Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Making Yogurt

After my previous experience trying to find full-fat plain yogurt in the grocery store, I got the wild idea that I should try and make my own. A quick Google search for the keywords "yogurt making" gave me more results than I could possibly read in a lifetime. Fortunately, this site had pictures, and, being the visual person that I am, I used their guidelines.

A cooler, jars and a candy thermometer were things I already had on hand. The Walmart that frustrated me by not carrying yogurt DID have Stoneyfield low fat yogurt to use as a bacteria source and inexpensive heavy cream. (If I was going to go through the trouble to make yogurt, I was damn sure going to get my fat!)

I cleaned everything, sterilized the heavy cream and let it cool. I added the Stoneyfield to the warm cream, filled some containers with hot water, put the cream mix in glass jars and popped it in to the cooler.

6 hours later, I checked what I hoped was now yogurt. It was close. While it did thicken up a bit, it was a tad on the runny side, but it did taste like yogurt. The richest creamiest yogurt I ever tasted. Other than the texture, I was pretty happy. I took a chance and poured the slightly runny yogurt in to a coffee filter lined strainer and put that in a bowl and it all went in the fridge. (This is the method used to make "yocheese" or an approximation of Greek style yogurt.)

The next morning I checked my mix and I had a nice thick creamy yogurt. Only about 1/4 cup of whey drained off, but it was enough to firm everything up. Some of the heavy cream yogurt went to make salad dressing, some was mixed with unsweetened coco and splenda for a delicious chocolate dessert, and there is even some left. Maybe. Hubby has been home for an hour now and I am still at the office. Hummmm...

Anyway...I will sure be doing this again. Even with a slight goof it still worked. Maybe I'll be using half and half next time to make it an even better bargain and a little less rich (it is almost TOO rich even for me using only heavy cream....almost :D ). If you are feeling brave, check out the tutorial and give it a try. If scatter-brained me can do it, you have a good chance at creamy success.


nonegiven said...

I didn't even know you could make it with cream. I thought you had to start off with more lactose than that (may be why it didn't thicken up.) The longer you let it culture the more of the carb gets converted. Dana Carpender wrote about using a heating pad to make hers so it can't be that complicated.

Wifezilla said...

One of the websites I Googled mentioned you could make it with cream, so I figured why the heck not? :D My next batch will most likely be half and half though.

Another site mentioned that using ultra-pasteurized product might not give the best results, so that also could have been the problem.

Using a cooler with a container of hot water was easy, but a heating pad sounds like a very workable alternative.

Having brewed beer and mead before, making yogurt was pretty simple by comparison.

Anonymous said...

I heat the milk in the microwave--no worries about scorching that way. I heat 2 quarts of milk for 12-15 min on high--until it reaches 180 degrees. Then I cool it in the fridge for 50 minutes or so til it's about 120 degrees.

Anonymous said...

I use a full fat yogurt from fage as starter and full fat milk mixed with a pint of cream. I have used half and half and that too, worked out well. I do have a yogurt maker. This makes it very easy and nice and thick and creamy. Nell