Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Sometime last year I found this little yogurt machine at a flea market in Germany. It sat on my shelf for awhile before I finally got brave enough to give it a try. I bought yogurt starter from a health food store in Utah, but you can use unsweetened unflavored yogurt with live cultures if you can't get your hands on a starter. I plan on making my next batch with some leftovers from my first batch.
This was a little bit time consuming because you need to bring the milk up to a high heat, then let it cool a bit and keep it at a consistent temperature for several hours afterwards. Luckily you don't need to babysit it the whole time, but you will want to have a thermometer to keep track of things. The yogurt machine is basically a little incubator. It keeps it at a consistent temperature. If you don't have a yogurt machine, I understand a heating pad placed under your container(s) and a towel on top will also work.
You will need:
4 cups milk (I used 1.5%)
1/3 cup powdered milk (from reading it looks like this is optional, but it will make for a thicker yogurt)
Yogurt starter or 1/2 cup pre-made yogurt.
In a heavy bottomed pan, slowly heat the milk over a low-medium heat. Add your powdered milk. You will want to bring the milk up to a temperature of 170 F (77 C) without it boiling. My thermometer is on a probe so I could hang it over the edge of the pan to keep track and I've also seen them with clips that hang on the side of the pan. Once you hit 170 F (77 C), remove from heat and let the milk cool. This time your aim is to cool the milk to a temperature of about 110 F (44 C). You can put the pot in the fridge so that it will cool faster, but I just let it sit out until it was cooled enough.
When the milk is cool enough, add your yogurt starter (or pre-made yogurt). Mix well.
Pour into your containers. As you can see in my picture, I have 6 little containers so I split the amount of yogurt between each cup. I don't see any reason that you couldn't just use one big jar.
You want to keep your yogurt warm (110F or 44C) for 4-8 hours. As I understand it, the longer you leave the yogurt the thicker and tarter it will become. I kept mine in the yogurt machine for about 5 1/2 hours and then put it in the fridge. Let the yogurt hang out in the fridge overnight and it'll be ready to eat the next day.
You can add your goodies into the yogurt before eating. This was pretty good plain, but I did add some sweetner and raspberries to one of the jars I ate.