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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Project Cheese:Yogurt!

Making yogurt is easy, requires no special ingredients and almost no special equipment.  As one who has never really liked store bought yogurt, and still doesn’t, I’d ever had much incentive to make my own.  Yogurt was yogurt and I just didn’t like yogurt, right?  Wrong!

While interning and living with Ayse and Jens on Marvellous Edibles Farm I was introduced to REAL yogurt, Ayse makes it, and it is heavenly!  I could eat the stuff plain!  Could’ve eaten it by the bucket!  It was so good!

So naturally, when I moved in with Bekah later that year, I couldn’t wait to make my own!  But Ayse used whole, unpasteurized milk which she got cheep from a friend, and that stuffs hard to find (and expensive) when your living in city.  I had to put my yogurt making aspirations on hold.  Until … I found this recipe for making yogurt from cow-pow (powdered milk)!

Now we make and eat yogurt all the time!  We put it into smoothies, eat it with chilli, on stew, with berries, or plain and straight from the jar while standing in a dark kitchen at midnight (don’t be like us). Making yogurt is easy, it takes only three ingredients and a little bit of patience.  Anyone can do it!  Here’s how:

  1. Half fill a medium sized pot or saucepan with water and put it to heat on the stove.
  2. In a smaller pot (that will fit inside the previous one) thoroughly mix 2 cups cow-pow with 4 cups water.
  3. Place the smaller pot inside the larger one (creating a crude “double boiler”).

  1. Heat the milk to 180°F (about 80°C) stirring occasionally (use a thermometer for this, one with a little clip that attaches to the pot.  I use a “candy thermometer,” it costs about $4).

  1. Once the milk has reached 180 rapidly cool it to about 115°F (I do this by placing the pot containing the milk in a cold water bath in the sink).

  1. Add a small quantity (2-4 Tbsp at least but more is better) of plain yogurt (store bought works fine, look for the organic stuff containing “active bacteria cultures”) and stir to dissolve the yogurt.  At this point I divulge from the standard method by pouring the warm milk into 2 500ml glass jars in which I have already placed the yogurt “starter,” sealing the jars and shaking them violently mixes the yogurt and milk!

  1. Keep the mixture warm for about 8 hours while it “incubates” (I wrap my 2 jars of mix in a large blanket with an extra jar of hot water)
  2. After incubation the yogurt is technically ready, you can eat it at this point and it tastes fine, but refrigerating it for a few hours to a day really improves the taste and texture.

That’s all folks! This method is totally customizable and forgiving; we’re even going to try adding flavourings like vanilla in the future.

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