Friday, September 17, 2010
Last year my father sent my husband this book for his birthday. Within the first few minutes of flipping through it I saw the author gave a really simple method for making homemade yogurt, and just had to try it.
So why am I just getting to it now, exactly a year later? I'd like to use the excuse that the last year has been a bit crazy for us, and that yogurt making was just simply out of the question. But of course now that I've made it and can tell you just how incredibly simple and actually NOT time consuming it is, I realize that's a silly excuse. Whatever my reason for procrastination, the cure came in the form of my friend moving away, and emptying the contents of her fridge and pantry into my arms, including one little box of yogurt starter.
Now the recipe in the book above recommends using yogurt to start making yogurt...but I've heard from friends that the consistency isn't always quite...desirable. So you can see why I was happy to get my hands on some real yogurt starter.
Following package directions I used:
4 1/4 cups of whole milk
1 package of yogurt starter
The one necessary tool to make yogurt would be a candy thermometer, because you need have the milk at a precise temperature.
Start by heating up the milk in a pan on the stove to 180°. Stir the milk while heating, to avoid burning any on the bottom of the pan (really easy to do!) Once it reaches 180, remove from heat and let it drop down somewhere between 108°-112°. I usually pour the milk into a glass heatproof bowl, which helps the temperature drop. This will take a while, so feel free to make yourself a sandwich (but don't forget about it).
Once you've got your perfect temperature, use a cup to scoop out a bit of the warm milk, and add your starter to it. Once it's dissolved add it back and stir well.
Now cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and put it your oven with the pilot light on. That's it, just the light on, no other heat whatsoever.
Now you're going to let it incubate for at least 4 hours (I like to let mine sit for 6 to taste nice and tart). This is the point in which you can (somewhat) forget about the fact that you're making yogurt, and go out and enjoy your day, run some errands, etc.
Once you've reached the tartness you enjoy, pour it into containers and store in the fridge.
If you like flavoured or fruity yogurts go wild and add some vanilla extract, strawberries, peaches, whatever tickles your fancy. But my fancy isn't ticklish, so I leave it plain.