So I promised after my first granola post, that I would post on yogurt next...but my love of all things pumpkin over rid yogurt.
But now as promised, here is my adventure in making yogurt!
Like a good computer savvy person, I found a tutorial here for my yogurt adventure.
First I made sure I had a nice clean crockpot and then added my milk (1 half gallon).
We regularly drink non-homogenized whole milk, so that wasn't hard for us. We switched when I decided I was tired of paying a lot of money for a product that was over processed at the grocery store. That's when I found a local farm and we started our journeying into local fresh foods, with the least amount of processing.
Now not everyone has access to good milk, and for those of you that want to do this without non-homogenized milk you can do it! Non-homogenized just works a little better. The big thing is you don't want to use ultra-pasteurized milk it won't work up right. Also if you want a lower fat content you can use lower fat milks, but from what I have read, it doesn't work up as well.
Next, I added my thermometer and turned it on low.
The next part is to wait...and wait. You need the yogurt to get up to 180 degrees, slowly. If you scald the milk it won't work right. But you can make that into ricotta cheese, so no waste if it happens.
Now my crock pot is pretty old, so when it got close, I added a towel over the top to insulate it. That helped it get up to temperature a little easier. Otherwise it takes a lot longer than necessary for me.
Under normal circumstances it will probably take around 2.5 hours.
Once it got up to 180, I made sure it sat at 180 for thirty minutes (gives you a slightly thicker product). I did this by turning off the crock pot, but leaving my towel on.
After the thirty minutes, I took my towel off and took my insert out of the canister. I skim the "skin" off the top too. This is some of the fat from the milk that solidifies. I don't like the texture it creates, so I skim it off.
I let that sit and cool down to 115 degrees. You want to shoot for 110-120 degree before you add your yogurt starter. That is the optimal temperature for the cultures.
Once you get to that range, take 1/2 cup of yogurt starter (just regular plain yogurt with active live cultures- I like Stoneyfield) and mix with the warm milk. Then add that slurry to the crock pot .
Once you mix it, recover and wrap again in your towel. Place in the oven with the light on, but don't turn the oven on. You just want to maintain the temperature for 4-8 hours. That's so your cultures can do their stuff.
I do this at night, so the next morning I awoke to this:
Yum! (the yellow color is a little extreme on the iPhone, but that is some of the fat that separated)
After refrigeration for a couple of hours, it's ready!
Stir it with preserves, syrup, applesauce, or granola. Great for breakfast, cheaper (I get double the amount for the price of the expensive stuff and I use great milk!), and HEALTHY!!
One side note though, while thick, real yogurt doesn't look like most of the stuff you get from the grocery store. To make that thicker, they add gelatin. If you prefer this you can add gelatin. I would recommend a natural gelatin from animal, rather than synthetic...a little more healthy.
Also this yogurt can be used to make your own cream cheese!! So even better.
Just don't forget to save some of you product to use as your next starter, so you don't have to buy more.