Making my own yogurt has been a long process in coming. I know how to do it, my mother would occassionally do it while we were growing up BUT the problem is I don’t so much care for yogurt. Odd. I know but that’s just how it is. My son on the other hand thinks that Stonyfields Organic strawberry yogurt is great for breakfast, lunch and all snacks! That’s all ok if I can get enough coupons that double or triple in a month’s time but sometimes it doesn’t work out so well.
Recently a fine lady in my church (who I have been talking to about buying into her cow share so that I could get grass-fed, raw jersey milk from) said, “I can’t believe you don’t make your own yogurt” to which I replied, “I can’t believe I don’t either however it just feels like a bridge too far for me right now”. But after tallying up how many quarts of that same said brand of yogurt we bought in July I decided that it was time I start making my own. We purchased 12 quarts that month. That was excessive but it can range from 6-12 months and the thing that really bothers me most about that said yogurt is that it is lowfat. For real, my growing children need whole milk yogurt. All that cream and fat is soooo good for their developing brains.
So after counting the cost and realizing that I could actually afford to buy into the cow share and make my raw grass fed, non GMO, organic whole yogurt for less money then the above said yogurt I was in.
The problem is that I am still convincing my son that the switch was a good one. So any pointers any of you have about how you make your yogurt taste oh so yummy….I would be so delighted to hear about it! I have been pureeing red raspberries and straining the seeds. I have also tried to sweeten it with only stevia. I think that’s the real problem but I am not ready to conceede yet. I have sweetened it with maple syrup and honey. I have added 1 tbsp of unflavored gelatin right after I poured it into the glass jars so that it would resemble a little thicker yogurt, like he’s accustomed to. They work but I can tell that Camden is still not convinced. I think I will compromise and put a couple of tablespoons of dye free jello in the next batch. I can get a natural gelatin from the bulk food store that is super close to my parents house. I usually stock up there. It is hard to find but I have found it at Whole Foods as well.
On to the recipe. There are many out there but this one has seemed to work very well for me. I have a friend who is convinced the only way to make it is using her crockpot. Maybe someday I will switch but for now this is the recipe that I love. Start with a beautiful gallon of milk like this. Just look at that cream on this gallon of milk. It makes me so happy!!
1 gallon of milk (any kind of milk will work)
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt with live cultures (mine came from Trader Joe’s)
Pour milk into a large, heavy stockpot. Place a candy thermometer in the pan. Over medium heat, cook until milk reaches 180 degrees F, stirring occassionally. Do not allow milk to scorch. When it reaches 180 degrees F, remove from heat and immediately set stockpot into a sink of cold ice water (that you have prepared while the milk is heating up) and cool to 112 degrees F. Add Greek yogurt, stirring very well and make sure your culture is completely dissolved.
Pour yogurt into 4 clean quart jars. Cover with lids and place into an ice chest that has been filled with 2″-3″ of warm water. Set jars in the ice chest for approximately 6 hours. If it does not set to your liking, allow it to set 2 more hours. Note though: the longer you allow it to sit in the water bath, the stronger the yogurt gets. If you prefer a milder flavor, remove it promptly at 6 hours.
If you do not think you will use a whole gallon you can easily half this recipe and end up with 2 quarts of yogurt.
And here you have it. Fresh breakfast with homemade maple yogurt and a hot cup of coffee! I used maple syrup and maple flavoring to get the sweetness and flavor I was looking for. I must confess, I don’t know the amounts I put in to get the flavor I want. It’s how I cook all the time. Always adding a little here and a little there. Sometimes the little here and little there doesn’t turn out so good but yogurt is hard to mess up 🙂 and who cares if the ‘little here and the little there’ turns it into a nice sweet yogurt, aka, too much maple syrup?
Today I pick up 3 gallons of that lovely liquid gold. I hope to make 1 gallon into drinkable yogurt for the boys and make a gallon of nonfat greek/strained yogurt to use in cooking and for my THM breakfast’s. But first, I will skim off all that lovely cream which is actually a super food and savor those swirls in my morning coffee.
Hope your weekend is lovely!