Saturday, April 3, 2010

Homemade Yogurt

My roommate’s pretty cool. Aside from baking her own bread weekly, overseeing a Penn Garden, playing fiddle in her off hours, and knitting away killer glittens, she also makes her own yogurt. Though she says she has yet to perfect the method, she still has managed with success. This week I witnessed the yogurt making in action. The process is fairly straightforward though much depends on creating the ideal temperature and without such conditions, you can be left with a thinner yogurt than desired.

First, you have to heat the milk till bubbles form along the edges. If you have a thermometer, 185 degrees F is what you’re going for. Be sure not to heat it till boiling. The hope is that you want to kill whatever bacteria might compete with the yogurt cultures you will add.

Then you let the milk cool, till you can hold your finger in for ten seconds comfortably. I made my poor roommate hold her finger longer than comfortable for this picture. You ideally want the temperature to be 100 degrees F so that it warms the cultures into a frenzy but not so hot that it kills them. You also want the yogurt to be at room temperature before adding it to the milk.

While this happens, you will also need to sterilize your jar. This can be done simply by putting it in a pot of boiling water. Be sure to sterilize the lid as well. Again, to keep competing bacteria out of the yogurt.

Once the yogurt is stirred into the milk, pour the mixture into the sterilized jar.
Then, you’ll need to incubate it. See the below picture. Much winter wear was used to insulate the baby yogurt. Then put the snuggly wrapped yogurt into a pre-warmed, but not on, oven overnight. The yogurt should sit for at least eight hours. Ideally, after that time, it should have custard-like consistency with a green film on top. I read that the longer you let the yogurt sit, the thicker the yogurt will become.

Once your yogurt has reached its desired consistency, put in the fridge to chill before serving. It should keep in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.

My roommate wasn’t thrilled with the results.
The yogurt was thin, runny and some bits had clumped. But the taste was definitely there and could be happily enjoyed in a yogurt smoothie.

My roommate advises leaving the yogurt to warm longer than she had for a better texture.

But all in all, homemade yogurt was made and that's pretty cool.

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