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 the next step.
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