Making Yogurt

IMG_9099Making 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!!

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 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)

candy thermometer

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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.

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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.

IMG_9020And 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?

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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!

Dawn

3 Commentsto Making Yogurt

  1. Deb says:

    2 of my children loved yogurt growing up & i bought a lot. YMy 3 grandchildren love yogurt for lunch or snacks. That ends up being a lot of yogurt. What I’d read was to make more of a thick, Greek style was to strain through cheesecloth or a coffee filter in a metal strainer. You can strain until its the thickness you like. Supposedly you can strain until very thick & dry & make yogurt cheese. Flavor with garlic, herbs & use as a spread for crackers or sandwiches. I’m going to try both the strained yogurt & spread next month when we visit my daughter’s family in GA so we can all try it. Hope this might help. Good luck

  2. Marilyn says:

    Hi, its your cousin! I also make yogurt because my brother in law has 4 Jersey cows and we have milk out our ears!! The recipe I make takes a cup sugar when your heat it, then 2 T unflav. gelatin dis. in half cup cold water after it is heated. When cooled down add the yogurt starter and 2 T vanilla. I make mine in a ‘hot pot’ that my MIL brought me from Bangledash. It is something they use to keep food hot until served. Just to say that my only use for it is making perfect yogurt. After it is set I add about a fourth cup jello and blended strawberries. Now I am catching on you don’t want the sugar so I went to a blog I read where she often cans and cooks with stevia–Home Joys. She puts some powered milk in it , she says it gets thicker. As for sweetness her one boy eats applesauce with it or one puts jelly on it. My yogurt turns out different every time. Of course the one time that it was absolutely perfect is when I wish I could duplicate it. Hope you find something they all like!

    • Dawn Dawn says:

      Marilyn, So nice to hear from you!! I am experimenting and finally getting my kids on board with my yogurt!! Thank you for your suggestions, I will try it that way. Do you start with 1 gallon of milk? I am so thankful for fresh, jersey milk! This last week I got some keifer grains from a friend and we have been making it and Camden loves it with red raspberries which my mom has an abundance of!! Again, nice to hear from you!

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