Sunday, November 13, 2011

Easy Yogurt

Delectable Homemade Yogurt
  • 2 qts (8 cups) milk (put the 2% back, you know you want the whole)
  • 2 pkgs (10 g) yogurt starter (or 1/2 cup plain yogurt, such as Dannon)
1. Bring milk to boiling point, stirring occasionally if you feel like it (I never do).
2. When it looks frothy and starts to rise up it's ready to be taken off the heat (you can use a thermometer, 180F/82C).
3. Let it cool until you can put your finger into the milk and hold it there comfortably (or if you like to be precise about these things 108-112F/42-44C).
4. Place your starter or yogurt into a small cup or bowl and mix in about 1 cup of milk until well combined. Add this mixture to the rest of the milk, stir to combine.
5.  Place in a covered container or glass jar(s) until it magically becomes yogurt (about 5 hours, depending on the temp. of your kitchen). You will know when it's ready when you tilt your container and it doesn't act liquid like plain old milk anymore. Place in fridge (it will continue to thicken as it cools).

Nota bene: I have a small side oven, and I like (when the milk is a cooled and ready to go into incubation) to turn it on to 100 degrees for 2-3 minutes, turn it off (don't forget that part!), and then place the mixture into the warm, friendly environment, and shut the door till ready. If you're slightly mentally negligible like me, do yourself a favor and tape a note on the oven knob so you don't accidentally turn it on for something else and ruin your luscious yogurt. Also, don't let anybody tell you that you have to babysit this; just go about your day while it cools and incubates. (If you need to leave it to incubate overnight that's fine too, it may be a little tangier.) No micromanager required. But do keep an eye out while it's on the stove, I frequently let it boil over. :(

This is so good plain or with honey (a sprinkling of flax seed is also acceptable). The combination of yogurt and honey Has been referred to as "the food of the gods", just so you know. Now don't you feel regal.

To make Greek yogurt simply place chilled yogurt into a cheesecloth, place cheesecloth into a strainer, place strainer over a bowl (to catch the liquid called whey), and place in fridge until desired thickness is achieved (about 6 hours). See below.

Now for recipe No. 2: One of my favorite things to do with my yogurt...

Lemon Yogurt Sorbet

2 qts (32oz) plain yogurt
1/2 freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger, optional
1-2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/2 cup honey
Mix everything together and freeze in an ice cream freezer (or if you don't have one, freeze in your home freezer about 3 hours, stir really well, freeze some more).

And recipe No. 3: My favorite thing to make with Greek yogurt...

Vietnamese (but really originated in France) Yogurt

3 cups plain Greek-style yogurt
9-14oz sweetened condensed milk (depending on how sweet you like it)

Whisk together. (Stir in any remaining sweetened condensed milk into iced coffee.:)) This yogurt could possibly be the best thing you have ever tasted.

Yogurt is so versatile, use it to make dips, shakes, dollops on your soup or in your fajita, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera (as King Mongkut of Siam says). 

A bit of trivia:
I always wondered why the milk must be heated, well, now I know. It is heated to kill any undesirable bacteria and to denature the milk proteins so that they set together rather than form curds. Who knew? For more interesting info.

No comments: