Yogurt - You Got to Love it!

Yogurt isn't just for eating. Here are several ways you can use yogurt for more than a healthy snack.

Rainy Day Kids

Why not try finger painting with the kids. Put a spoon full of yogurt into some separate dishes or in a muffin pan and add a drop of food coloring to each dish. The food coloring will actually bind to the yogurt's milk protein to make a completely edible finger paint. And the best part of all, kids of all ages get to play.

Copper Spots

Are those copper pots of yours full of spots? Here's a handy solution: apply one tablespoon of yogurt to your spots and leave on for five minutes. Rinse with some cool water and then dry with a soft cloth. The acids in the yogurt will actually dissolve the stains and you will end up with sparkling copper pots.

It was the Dog

Is your furry friend creating a stink? Sounds like a slow digestive track. All you have to do is mix two tablespoons of yogurt into your dog's dry food once a day until the problem disappears. The probiotics in the yogurt helps to boost the production of digestive enzymes and as a result the food is better absorbed and the end result is less gas.

Tough Meat

Since eating meat can be expensive, why not try this recipe to tenderize a cheaper cut. To one cup of yogurt, add 2 teaspoons of cumin, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 crushed garlic clove and 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley. Put the meat in a dish or bag, pour over the marinade and leave for 4 to 5 hours in the refrigerator. The lactic acid in the yogurt breaks down the connective tissue in the meat and as well gives a nice seasoning to the meat.

Cheese Please

Worried about too much fat in your cheese spread? Try this: line a colander with cheesecloth or use a coffee filter and place in a bowl. Pour 1 pint of yogurt into the colander and cover with plastic wrap. Put in the refrigerator for 24 hours. You can then mix in your favorite herbs and spices into the yogurt that has drained through into the bowl and enjoy a almost guilt-free pleasure.

Tender Tootsies

Looking to have soft feet for your summer shoes? In a bowl, combine 1/4 cup of finely ground walnuts (use your coffee grinder) with 1 cup of yogurt. Then using a damp face cloth rub the mixture into the hardened areas on your feet. After rinsing with warm water you will find that all those nasty dead cells are gone and you are left with sandal ready feet.

Yogurt Recipe

What You will Need:
Make sure you have all the necessary equipment before you begin preparing yogurt.

  • Double boiler that holds at least 5 cups.
  • Candy thermometer with a range of 100 degrees Fahrenheit to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Container for yogurt that holds at least 5 cups (glass, crockery, food-grade plastic or stainless steel), or use individual custard cups or jelly jars — then the yogurt can be eaten directly from the container in which it was made.
  • Other useful equipment: large spoon, large bowl, and aluminum foil or plastic wrap to cover yogurt containers if they don't have lids.
  • Incubator to maintain a constant temperature of 108 degrees Fahrenheit to 112 degrees. Fahrenheit when incubating yogurt. The most foolproof method for incubating yogurt is in a commercial yogurt-maker with an electrically heated base.

Thoroughly wash equipment for making yogurt and container(s) with hot, soapy water. Rinse everything thoroughly and air dry. A dishwasher can also be used. Pour boiling water into the yogurt container(s) and leave until ready to use.

Recipe for Plain Yogurt
This recipe makes 4 to 5 cups. Yogurt can be stored in the refrigerator for about 10 days. This recipe can be doubled or tripled with no loss of quality, but make sure you can use that amount in 10 days or less. Adjust pan and container size accordingly.

  • 1 quart milk (whole, lowfat, skim or reconstituted nonfat dry milk)
  • Nonfat dry milk powder — use 1/3 cup powder when using whole or lowfat milk, or use 2/3 cup powder when using skim or reconstituted nonfat dry milk
  • 1/4 cup commercial, unflavored, cultured yogurt*
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons sugar or honey (optional)
  • 1/2 package (1 teaspoon) unflavored gelatin (for thick, firm yogurt only)

* Note:To make yogurt at home, an active (living) yogurt culture is needed as a "starter." Commercial, unflavored cultured yogurt, from the supermarket is usually used as a starter. Yogurt starter cultures can also be purchased at health food stores, but are quite expensive compared to commercial cultured yogurt. Once you start making yogurt at home, save some of your homemade yogurt to "start" your next batch. For best results, however, purchase commercial cultured yogurt to replenish a homemade culture every four to five batches.

For Thin Yogurt:

  • Place cold, pasteurized milk in top of a double boiler and stir in nonfat dry milk powder. Add sugar or honey if a sweeter, less tart yogurt is desired.
  • Heat milk to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring gently and hold for 10 minutes. Do not boil.
  • Place top of double boiler in cold water to cool milk rapidly to 112 degrees Fahrenheit to 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Watch the temperature carefully as it falls rapidly once it reaches 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove pan from cold water.
  • Remove one cup of the warm milk and blend it with the yogurt starter culture. Add this to the rest of the warm milk. Temperature should now be 110 degrees Fahrenheit to 112 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Pour immediately into the clean hot container(s), cover and place in prepared incubator. Close incubator.
  • Incubate about 4 hours. Yogurt should be set. The longer the incubation time, the more tart or acidic the flavor.
  • Refrigerate immediately. Rapid cooling stops the development of acid. Yogurt will keep for about 10 days if held at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower (normal refrigerator temperature).

For Thick, Firm Yogurt:

  • Place cold, pasteurized milk in the top of a double boiler and stir in nonfat dry milk powder. Stir in sugar or honey if sweeter, less tart yogurt is desired. Sprinkle gelatin over the milk. Let stand for 5 minutes to soften gelatin.
  • Heat milk to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and hold for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring gently to dissolve gelatin. Continue from Step 3 under thin yogurt.

Different Types of Yogurt Incubators:

Using an Oven:
Prewarm oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and turn off. Use an oven thermometer to monitor temperature — do not let it drop below 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn oven on for short periods during incubation to maintain a temperature of 108 degrees Fahrenheit to 112 degrees Fahrenheit.

Using an Ice Chest:
Line an ice chest (picnic cooler) with aluminum foil. Place four, one-quart jars filled with hot water (about 140 degrees Fahrenheit) inside the ice chest with the yogurt container(s) and cover ice chest with a tight-fitting lid. Allow space between jars and container(s) of yogurt.

Using Card Board Boxes:
Nestle several cardboard boxes inside each other, placing crushed newspapers between each box. Continue as directed in Method B for ice chest.

Using a Thermos:
A simple way to incubate a small amount of yogurt is to pour the yogurt mixture into a wide-mouth thermos and cover with a tight lid. When the yogurt is ready, loosen the thermos lid before storing it in the refrigerator so the yogurt can cool rapidly.

Using a Heating Pad:
Set filled container(s) of yogurt on a towel-covered heating pad set on medium heat in a sheltered corner on a kitchen counter. Cover the jars with several towels.

Using a Yogurt Maker:
The most foolproof method for incubating yogurt is in a commercial yogurt-maker with an electrically heated base.  Using this method will ensure the yogurt is at a steady temperature for the correct length of time.  Some yogurt makers have a timer and will make a sound when the yogurt is ready.

Making Yogurt in a Food Dehydrator

If you have a dehydrator at home, then you can make perfect yogurt.  Yogurt needs to be kept between 108 and 112 degrees Fahrenheit in order for the yogurt to set.  Your dehydrator should have a thermostat and be able to hold the containers that you choose to use. 

The only other thing you need is a copy of your favorite yogurt recipe or use the one provided below.  You will need to pre-warm the dehydrator to 100 degrees while you prepare the mixture.  Once the mixture is ready to be incubated, place the containers filled with your yogurt mixture in the dehydrator and leave for the time noted in the recipe or until it gets to the consistency you require.

Now for Something Completely Different

Coconut yogurt is a great alternative to dairy/soy yogurt and making it is easier than you might expect. This video shows you how.

Yogurt Problems

Water Separation of Curds and Whey
If this is happening then the Incubation time was too long and as a result allowed the formation of too much acid. By shortening the incubation time and refrigerating yogurt as soon as it becomes firm you will eliminate this problem.

Insufficient Heat Treatment of Milk
Either the milk was not heated to 200 degrees Fahrenheit or it was not held at 200 degrees Fahrenheit as directed for thin or firm yogurt. Heat treatment changes the milk proteins so that the yogurt is firmer and whey does not separate so easily from the curds.

Yogurt Does Not Become Firm
This problem could be from an Inactive culture. The commercial, unflavored yogurt used for the starter must be fresh and contain live cultures.

Incubation Temperature Too High or Too Low
The temperature must be between 108 degrees Fahrenheit and 112 degrees Fahrenheit for the yogurt culture to grow properly. Temperatures above 115 degrees Fahrenheit cause separation or curdling and can destroy the active yogurt culture; while temperatures below 100 degrees Fahrenheit can stop the growth.

Interfering Substances Such As Detergent
Wash and thoroughly rinse all yogurt-making equipment and container(s) before making yogurt.

Off Flavors
The milk used could be too old or has curdled. Make sure to use fresh milk and fresh dry milk powder. Bacteria that cause off-flavors can grow along with the yogurt culture. To prevent the presence of unwanted bacteria, use a fresh, active yogurt culture. Thoroughly wash and rinse all yogurt-making equipment and container(s), hold container(s) in hot water while preparing yogurt and keep container covered during incubation.

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