10:24 AM

My Journey with Yogurt Part 2

Posted by Nicole |

Okay, I would not have thought myself a novice yogurt maker - just a self-critical one. So when my excitement at finding a culture to make my own Greek yogurt pushed me to buy it I thought I was on to something great! I would be able to recreate the rich, thick, creamy yogurt I would buy in mass amounts if my budget allowed for a fraction of the cost. Well... Here's how it went down.

My first culture that arrived turned out to be a dud. Perhaps it was damaged in shipping. More likely the batch was not able to culture properly due to something else. Either way, two failed attempts had me baffled and frustrated. Cultures for Health sent out a replacement batch (I highly recommend this company, great customer service and very helpful!) and I made attempt number three. To start with a dried culture the first batch of yogurt makes one cup. Then a subsequent batch is made with the first and you are on your way.

Greek yogurt is one part cream to three parts whole milk (rich and delicious!). This mixture is heated to 160 degrees and then cooled to 110 degrees. Once it is cooled, the dried culture (or 1-2 Tbsp of already made yogurt) are added and mixed thoroughly. The mixture is then put into yogurt containers bound for a yogurt maker or some other devise (a jar over a heating pad, crock pot, low set oven) that will hold 110 for as long as it takes to set. The instructions with my culture said the yogurt should set within 4.5 hours, although the first batch may take longer. My first attempt left me again frustrated when at 4.5 hours it was not set! I left it another couple hours and while it was not firm, I turned off the maker and put the yogurt in the fridge. The next morning the yogurt was definitely thicker than the day before but not as thick as I thought it should. Did I mention I am quite the critic?

My next batch turned out thicker than the previous. I left it in the maker for 8 hours (like I was doing with my homemade yogurt previously). The flavor is amazing! It has a rich, sweet flavor that is not at all sour like most store bought yogurts. It has a smooth consistency that I was never able to achieve while using commercial yogurt as a starter. It is still not as thick as I was really hoping but it is not thin. I made a batch using just whole milk and even that is thicker than other yogurts I have made. I hope the continuation of the culture will produce thicker yogurt over time, but I really don't know if that is how it works? I am applying sourdough culture isms to yogurt... Maybe a stretch.

Anyway, I am back to eating homemade yogurt almost daily and my one year old is loving it. My husband and kids enjoy it with fruit or honey. It is heavenly with granola and to all of you who have a sweet tooth, I highly recommend trying to adapt your taste buds to yogurt. It is much healthier and very satisfying. And while I am often too critical to feel I have found perfection in my own efforts to reproduce something so lovely as Greek yogurt (or other food icons such as the perfect pizza crust, a lemon cream sauce - you get the idea) I do know I have tapped into a great source for highly nutritious, less expensive, delicious yogurt.


Jenny @ Nourished Kitchen said...

Have you tried straining the yogurt? That can yield a beautiful, thick yogurt. I think it's awesome when the whole family can enjoy something so delightfully nourishing.

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