You might be wondering why one might want to make their own yogurt, well for a host of reasons actually. Commercially prepared yogurts contain a multitude of chemicals- such as Castoreum (which are derived the from scent glands located under the tale of a beaver), aspartame, high fructose corn syrup, a rainbow of nasty food dyes as well as Carrageenan (which is a derivative of red seaweed but has recently been under fire for it's link to cancer).
In order to make your own delicious, healthy yogurt, you'll need a few simple ingredients. Milk, Live Yogurt cultures, which in our case we purchased 1 tiny container of raw, Live Culture yogurt (no flavoring added) from the grocery store. It was a bit expensive, but don't worry, after you've made your own batch of yogurt, you can use it as a starter for the next batch.
|First, gather your ingredients you need:
* 1 qt of Whole, LowFat or Non-Fat Milk (Or Soy Milk, Almond Milk or Coconut Milk)
* 2 Tbs. preservative free, un-flavored yogurt (Live Cultures)
|Preheat oven to 200F.|
|Pour milk into a saucepan over medium heat, bring to a near boil of 185F, stirring constantly.
Once the milk reaches a boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer (not boil!) for 2 minutes. The purpose of this is to pasteurize the yogurt to prevent unwanted bacteria from reproducing.
|Remove from heat and allow to cool until the temperature reaches 110-115 degrees. (I recommend an Instant Read thermometer rather than a candy thermometer). At this point if you want a very thick yogurt you can 1/4 to 1/2 cup non-fat dry milk stirring until it's dissolved, then continue to the next step. If you prefer NOT to add dry milk, just continue to
Turn OFF the Oven.
|In a medium size bowl blend 1 1/2 Tbs live yogurt with 1/2 c. of the heated (cooled to 110F) milk. Stirring well to combine.
(This is done separately to prevent curdling and killing of the healthy bacteria.)
Add the yogurt/milk mix into the saucepan and stir well.
|Evenly divide the contents of your saucepan into 2 bowls (of equal size), covering with saran wrap (any plastic wrap will do). Place the bowls into the warm oven with a hand towel draped over them both.|
|It can take anywhere from 6-15 hours for the yogurt to properly set. Check after 6 hours to see if it has gelled, if the yogurt has not yet gelled, place it back in the oven, covered and check every 2 hours. As soon as the yogurt has set, refrigerate it.|
|The longer the yogurt is refrigerated, the more tangy the flavor will become. To make flavored yogurt, add 1 tsp vanilla extract to the Finished/refrigerated product. (Or add any flavor extract for various fruited flavors!).|
Liss Notes on Variations:
Our favorite yogurt used to be Dannon Vanilla, but I've managed to make my own by adding 2 tsp Vanilla Extract and 1 T. Sugar to the above finished product. My family couldn't taste the difference!
For a little variety simply add fruit to make a dessert, herbs for a potato topping or to make a chilled soup for those hot summer nights.
© Can Stock Photo Inc. / RobStark