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Making some Yogurt

September 4, 2011

I’ve been working with a nutrition coach recently, and she told me I needed some good, local probiotics in my gut. As we sat together at lunch, eating our portabello mushroom tacos at The V-Spot, She told me excitedly she had made her own yogurt. Intrigued, I asked how that was possible. Apparently, it’s pretty easy.

First, visit your local health food store in the refrigerated section and pick up a yogurt culture pack. She pointed out this brand, Yogourmet, and told me to follow the instructions.

Yogourmet

The package of freeze dried yogurt cultures

So I brought it home and stuck it in my fridge. Then, I visited my local farmer’s market in the middle of McCarren Park, and bought some local NY based dairy whole milk. Though it’s important to me to support the local agriculture community, it was essential for this project. I needed the bacteria local to my home to give my immune system the boost it needs. Beyond the health of it, what better base could I get for my home based yogurt than fresh, local milk?

Ronnybrook Farm's Milk

Ronnybrook Farm's Milk

I am known in my family for a couple things, one is I’m a little nuts. The second is my passion for trying new things. So when I got home from the market with my husband (who loves me enough to put up with my constant barrage of creative projects, usually concerning food) I immediately embarked on the yogurt making project with excitement. Out came my thermometer (which was originally bought to make caramels), a medium sized pot, and whisk. Following the directions, I heated the milk up to 180 degrees Fahrenheit, or just at its boiling point. Then I took it off the heat, and let it cool down to 108-102 degrees Fahrenheit. Note readers, this takes about twenty to thirty minutes, so prepare to relax for a bit with a good book nearby.

Next, you mix the contents of the packet into a small amount of the milk letting it dissolve. The ratio of milk to yogurt starter is 5 grams for every quart of milk. You will get the same amount of yogurt as the milk you started with – so if you want a quart of yogurt, use a quart of milk. Now, pour the small amount of milk mixed with yogurt starter into the rest of the warm milk. Mix together.

Here is where I got confused. There is apparently a couple of methods to make yogurt- let it sit out overnight, or put it in a yogurt incubator for 4 hours. Really? A yogurt incubator? Yes, and a yogurt machine, for all those wondering out there. The directions on the packet read, “Incubate 4 to 4 1/2 hours, or until yogurt has reached desire thickness. May be used with any make of appliance, according to instructions. For best results, use a Yogourmet yogurt maker.” Mind you, this was on the back of the packet inside of the box, so I could not read these instructions before I bought the box and started my yogurt journey. But I, being fearless and determined, decided incubator be damned, I would press on.

I decided to let it sit out, and ran out to complete the remaining errands. When I returned, the supposed yogurt still looked like milk. What? It’s been two hours. Surely, it needs to be thicker than this. I consulted Google. Apparently, to become yogurt, the mixture needs to stay around 107 degrees for 4ish hours. To solve this problem, I placed it on my hot oven, letting the residual heat warm up the mixture. For the most part, it worked, though the yogurt is not as thick as I would like. It is definitely tasty; but next time, I’m going to use my crockpot to keep the milk nice and toasty for a better consistency.

Here is a picture of the final product, with blueberries and honey.

My home-made yogurt, with blueberries and honey

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