Saturday, 10 November 2012

Stories and Recipes from the Ranch...Homemade Yogurt

Written by Loretta LeBlanc

Yummy Homemade Greek Yogurt 

Yummy Homemade Yogurt
  • 1/2 gallon milk – fat content of your choice (I use 1% milk)
  • 2 tablespoons plain prepared yogurt (make sure it contains live, active cultures)
  • Cooking thermometer
  • Cheesecloth enough to fit 4 layers in a large strainer
Pour milk into a heavy-bottomed pan, turn the heat to medium stir occasionally. You don’t want to burn the bottom or let it come to a boil.  Heat the milk to 180 degrees F.
Immediately remove the pot from the stove, carefully pour the hot milk into a bowl. Leave uncovered. Let the milk cool so that it is  between 105 and 110 degrees F. This usually takes 45 min to an hour, depending on the heat in the kitchen.  Put the 2 tbsp yogurt in a bowl, add a few tbsp of your warm milk to thin, then add the yogurt-milk mixture back into your main container of warm milk, and stir well. Don’t add more than 2-3 tbsp of yogurt to the mixture. It won’t make it better, just sour and watery. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.  
You will now have to incubate the mixture for about 6-8 hours or overnight. I wrap my bowl in a towel to hold the heat in, then I put in the oven on the “proof” temperature. Don't let it cool down too much, maintain temp. to 110 degrees. If you don’t have a low enough temp, try heating the oven on the lowest heat, then turn oven off, but leave the light on. Let it sit in the oven until it has become nice and thick with some liquid whey. If you are making regular yogurt you are done at this point ( with only 1 step left to complete). Your last step will be to carefully pour off the whey and whisk until smooth.

For creamy Greek yogurt, you will  now refrigerate the yogurt for at least 2 hours, allowing to cool and thicken.

Line a large strainer with four layers of damp cheesecloth (you can also use a tea towel ). You will  now place your strainer over a pot or bowl.  Once the yogurt has set and formed into a blob, carefully break it up and ladle or pour into the strainer. Return the bowl to the refrigerator for one more hour let it strain. You are now done. Yummy Yogurt. It  will appear to be a bit lumpy, so I like to whisk it, by doing this it becomes nice and creamy. Once it reaches the consistency you like pour into a container and refrigerate.  This should give you about 650 g or more and it keeps approximately a week.  I would suggest you save a couple tablespoons from this batch to start  your next batch.  It is so good you will want to make more.
I like my yogurt drizzled with honey. I get mine from a local beekeeper, and the blueberries I picked with my own hands. We get our  milk from a local dairy.   Simple food – so good.

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