How to make your own YOGURT
in 4 easy steps!
Click HERE to learn the health benefits of yogurt!
Making your own yogurt may, at first, sound incredibly daunting. However, it's truly very easy. In fact, it can be done in 4 easy steps: 1) HEAT; 2) COOL; 3) STIR and 4) STRAIN
. We are going to tell you how to enjoy this wonderful treat -- unadulterated! By this we mean, no artificial or unnecessary ingredients. Stop and look at all the added ingredients in store-bought yogurt. They contain chemicals, sugar (or, even worse, unhealthy sugar substitutes), gelatin to thicken it up and make it extra creamy, etc. etc. etc. Before you know it, it's far from the real deal. So we hope you'll take a day and try this recipe. It will change the way you look at yogurt--an incredibly healthy food that should be a regular part of every person's diet.
plain yogurt starter
First off, you'll need to start in the morning, the earlier the better. Otherwise you'll be setting your alarm clock to wake you in the middle of the night!
The amounts used will depend on how much yield you desire. It also depends on how big of a pot you have to cook it in. So, pull out your largest pot and fill it will whole milk, leaving an inch or so at the top. Heat the milk on low until it reaches 180 degrees, which can take a few hours. This can be done at a higher heat, such as medium, but will require you to constantly stir it to prevent scorching the milk. Milk is very delicate and scorches easily. We like the hands-off, slow approach.
Once the milk reaches 180, turn it off and let it cool down to 130. This part can be sped up by placing the pot in an ice bath*.
During this time, you will want to stack up a bunch of blankets on your kitchen table. You'll want a lot of them in order to keep the yogurt from cooling too quickly. Having them prepared ahead of time saves you critical time during the next step.
At 130 degrees, you must act quickly and whisk in your store-bought, plain yogurt starter. The faster you can do this, the better because the yogurt starts to cool quickly from adding the cold starter. The yogurt starter has the live yogurt cultures needed to turn the hot milk into yogurt. We always recommend organic yogurt and milk, if possible (although that will increase the cost of making it). You will need about 6oz. of plain yogurt per gallon of milk used.
Quickly wrap, layer by layer, the entire pot in the blankets you laid out.
Walk away. Six-eight hours later, put the pot of yogurt in the refrigerator. We like to turn our fridge up a bit to compensate for the heat that the yogurt will give off.
Once the yogurt is cold, it's time to strain it. Use a colander placed inside of a bowl or pot. Line the colander with either plain white paper towels or, if the paper towels you have are very thin or have decorations, you may use several coffee filters. Fill it with yogurt and place a paper towel/filter on the top. Place in the refigerator and let it strain a couple hours until it is to your desired thickness. If allowed to strain for many hours, it will turn into "cheese". Depending on how much yogurt you made, this process will have to be repeated several times in order to strain the whole batch.Place strained yogurt in an airtight container. Take out a small portion and place in a separate container to use as a starter for your next batch of yogurt, saving you that expense. However, this starter will need to be used within two weeks. As a side note, the liquid that is strained out is called whey. Whey itself has many useful purposes such as using it for baking bread. Uses for whey can be found on the internet.
Your homemade yogurt may be served plain or with fresh fruit, etc. To sweeten, we recommend Stevia -- an all-natural, zero calorie sweetener.
*It's important to note that your yogurt will vary from batch to batch and it is difficult to make it come out exactly the same each time. Several factors affect the outcome of yogurt such as the amount of time used to heat the milk; how hot it is heated/how long you keep it at that maximum heat; the amount of time allowed to cool it; the temperature at which you add the starter (we recommend not adding it above 130) and even the temperature inside your kitchen. You can toy with these variables and see their effects on your yogurt. The things it will affect is the texture and the tartness.
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