Friday, February 17, 2012

Yogurt: Version 2.0

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Fresh yogurt topped with sliced bananas and a drizzle of honey
I have written before on how to make your own yogurt here.  This method works without fail for me, every time.  Which is great!  Sort of.

Having to pour thick, set yogurt out of a thermos into quart jars to store it breaks up all that smooth lovely yogurt into something a bit lumpy.  I also have to figure out how to clean out the thermos every time because I am a clean fanatic.  I worry about lingering growing things between batches since I have to wash the thermos by hand with a bottle brush and can't rely on the super hot sanitize cycle of my dishwasher to clean out the narrow tall insides of it.  This all lead me to try and come up with a different method of doing yogurt that met three goals:

  1. I want to pour my cultured milk straight into my quart jar without having to move the set yogurt to it later.
  2. I want my yogurt making to still be mostly maintenance free during the setting up phase.
  3. I don't want to have to buy any new equipment or items just for yogurt making.

After trying several methods I have found a second one that works for me at last - the crock pot.  Using the crock pot to maintain a water bath at the 110 (F) temperature for the 2-4 hours I need while the yogurt sets is the perfect solution for me.

Fill crock pot insert with the right amount of warm water
First, I fill my quart jar with water and set it into my crock pot insert.  I then fill the crock pot with warm water that is close to 110 (F) during the last bit of time my milk is cooling.  I am able to get tap water this temperature, so I just use that. This lets me fill the crock pot insert with the right amount of water I will need once I am ready to put the jar of yogurt in it safely without overflow spills or being too low and changing the temperature of the water by adding more.

Milk culture in its toasty water bath
Next, I remove the water filled jar and turn on my crock pot to Low for 5 minutes, then turn it back off.  This is just long enough for the heating element in my crock pot to get hot but it doesn't really change the temperature of the water.  As soon as my milk culture is ready to go I put the jar of it into the warm water.  I cover everything with a bit of tin foil and then several kitchen towels to help hold in the heat.  I set my timer for 60 minutes and once an hour I turn the crock pot on to Low for 5 minutes then off again.  This is just long enough to keep the water near the 110 (F) I need.  I start checking the yogurt to see if it is set after 2 hours and I have never had to go more than 4 hours for stuff to be done.

Yogurt setting up
I hope this method helps you out!  If you have never tried making your own yogurt perhaps this simple technique will make it easier for you to try for yourself.

Yogurt: Version 2.0

Michelle K.
Yogurt can be made with skim, 1%, 2%, or whole milk. I prefer whole milk for yogurt and drink lowfat milk.

Ingredients


  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 Tbs yogurt, be sure this is living active culture yogurt

Instructions


  1. In a medium sized pot add the 4 cups of milk and start warming it over a medium flame. Attach your thermometer. If you are using an alarm model, set it to 181 (F). As soon as the milk reaches 181 (F) move the pot to a cold burner and let it cool down on it's own to 110 (F).
  2. While the milk is cooling measure out the 2 tablespoons of live culture yogurt into a one cup measuring cup and set aside. Prep your crock pot by filling a quart jar with water and putting it into the crock pot. Fill around the quart jar with 110 (F) water until it is full. Remove the quart jar, turn your crock pot to Low for five minutes, then turn it off again, maintaining the 110 (F) water temperature using this method while the milk cools.
  3. Right when your cooling milk reaches 110 (F) remove any skin that may have formed and then add about a cup of the warm milk to the waiting yogurt. Whisk very thoroughly, then pour this back into your pot of milk. Whisk a second time making sure that your culture is well incorporated into the milk.
  4. Pour your milk mixture into a waiting quart jar and cap it. Put the capped quart jar into the crock pot water bath. Cover with tin foil and a few kitchen towels.
  5. Turn on the crock pot once an hour to Low for five minutes, then back off again. Maintain the water temperature near 110 (F) throughout the setting process, which can take 2 - 4 hours. Begin checking the yogurt to see if it is set after 2 hours - mine normally takes 3 hours to be thick, well set, but still mild in flavor. If you prefer a tangier version of yogurt you can let it set for up to 8 hours safely.
  6. Move the quart jar of yogurt to the refrigerator and enjoy! Be sure you save the last 2 tablespoons for your next batch.
Yield: 4 servings, 1 quart

Prep Time: 00:15
Cook time: 03:00

Nutrition


Calories: 127
Total carbs: 12