Sunday, March 6, 2011

Beauty Thy Name Is Yogurt

Earlier in the week I experimented in making homemade yogurt.  It did NOT go well.  Not. At. All.  I was depressed I had wasted so much organic milk.  I was sad that my sheer determination alone did not make my yogurt thicken.  It was disheartening to say the least. 

After a few days recovery time, I figured I would give it one last shot before asking for a yogurt machine for my birthday.  I didn't take pictures of everything because I was too embarrassed of sharing my failure with the world for a second time, but here's what I did  (This is a take off of the instructions found here):

  1.  Plug your Crockpot in and set to low while you get everything together...just forget about it for now.

2.  Measure out your milk & put it on the stove top on medium heat.  I used 8 cups of milk this time, because I didn't want to have to make it again quickly if it was successful.  You can either make 4 cups or 8 cups at a time using this method.

3.  Heat your milk, stirring occasionally until it is thick and frothy and 190 degrees.  Here is where I think I made one of my mistakes the last time...having never used a candy thermometer before I hooked it on the side of the pot & assumed it was getting an accurate reading.  In actuality it was touching the bottom of the pan, MAJOR PROBLEM.  Make sure you are just taking the temp of the milk and DON'T touch the bottom of the pan, or, you will have a depressing yogurty mess on your hands.

4.  Once milk has reached 190 degrees, remove from heat & place in cold water in your sink.  Do not fill your sink too full, the pan will float & make you nervous (or it did me).  A few inches should do it.

5.  Measure JUST THE MILK TEMP, and once it is down to 100 degrees remove a cup of the warm milk and set it aside.  The rest of the milk can be poured in to your warm Crockpot.  (Keep the heat on low just a few minutes longer).

6.  Pour your cup of warm milk into a wee bowl, and whisk in your yogurt.   You need to use 2 Tablespoons of yogurt/4 cups of milk, so I used 4 tablespoons (approx 1/2 c) of Stonyfield Organic Yogurt.  Make sure to thoroughly incorporate the yogurt with the milk here & make sure your store bought yogurt says LIVE ACTIVE CULTURES somewhere on the packaging.

7.  Once your bowl is well mixed, add the bowl of yogurt & milk to the crockpot of warm milk. Again, make sure to thoroughly whisk it all together.  Your yogurt and milk need to bond and become BFF.

Ok, here's where I used Sofya's, of The Girls' Guide to Guns & Butter's, method.  Girlfriend knows what she's talking about when it comes to yogurt & she's such a believer in making your own that she emailed me with tips to encourage me along this journey.  Give her blog a little love if you're interested.

8.  Turn off your crockpot, cover with a heavy towel, and put it in your oven with the oven light on. 

Photo Credit:
That's Sofya's crockpot above.  I put the whole thing in the oven, crock & the outer portion.  I'm still not sure if you're supposed to remove the crock, but whatever.

9.  Walk away, leave your oven SHUT, and let your yogurt chillax for 8 hours.

10.  After 8 hours hopefully your yogurt will be thick, delicious, and lovely.  Sofya goes ahead & eats it then.  I put my crock in the fridge overnight to thicken more.  It's totally your call.  Also there may be little whey at the top, you can either dump it off, or mix it in.  I just mixed mine in and it tastes great.

Here's a pic of E's breakfast:  Homemade yogurt & her great gram's organic homegrown peaches.


Thanks for those of you who encouraged me to try again, and for those of you who have had a negative yogurt experience or would like to brave.  If I can do it, you DEFINITELY can!

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