MRY Recipe: Easy Homemade Yogurt
If you are living on a limited budget, want to know exactly what you are eating, or are on a restricted diet then knowing how to make all your food yourself is a needed skill. As an added bonus most from scratch projects are quite simple, economical, and taste great. You only need to find good directions from someone willing to talk about what works and why and what did not work so well.
Last winter I decided to learn to make my own yogurt. I searched online for the yogurt maker that would work the best for me. I found lots of suggestions on how to use my crockpot to make yogurt and lots of reviews for yogurt makers. After considering my own home situation, needs, and the expense of the various yogurt making equipment I decided to purchase the In the long run it has proven itself to be a great choice but I did not think so after my first two botched attempts at making my own yogurt. I had visions of creamy smooth, slightly tangy yogurt dancing in my head. My little yogurt jars, however, contained a sloppy mess that was not worth eating. It tasted awful and the texture was worse! Euro Cuisine Digital Automatic Yogurt Maker YMX650.
Fortunately I did not give up after batch number 2. I began to experiment with the base recipe included in the owner's manual. I saw vast improvement when I lengthened the time I left my yogurt in the warmer from the suggested 7 to 9 hours to 11 hours. I have finally settled on 12 hours being the optimum time. I also experimented with the commercial yogurt I use as my starter. I prefer to use Greek style yogurts such as Fage or Chobani. Both of these starters produced a good but somewhat grainy yogurt. To remedy that I began to whip the shucky darns out of my milk/yogurt starter mixture before pouring it into my yogurt maker. That, too, helped. My biggest breakthrough came quite by accident and only because I am frugal. Some people might even call me cheap. I noticed that Safeway had their Open Nature yogurt on sale for a better price than my intended Chobani purchase. To make the purchase even more attractive Open Nature does not use milk from cows treated with rBST (Recombinant bovine somatotropin). This is a synthetic growth hormone used to force higher milk production in cows. It is not nice to do this to cows and, as it turns out, is not good for people either. I largely avoid purchasing dairy products made with rBST treated milk.
By the time I discovered Open Nature I had made more than a dozen batches of yogurt, each better than the batch before. I was now hooked on making my own and determined to produce a smooth, creamy, slightly tangy yogurt. Here is owner's manual base recipe revised to give me the yogurt I wanted every time.
MRY (Mary's Revised Yogurt)
5 ¼ cups organic milk (I prefer whole milk but 2% is acceptable)
1 container (6 ounces) plain Open Nature Yogurt
Heat milk just to the boiling point (180°) in a large sauce pan. Keep milk at this temperature for 2 minutes to kill off the resident bacteria so that only those from the starter will determine the nature and quality of your yogurt. Remove pan from the heat and let milk cool to 115°.
Place the plain yogurt in an 8-10 cup mixing bowl. large enough to hold all of the milk.
When the milk has cooled then whisk 2 cups of it into the yogurt. Then blend this well for 10 seconds in a blender. Pour back into bowl and whisk the rest of the cooled milk in. I then blend it all for 30 seconds before pouring into my yogurt glasses. Sometimes my blending has caused the milk/yogurt mixture to become so foamy that I have to carefully spoon the last bit into the glasses.
Do not cap the jars but do place the cover over your yogurt maker. Set the timer for 12 hours and do not disturb it at all. I learned that the hard way, too!
I time my yogurt making so that the timer goes off a few minutes before I go to work. I then cap each jar and place it in the refrigerator. The yogurt is cooled, thickened, and ready to be flavored as I please by evening. The yogurt needs a minimum of 3 hours to cool. I prefer a full 8 hours of cooling time.
I have discovered lots of favorite sweetening and flavoring tricks including my home canned fruit syrups (intended to be poured over pancakes), maple syrup, and honey. I typically add a banana to my yogurt. It not only tastes good but it adds some much needed potassium to my diet.