HOMEGROWN

Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

Those of us with dairy animals are used to an abundance of milk once our animals freshen in the spring. A wonderful thing to do with all that extra is to make yogurt.

Yogurt is a dairy product created by fermenting milk with a Lactobacillus culture. Making your own yogurt is fun and easy. And, it is a healthful snack that children love.

To make your own yogurt, start with fresh milk. Powdered or skim milk work but produce a thin yogurt. For a thicker outcome, choose whole milk. Some even add a little powdered milk or gelatin to their start for an even thicker product. If you are accustomed to store bought yogurt, and are concerned your family won’t want to eat it because it’s not what they’re used to eating, these additives are harmless and will help them transition into the homemade taste and texture. We prefer to use our raw goat’s milk.

Next you will need your culture. You can purchase a yogurt start from the health food store or a dairy supplier. Or, you can use yogurt from another batch or from the grocery store. Use only plain, unflavored yogurt for your culture.

Other supplies you will need include:

  • Sterile quart jars with lids, warmed
  • Small cooler (lunch-box size works great)
  • Candy thermometer

Steps to making your yogurt:

  1. Heat your milk to 150 degrees in a thick-bottomed, stainless steel pot. This pasteurization process kills any unwanted bacteria present in the milk that would compete with the culture. It also changes the structure of the proteins so that they will “set” rather than form curds.
  2. Remove the milk from the heat and allow to cool to 110 degrees.
  3. Add the culture and stir well to mix. If you are using a powdered culture, follow the label directions. If you are using another yogurt, use ¼ cup per quart of milk. Pour the mixture just to the shoulder of the jars. If you want to add any sweetener or flavorings, now is the time to do it.
  4. Apply lids to the jars and set them in the cooler. Place the cooler in a warm place where it can remain undisturbed overnight. Fill the cooler with hot tap water up to the shoulder of the jars. Close the lid and wait.
  5. Once set, place jars in the refrigerator and cool at least 12 hours before serving.

I generally start my yogurt in the afternoon and it is ready first thing next morning. All recipes vary. I’ve read anything from 4 hours to 3 days. If I start it in the afternoon, I will check it before I go to bed (that would be 5-6 hours later). To check, simply turn the jar to its side and see if the mixture is thick. Remember, the longer it incubates, the more sour the flavor.

To flavor my yogurt, I add ½ teaspoon vanilla and about 1 tablespoon of evaporated cane juice to each quart. If you want to add fruit, wait until you serve it.

Raw Yogurt:

If you prefer, you can make yogurt without pasteurizing your raw milk. Simply heat the milk to the 110 degrees needed to grow the culture and proceed as above. After making raw yogurt for her family the first time, Lara DeHaven from the Texas Homesteader Blog says, “I have honestly never had such wonderful yogurt. It is so delicious that I am amazed. It seems creamier and less sour-tasting than before.” Lara also sweetens her yogurt with stevia. For those that want an alternative to sugar or honey, this works quite well.

Ideas for using yogurt:

  • Eat it plain.
  • Add plain yogurt to your pancake, waffle, or muffin batter.
  • Use it for the base of a fruit smoothie.
  • Use yogurt in place of sour cream on baked potatoes, tacos, or burritos.
  • Serve fruit on a buffet with a yogurt dip.
  • Freeze in small paper cups with Popsicle stick inserted for a delicious treat.

How does your family use yogurt? Do you make your own? Tell us all about it.


Views: 101

Tags: a, blog, cooler, dehaven, homesteader, in, lara, making, texas, yogurt

Comment by Cynthia Schrage on May 16, 2011 at 12:54pm
I'm totally excited about this. I've been looking, without success, for a second-hand yogurt maker at a thrift store, but I think I'll try this... It sounds yummy, and simple. I'm glad you give the raw milk variation. I'd like to try that, because we live by Amish people and I can get raw milk easily. Just have to dig out the cooler. (WAY better use for it than yucky pop!)

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