a blog chronicling my days of unemployment and all the crafty things i'll do during it

Thursday, April 15, 2010

DIY Yogurt

 as previously mentioned, i love granola. and i love it most with a bowl of good yogurt. so, when my most recent readymade magazine arrived, i was excited to try the yogurt recipe on page 44.

lots of big-name brand store-bought yogurt contains food additives like gelatin, aspartame, guar gum, locust bean gum, artificial colours/flavours, etc. i prefer my food to just contain food, without all the extra things that i don't understand. i also find that gelatin (used as a thickener in many store-bought yogurts), triggers cold sores for me (probably because it contains lots of the amino acid arginine).

lately we've been buying yogurt from a foxhill cheese, who sells cheese, yogurt and gelato at the farmer's market. they make a really delicious vanilla yogurt, and it's only ingredients are: milk, sugar, vanilla and bacterial cultures. i used some of this yogurt as the starter for the yogurt i made myself.

the recipe from readymade makes it all look pretty simple. and it was! it uses 2% milk, a little bit of plain yogurt, a thermometer, a pot, a big jar and a towel. most of these were things that i had around my kitchen to begin with. i didn't have a jar big enough for the whole litre of yogurt, so instead i used two smaller jars (re-used salsa jars).

there's not a tonne of hands-on time required to make this recipe, but the waiting is tricky (for me, i'm inpatient). the yogurt needs to sit for 5+ hours, and then refrigerate overnight before you eat it. last night at bedtime, i was a bit too excited for breakfast time to come. i kept myself awake thinking about possible flavour combinations for my yogurt.

 it was worth the wait (and the little bit of lack-of-sleep). the end result is pretty tasty! i flavoured mine with some local (frozen) blueberries, and maple syrup. yum! chris flavoured his with the dregs of a jar of apricot jam from our fridge. it tasted great with the granola i also made yesterday.

one thing to note - the yogurt was considerably thinner than what we're used to. so, i did some google-troubleshooting and found a few tips that i'll try next time i make it to help get a thicker yogurt.

 a different method of incubation. readymade magazine's recipe suggests you just wrap the jar in a towel, but that probably doesn't maintain the heat as well as using a double-walled stainless steel thermos, or using the oven, crock-pot, or a heating pad. i'll probably try the thermos next, since it's the most energy efficient of the methods. the idea is to maintain the yogurt temperature at about 110 degrees F for 5 hours or more so the bacterial cultures can do their job.

holding the milk at 185°F for thirty minutes before cooling and adding the starter. according to makeyourownyogurt.com the extended heating denatures the milk proteins, and enables them to sequester more of the water in milk, and you lose some more to evaporation.

 there's also some other suggestions, like using some powdered milk - but i don't think i'll try that. it increases expenses, complexity, and food miles. i'll put the other suggestions to the test this weekend, once we eat up all the yogurt from this batch (which won't take long).


  1. very cool!
    On Good Eats (and from a reader who just emailed me her yogurt recipe- I will share it), it was suggested that when you use frozen fruit, to compensate for the water... which adds extra liquid...

    I'm excited to do this- and totally up for another yogurt making session!! :) YAY

  2. lisa - i actually didn't add the fruit until after it was in my bowl with the granola. the yogurt itself was runny before being flavoured with fruit and syrup. i'd love to see that recipe though!