt is with a yogurt maker. This is the one I bought on Amazon and it was amazing! The yogurt came out perfect every time! It was a thick consistency just like buying it at the store.
One benefit of using the yogurt maker, it is one consistent thickness all the way through. Just read the directions on the machine to see how long it needs to ferment. I could do it for 24 hours with this machine. The only thing I didn’t like about this machine is it only made yogurt and I wanted to be able to make Keifer as well. It is similar to yogurt but ferments at lower temperatures.
Another way I have made yogurt is with the bread proofer. Have you heard of this before? This was new to me. I have not yet made any bread with yeast, so I did now know to look at a bread proofer, but the bread proofer can do much more than help bread rise. This machine keeps everything in it at a constant temperature for as long as you want. One of my friends, Christine Kangas, discovered this and I had to get one! Good thing I had Amazon to buy it from!
For yogurt, it needs to be at two different temperatures for different amounts of time. Start out at 120 degrees for one hour. Then lower the temperature to 86 degrees for 1-3 hours or until the yogurt is set. When I put the yogurt in there, I put it in a pyrex container with the lid on there. And when fermenting yogurt, don’t put the pyrex container in the middle of the bread proofer, put it in a corner. Also, do not add any water to the little tin water container. It needs to stay dry for yogurt making.
I like the bread proofer over the yogurt maker because it can also make Keifer and many other things. The bread proofer also gives the options to ferment the yogurt in a glass/pyrex container over plastic. Many yogurt makers ferment the yogurt in plastic and the chemicals from the plastic may get into the yogurt. The bread proofer is spendy but worth the money! I use it at least once a week. I use it to make kefir, sour cream, melt chocolate, and many other things. It can also rise bread.
The Fermenting Process
After waiting for the desired amount of time for the machine you chose to use, the yogurt should be done! It is supposed to be put in the fridge to sit for 8 hours before using it so the bacteria can quit fermenting. Then you can use it! I use mine for smoothies most of the time. My kids like to eat it plain. It is different than store-bought yogurt, so don’t be expecting it to be sweet. I need to add honey or maple syrup when I eat it plain and add some granola on top! And note that this is a fermented food, so the first time eating it your body may not be used to it. So, start with a little bit and if your body does fine, have more the next day. I hope you are able to make yogurt the first time and enjoy it!
- Yogurt starter, bread proofer or the yogurt maker, milk (cows), pan and lid, thermometer, liquid measuring cup.
- 1 liter of milk
- 1/3 cup starter or 1 packet of starter
Raw Unpasteurized Milk
Using raw unpasteurized milk for yogurt can be tricky. Since the raw milk has live cultures in it, the live cultures in the milk have to compete with the live cultures of the yogurt started and the results are inconsistent. With the uncertainty of results, it discourages some people to keep trying. Don’t stop! You will get there.
There are two ways to make yogurt with raw milk. The first way is the same as the pasteurized milk except the heating of the milk. You can skip the heating step altogether or only heat the milk up to 110 degrees, the temperature it ferments at. This will make yogurt within 8-24 hours and it will be runnier. This can be fermented in an Instant Pot with the yogurt button or in a bread proofer set at 110 degrees.
If you want a thicker yogurt then gelatin needs to be added to the raw milk. When I make the thicker yogurt I use my Instant Pot. I still use 1 liter of milk and ⅓ cup of previous yogurt for starter or 1 packet of starter powder. I take 1 cup of milk and pour it into the Instant Pot and press the yogurt button and go to the boil setting by pressing the adjust button. Let the milk heat up a little bit and pour 1/2 Tbs of gelatin in there. Let it heat up until the gelatin is fully dissolved. Then turn off the boil setting by hitting the cancel button. Then press yogurt again and hit adjust until the time is set for 24 hours. Pour the rest of the milk in there and add the starter. Make sure to stir in the starter well. Then put on the lid and seal it.
The next day when the 24 hours is up, take the metal pot out and cover, then put in the fridge for another 24 hours. This will help the yogurt to get firm. There will be a thick layer of film on top of the yogurt. This can be eaten, but I don’t think it tastes very good. I just scrape it off the top and throw it away. Then the yogurt is ready to eat!
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