Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Homemade Yogurt Tips

I've been making my own yogurt for a couple of months now, thanks to my friend Laura posting the recipe a while back.

This is the basic recipe:

Pour a half-gallon of milk (I use 2%) into your crockpot. Put it on low for 2.5 hours. Unplug and let sit for 3 hours. Then take a couple of cups of the milk out of the crockpot and whisk it with 1/2 c. plain yogurt in a bowl. Then add back into the crockpot. Wrap crockpot in a thick towel and let sit for 8 hours.

I have ruined two batches thus far, because:
1.) One time I left the crockpot on the table and my kitchen is drafty and cold at night so it failed. I have since found that putting the crockpot on top of my gas stove (on a cookie sheet) has kept it the perfect temperature since the pilot light keeps my stove top warm. In our old apartment, it was always so warm that no matter where I put the yogurt it did fine.

2.) One time I used plain yogurt from the store that had been sitting around for a few weeks. It wasn't spoiled, but wasn't fresh enough to activate the batch.

This week when I made yogurt, it turned out absolutely AMAZING and way thicker than it normally does. It looked exactly like the store-bought kind of yogurt. Here is what I did differently:

1.) Instead of using store-bought plain yogurt to activate it, I used homemade yogurt leftover from last week's batch. Perhaps homemade is "fresher?"

2.) I drained the whey from my homemade yogurt before using it. My friend and I read an article about how Greek yogurt is the best kind of yogurt for you and how you can make it by draining yogurt in a cheescloth or sterile dish cloth and squeezing out the whey. So, before I used my homemade yogurt to activate the batch I put a little more than a cup of it in a cloth in my colander and set it over a bowl on the counter for an hour. It reduced down to about 1/2 cup of yogurt but if was very thick, like sour cream when I added it to the batch. And when I checked my crock pot full of yogurt 8 hours later, it was VERY thick!!!

So, I wanted to share these tips with those of you who make it too!

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