Tuesday, October 2, 2012

It's all Greek to me!

I love Greek yogurt! I love regular yogurt too but Greek yogurt is so creamy and delicious with even more protein than regular. The only problem is, it's a little pricey so I decided to try another adventure in scratch cooking and make my own. It was a success and very easy! If you can almost boil milk, you can make Greek style yogurt. I recommend reading all the instructions before you begin!

Ingredients:

  • A 1/2 gallon of Milk- I used 1% milk because we like low fat yogurt. You can use whatever type you prefer, I'm sure 2% or whole milk would be even more delicious!
  • 3 Tbsp. of plain yogurt- It must have live and active cultures in it! This is what "yogurts" your milk.
  • A cooking thermometer
  • Cheese cloth
  • A strainer or colander
  • A double boiler or pot
  • A heating pad
  • A few dish towels
  • A spoon- wooden spoons add a little nostalgia and will make you feel more home-cooked glam!


Directions:
First, all but 2 Tbsp. of your milk into the pot or double boiler. The advantage of using a double boiler is that you won't have to sit there and stir for ages. If you use a regular pot (like I did) you have to attend to the milk by stirring it frequently to avoid it scalding on the bottom. Heat the milk on medium to 180 degrees. Do not boil it!! This took me about 25 minutes.


Unless you use a double boiler you must stir often!
Mix your yogurt with 2 tbsp. of milk.
Pull the milk off the burner once it reaches 180 degrees and pour it into a glass or ceramic bowl or dish. Set the dish onto a cooling rack and leave it uncovered. Let it cool to between 105 and 110 degrees. I set my thermometer on the rim of the bowl and left it there so I could watch it. Don't stir it or disturb the film that will form on top. This took about 45 minutes in my kitchen.

While that's cooling stir the 2 Tbsp. of milk you set aside into 2-3 Tbsp. of your plain yogurt in a little bowl. Mix them well and set that aside.

Once your milk has reached between 105 and 110 degrees, add the yogurt/ milk mixture to the bigger bowl of milk. Mix it gently and cover the bowl with a dish towel. Set your heating pad to low and set the covered bowl of milk onto the heating pad. Let it "cook" for 8 hours. Once it's finished cooking, stir the yogurt to check the consistency. If it doesn't seem thick enough for your taste let it cook for another hour or two, checking it each hour. Warning: The longer the yogurt "cooks" the more sour it will become. Mine wasn't very thick after 8 hours but I cared more about it being smooth and tasty than anything so I took it off.

Congratulations!! You just made yogurt; if you want Greek yogurt continue on...
Next, put your yogurt into the fridge and let it cool down for at least three hours. I let mine cool overnight for good measure and because I was busy.

After your yogurt is cool you will strain it. Line a colander or strainer with 4 layers of cheesecloth and spray them down with water so they are damp. Place the strainer into a bowl or dish and pour your yogurt into the strainer. Let it strain for an hour in the fridge. Dump  out the whey (the liquid that strains out) and repeat again. The more liquid you remove, the creamier and thicker your yogurt will be.
Use 4 layers of cheesecloth in your colander to strain the yogurt.
Once your yogurt has been adequately strained, put it into containers and refrigerate. Congratulations, you just made Greek yogurt from scratch!!
I topped mine with Kashi and a little honey!
Tips:

  • Resist the temptation to use more than 2-3 tbsp. of yogurt in your mix. The more "crowded" the cultures (i.e. bacteria) get in your yogurt, the more sour it will become as it "cooks".
  • If you don't have a heating pad you can use your oven to cook the yogurt. Simply preheat the oven to 175 degrees. When your yogurt is cooled and you've mixed in the cultures wrap the bowl in dish towels to insulate it, turn off the oven, set the bowl in the oven and turn the oven light on. This only works if your oven light gives off heat so check that first!!


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