Any excuse to say that word. Yogued... like Vogue, only slightly fermented... I also like onomonapea and peppadew... Any excuse to say those words.
But I digress. You see for over a year now, more like five or ten years, I have been serious about making my own yogurt. I actually owned a yogurt maker. It was a long plastic covered contraption with six ceramic containers in it. It sat in my pantry for a looong time. I got rid of it. I saved the containers because they are reusable and have nice little covers. But I gave up. It all sounded like too much of a hassle. Until now. I found this post at A Year of Slow Cooking. I was hooked. I even bought a crock pot (15 bucks on sale, whew heeew). Why? because it had a warm function and I wanted to make sure it would keep the heat below 140F which is optimal because the good bacteria can be killed in the yogurt. I also liked this particular crock pot because it fits on my counter and I don't have to drag it in and out of the pantry. Love that! It was worth it to me you see because my husband goes through copious amounts of yogurt.
Now, crockpot lady does hers solely in the crockpot. I wanted to speed up the process a little. I put 2 quarts of 2% milk into a stock pot. I heated it on medium until the temperature reached about 185F. I turned it off and let it cool. I added the starter that my husbands friend "V" generously gave us (from India) after it had cooled. I had left the starter out on the counter to bring it to room temperature before adding it in. I also stirred in a 1/2 cup powdered milk. From what I have read, 2 tablespoons to a 1/4 cup per quart of powdered milk will help to gel the yogurt a bit more. European yogurt I guess tends to be on the runny side. American yogurt is more firm. I actually will eat it either way but prefer it more on the thicker side.
I put the crock pot on the previous day and took the temperature of the water with an instant read thermometer to make sure it was under 140F. After four hours of being on it was at 120F. So I was pretty sure it would not get too hot. I poured warm water into the crockpot and turned the dial to warm. I put my pint jars into their cozy little hot tub. I covered it and left it on for about 7 1/2 hours. I pulled out one of the jars and looked at the liquid. It had gelled. I consider that a success. Wahoo!
Here are the "Cliff Notes" version of what I did:
1. Heated 2 quarts of 2% milk in stock pot until the temperature reached 185F.
2. Brought my starter to room temperature.
3. After milk cooled down I added the 1/2 cup of starter & 1/2 cup powdered milk.
4. Poured that liquid into 4 pint jars and put lids on top.
5. Turned on my crockpot to warm and added warm tap water.
6. Placed the pint jars into the warm water bath in the crockpot and covered it.
7. It sat in the warm water bath for about 7 to 8 hours.
8. Turned the crockpot off, removed the pints and transferred them to the fridge.
9. In the morning I opened one, spooned it out and added a tablespoon of my canned cherry jelly. I enjoyed some cherry flavored yogurt for a fraction of the cost.
You can use a good quality yogurt with all the good bacteria in it for your starter. Or you can actually pick up a yogurt starter at a Health Food store.
I don't know if it was the starter or the milk powder but the yogurt is a bit of a different flavor than the store bought one. I imagine I will get used to it and then hate the store bought one- thinking it too bland. Of course slathered in jelly, I didnt notice anymore.*
*Update- I found out it was the dry milk- I tasted it on its own and it was disgusting. It's old. Goodness time flies.