Friday, 22 June 2012

My Attempt at Homemade Yogurt

A few years ago I read about a man who saved all his trash for year. He discovered that by far his number one source of waste was food packaging. Although I will never reach the level of The Zero Waste Home, I am interested in reducing some of the food packaging that comes into my house. One item we consume a great deal of per week is yogurt. I have hemmed and hawed over buying a yogurt maker but adding another appliance to my overstuffed kitchen runs counter to my attempts at minimalism. Therefore after recieving encouragement and inspiration from Jo at Simply Being Mum, who writes a great weekly post about reducing food waste, I choose to try the slow cooker method. Thereby using an already underutilized kitchen appliance.

What have I learned?  Two successes out of five and the reason why? Me and my foggy Mommy brain. Please tell me Mommy brain really does exist so I have an excuse for my spaced out behaviour.  I adapted my recipe from this site. Making your own yogurt is not complicated people, remembering that I am in the process of making yogurt and to follow the steps apparently is beyond my current capacity. Here are the steps I followed.




1. Heat 4 cups/1 liter milk to 180F. - in my slow cooker this took about 1.5 hours. Most recipes used 8 cups/ 2 liters, but I suspected I may have trouble and didn't want to waste too much milk.


2. Turn off heat and let milk cool to 110F, this usually takes 3-3.5 hours.


3. Take out 1 cup/250ml and wisk in 1/4 cup/ 75ml skim milk powder and 1/4 cup/ 75ml yogurt.


4. Wisk the mixture back into the crockpot. Cover. I usually put it on low for 10-15min to get it back up to 110F. Then leave it for 8-10 hours. The first few times I covered it with a big towel, then I remembered the insulation bag the crockpot came with and used it.


5. Voila. 1 liter of homemade yogurt. I usually strained some of it overnight in the fridge with a coffee filter or cheesecloth over a strainer and in the morning had delicious yogurt cheese to spread on toast.

Troubleshooting: 

Where did I got wrong? It was always the forgetting that I was making yogurt that day. Once in the reheating up to 110F I forgot to set the timer and headed out the door with the girls. When I got home I'd overheated it and killed the bacteria in the starter (yogurt added in). Another time I got home late and forgot all about the yogurt ready and waiting for me to transfer it to the fridge. Finally I didn't calculate out how long it would take me, which resulted in it being ready 2 hours after I go to bed. I took it off early and drained it in the fridge for yogurt cheese...so it was salvaged. Really not huge fails, more just pains.

I think it is time for me to give my friend's mom a call. I remember her always having a batch of homemade yogurt on the go that we would use to complement the delicious, spicy East Indian food she made. I'm sure her method is less complicated that mine! Maybe I can get her paratha recipe at the same time. Salivating just thinking of it.

Have you ever made homemade yogurt? Do you have an easier method?






8 comments:

  1. I started using the same recipe (unadapted though, I don't measure the temperature) a few months ago and really like it, but have run into the same problems of forgetting when to turn it off, when to add starter ect. I try and time it so that it's ready right before bed so it can drain overnight in the fridge. I was saving the whey with the idea of making my own ricotta, but haven't got around to it yet. (http://www.fiascofarm.com/dairy/ricotta.html )

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    1. I saw a woman making Ricotta on PBS a couple of months ago. She made it look so easy, I've been wanting to try it ever since. I'll have to give it a try one of these days! Thanks for the link!

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  2. We make it ~1 a week and have done so for about a year. It goes w/ our homemade granola (been doing that for ~8 years) or flax/hemp/berries. We used to buy alot of yogurt, but now we're down to one commercial tub every two weeks or so (for the starter and in-between batches). I have tried a few methods but in the end we purchased a 'yogurt-maker' from Amazon (Eurocuisine, 2L). I didn't like the extra gadget but it does seem to do a very good job aiding in consistency. I heat the milk up on the stovetop w/ supervision to prevent scalding/burning then mix w/ fresh yogurt (nothing else). We don't drain it at all. The key is to start a batch at either ~2pm (so it's ready for the fridge at ~10pm) or ~8pm (so that it goes into the fridge when you wake up). I'll do the 2pm batch on a weekend and the 8pm on a weekday if needed.

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    1. If only I had the Scoffield Organization Gene! When I follow the steps correctly the consistency is good, I just like to take 1/4-1/2 of it and strain it overnight to get the cream cheese texture yogurt cheese to spread on toast. Would love your homemade granola recipe or does Kim have it on her site, I should check it out? http://milkybeercooks.blogspot.ca/

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    2. Yeah she does....at this point I couldn't tell you the recipe since I change it probably every time.

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  3. Whoa - it still looks complicated - I reckon I have some strange mental block on this one. I love my slow-cooker, but not sure about using it for yoghurt - serious kudos to you Danielle at giving it such a respectable go! Just read Trevor's comment. May try the hob... I'm a bit scared! Wish me luck!

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    1. You can do it Jo! I have a tendency to make things more complicated than necessary. You are such a pro at everything else homemade, I'm sure once you jump in you'll find this pretty straightforward. Good luck!

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  4. Okay, I'll give homemade yogurt a go again. My last attempt was dismal! My family is clamoring for frozen yogurt pie, so will need some yogurt for that!

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