It was supposed to be a quick, easy learning experience. Heat milk, cool it down, stir in live yogurt and put in dehydrator. Wait 4-8 hours.
Instead, I appeared to walk in quicksand. The faster I moved, the slower things got done. I actually laughed at my futility last evening and how much trouble I had bringing milk to an almost boil and then cooling it precisely. It was a great night – just not the one I had planned.
Making yogurt appears fairly simple. I am not a pro yet, but here’s what I tried based on reading a lot of stuff:
- Heat 1 quart (liter) of any type of milk to a near boil. 200 degrees Ffarenheit seems optimal (some material said to boil it). Using a double boiler (the pot with milk is suspended in a slightly larger one with boiling water to avoid direct heat on the milk) will help avoid burning and require less stirring. It also slows you way down – especially if you don’t put a cover on.
- Some recipes called for powdered mil at this point – it was generally optional and increased health benefit and creaminess. I did not add it.
- Once your milk is at temperature, you need to lower the temp to between 110-120 degrees (no lower). You can speed this up by putting your bowl in a cold water bath to cool it down. This would have been even quicker if I had transferred it to a new bowl and used the water bath.
- Preheat the dehydrator. We put ours at 115 – again having read anything from 110-120.
- Add 1/4-1/2 a cup of yogurt to milk (I did this as my milk hit 130 as I didn’t want to drop under 110). The yogurt must be plain and must contain live bacteria culture – we are fermenting and creating more bacteria in this process.
- Pour the entire mixture into a container. Many use plastic yogurt containers – I opted for a glass mason jar (1 liter wide mouth for easy access and cleaning)
- Put in dehydrator for 4-8 hours until your desired thickness is reached. Note it will set a little more in the fridge than when warm and that it’s natural for a skin to form on the surface of your yogurt that you simply throw out.
I’ve had a taste of the warm product and it’s definitely yogurt like. I suspect I am going to be thrilled with the final product and, despite my inner turtle, this was a lot of fun and could be made very easily.
A few other tidbits:
- the longer it stays in the dehydrator, the tangier it will be.
- It may continue to set for several days.
- You can drain the whey (the liquid) or miz it in once set.
- It should last 1-2 weeks. If you are using some of this yogurt to create another batch, it is best to do so within 5-7 days.
There were a lot of yogurt nuts when we posted about thickening yogurt – any tips out there on making yogurt from your experiences ?