January 13, 2011

Yogurt Revisited

I was at it again the other evening...attempting to make the perfect homemade yogurt.  I posted the original yogurt recipe I tried HERE.  I tweaked it a bit with some suggestions from Suzanne's blog Chickens in the Road (one of my new favorite blogs!).  I'll post my original recipe, but with the tweaks highlighted (so you'll know what I changed).

Home Made Yogurt (revised)

What you need to gather before you begin:
4-quart crock pot
8 cups (half-gallon) of whole milk -- I used 2% from the store
1/2 cup dry powdered milk  
1 cup store-bought natural, live/active culture plain yogurt (I used 1/2 cup before) (This is your "starter". You can buy yogurt starter in a powder, but yogurt works just fine.  Once you have made your own, you can use that as a starter.)
Frozen or fresh fruit for flavoring
Thick bath towel

The Directions (so super easy!):

This takes about 13-14 hours. Make your yogurt on a day when you are home to monitor.

Plug in your crockpot and turn to low. Add an entire half gallon of milk and gently mix in 1/2 cup dry powdered milk. Cover and cook on low for 2 1/2 hours.

Unplug your crockpot. Leave the cover on, and let it sit for 3 hours.

When 3 hours have passed, scoop out 2 cups of the warmish milk and put it in a bowl. Whisk in 1 cup of store-bought live/active culture yogurt. Then pour the bowl contents back into the crockpot. Stir to combine.

Put the lid back on your crockpot. Keep it unplugged, and wrap a heavy bath towel all the way around the crock for insulation. I used two heavy towels...better safe than sorry, right?  : )

Go to bed, or let it sit for 8 hours.

In the morning, the yogurt will have thickened---it's not as thick as store-bought yogurt, but has the consistency of low-fat plain yogurt.

Blend in batches with your favorite fruit. We did blueberry and strawberry. You can also add honey (remember not to give honey to babies under one year old).  When you blend in the fruit, bubbles will form and might bother you. They aren't a big deal, and will settle eventually.  My kiddos love smoothies...yogurt, ice, some orange juice and fruit in the blender (I add a smidge of sugar or honey, too).  I'm also experimenting with granola recipes to see how that pairs with the yogurt. 

Chill in plastic containers in the refrigerator. Your fresh yogurt will last 7-10 days. Save 1/2 cup as a starter to make a new batch (do this before you add any fruit or sweeteners).


Well just a few changes like the powdered milk and a bit more yogurt as a starter worked great.  It's still a bit thinner than store bought, but my kiddos didn't mind at all.

This morning I thawed a bag of sliced strawberries (from last summer) that I had frozen with sugar.  I strained it and added the strawberries to some of the yogurt.  There are no specifics because I just eyeballed it.  *wink*  Some of the kiddos didn't like the chunks in it.  They eat store bought yogurt that has chunks?  What's up with that?  Being ever so thankful that I saved the syrupy juice, I added that to another portion of yogurt.  The naysayers gobbled it right up.  

I also made up some granola and they loved it!  (I'll post the recipe soon.)  We have one child who detests yogurt, sour cream, cream cheese...you know anything yummy like that!  Argh!  So he ate granola in a bowl with some raisins and milk.  So glad he liked it or he was going to be feasting on toast with jam.  *smile*

I had a few suggestions offered in the comments from the last yogurt post. Someone suggested gelatin...that might work if you're willing.  I'm not a huge fan of regular 'ol gelatin and the name brand types (beginning with "J" and ending in "ello") lately.  After reading what's in gelatin I'm not so sure about them.  I know you can get some plant based gelatins so I may be looking into that for some of the recipes that I hold dear to my heart.  

Someone else suggested adding sugar (or sweetener of your choice) in the mix at the beginning.  You can also add vanilla extract if you like; 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons (for the recipe above).  I used strawberries that had sugar in them and I had to add a bit more sugar after I'd taste-tested it.  I'd recommend adding the sugar in the beginning when you make the mix; about 1/2 cup.  When you add it right before eating it doesn't dissolve well enough and makes it a bit gritty...it needs time to dissolve.

Kelly over at Loving Life's Little Moments has an idea HERE for straining yogurt.

Suzanne over at Chickens in the Road has a great idea HERE for making yogurt cheese (it's at the bottom of her post).  That's sounds sooo intriguing!  I may have to give it a try!  She also has some homemade cheese making recipes, too.

Enjoy!  Give it a try...let me know how you like it! 



cooperkelly4 said...

glad you found a recipe that works for ya. I am actually "Kelly" over at Loving lifes little moments. =0)

Enjoying your blog

Carmen at Old House Homestead said...

I am so sorry Kelly. I don't know *how* I missed that one. It was a busy afternoon while I was attempting to blog, I guess. I fixed it, though. :)


cooperkelly4 said...

lol, I wasn't offended at all. =0) No worries, I just didn't wanted someone confused. I don't mind the name Lisa, lol, just prefer my own. yippee for yogurt! =0)

Carmen at Old House Homestead said...

Oh good! : ) Yes! I agree Yippee for yogurt! LOL! :)

K said...

Carmen, I was going to suggest straining it to make it thicker like Greek yogurt...then I saw the link to Kelly's page. Anyway, I think I will also try making my own yogurt soon. I am a bit of a yogurt snob and it can get really expensive! Thanks for the recipe!

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