Archive for July, 2012

Homemade Greek Yogurt

July 20, 2012

After much too long an absence, Squirrel Mama is back with new recipes to share.  I’ve been cooking with my next-door neighbor Alexandra, and she mentioned a friend makes home-made yogurt and it’s easy.  So after some research, I embarked on the journey myself and she’s right, it’s really easy.  The yogurt pictured below was my second attempt.  My first attempt came out perfect except a day later, Johnny said the yogurt was a bit watery.  So the second time around, I folded the straining cloths over the yogurt and placed a bag of dry beans on top.  I over strained it and came up with yogurt cheese (labneh) instead.  It was still delicious, I used it as a substitute for cream cheese in a smoked salmon spread (recipe later).  But to thin it back to Greek Yogurt consistency, I simply added back some of the whey, used my Cuisinart immersion blender to blend everything back together and voila Greek yogurt again.

GREEK YOGURT

Ingredients:

½ gallon pasteurized (not ultra pasteurized) milk (can be homogenized) (I used 1 percent low-fat milk)

½ cup yogurt with live cultures (I used Fage 2 percent reduced-fat Greek yogurt)

IMPORTANT: use an accurate thermometer that can read temperatures between 110 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pour milk into a slow cooker (“Crockpot”) set on the high setting and cover and heat to 180 degrees.  In my cooker, it took about 2 hours, I started checking after 1 ½ hours.  When the milk reaches 180 degrees.  Turn the cooker off, unplug it and uncover the pot.  Let milk cool to 110 degrees (plus or minus 5 degrees is OK but do not go higher or you will kill the yogurt cultures, or lower in which you will inhibit coagulation).  In my cooker, this took about an hour.

When the milk reaches 110 degrees, put the ½ cup yogurt (“starter”) into a small bowl and ladle in about 1 cup of milk. Whisk well and return the yogurt-milk mixture to the warm milk .  Whisk well again and cover the pot.  Wrap the pot in two thick bath towels and leave on the counter top for 6-7 hours.

Unwrap the towels and set them aside.  Lift the lid and you should have yogurt.  Stir it well. Set aside ½ cup of the yogurt in a small clean covered container to use as a “starter” for your next batch.  Line a colander set in a bowl (or if you have a metal steamer bowl insert that fits over a pot you can use that) with a two clean pillow cases or six-eight layers of cheese cloth.  Ladle the yogurt into the cloth lined colander/steamer insert.  Cover it and put it in the refrigerator overnight.

The next morning you will have thick Greek-style yogurt in the colander.  Spoon it into clean containers.  It will keep for ten days or ore.  Drain off any liquid (whey) that may collect from resting, or you can mix it back in.  You can wash the straining cloths in mild detergent and reuse them.  Do not use any fabric softener when you wash or dry them.

The whey (liquid) that collects under the colander is high in protein can be added to smoothies, used to make bread or you can drink it flavored with spices. I made a wonderful multigrain bread with it and the recipe will appear in a couple of days. You can also feed the whey to your dog (they are supposed to love it).

½ gallon of milk makes about 1 quart of Greek yogurt, so it gets reduced to about on half its original volume.  YES IT’S THAT EASY TO MAKE, and a lot cheaper than Greek yogurt from the store.  You can even make it with organic milk and it will still be cheaper than non-organic Greek yogurt.  For those interested in food safety and troubleshooting here’s an excellent link.  http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/nchfp/factsheets/yogurt.html

© Lisa L. Pan, all rights reserved.

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