Wednesday, April 27, 2011

homemade yogurt

my mother is not a hippie
she would never be mistaken as "granola"
birkenstocks have never graced her perfectly manicured feet
when i was a kid
the dogs were fed brewer's yeast
our bread came from the health food store
red dye no. 2 was banned from the house
our yogurt was homemade

i thought it was so lame
my friends were eating
yogurt with dreamy flavors
coffee, chocolate and lemon swirl
while i  
was being brainwashed to believe
that mine
 while not sweet like pudding
was filled with acidolphilus
my best defense
against turistas
if ever i found my 8 year old self in mexico
with a head of  unwashed lettuce in one hand
a tall glass of tap water in the other

here in lies the rub
as an adult
i love homemade yogurt
finding myself extolling the virtues
good bacteria
without apology
to anyone who will listen

 homemade yogurt
1/2 gallon milk (i use 2%)
1/4 cup good quality plain yogurt-room temperature
jams, jellies, honey, fruit--to serve

preheat oven to 185F.  heat milk in a pot that will best retain temperature over low heat until it reaches 185F.  once it reaches the desired temperature, pop it into the preheated oven and allow to sit for 30 minutes.  remove from oven and allow the milk to cool to 110F. when the milk has cooled to 110F add the yogurt and stir well.  it is important to keep the milk at 110F for the next 7-10 hours.(i have a warming oven that i use which will keep a consistent low temperature.  other methods can be a warming pad, creating a foil tent over a electric skillet, testing the residual heat of an upper oven, while the lower oven is on, placing the pot in a water bath and keeping the water at 110F)
after 7-10 hours you will see thickened milk soaking in the whey.  give this a good stir, then spoon into containers and  place in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours before eating.  

what i do next is not necessary, but hubster and i have different ideas about how thick yogurt should be. i like mine extra thick, he doesn't.  i place the yogurt in a sieve lined with cheesecloth over a large bowl, and let it sit for a few hours or overnight. the yogurt becomes the consistency of cream cheese, and the whey collects in the bowl.   i place the yogurt in one container and the whey in another.  when i make up my pots of yogurt, i whisk in enough whey to achieve the desired consistency. the extra thick yogurt is great as a spread on bread or for flavored dips.


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