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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Make Your Own Yogurt

I warned you I'd be writing lots of posts on what to do with goats' milk.  Last weekend I made homemade yogurt for the first time in a couple of years.  If you don't have a yogurt maker, this does take a little time and attention.  I've found that if I'm short on either, the yogurt still turns out OK, and if the consistency isn't quite what I'd like, I stick it in the freezer and make frozen yogurt.  Here's the recipe I follow to some extent.  Much of my yogurt making experience has been trial and error though.


First, you need to scald 4 cups of milk.  I've only ever used our fresh goats' milk, so I'm not sure how pasteurized, homogenized milk from the supermarket works.  Watch and stir this often so it doesn't burn and stick to the bottom of the pan.  Once scalded, cool it to a temperature of 95-115 degrees.  I use a dairy thermometer to keep track of the temperature.  You'll be using this all day if you don't have a yogurt maker.

Once the milk is the desired temperature, pour into a Pyrex dish, and add 1 cup dry milk powder, 4 Tablespoons of plain yogurt with active cultures (I use Stoneyfield plain organic yogurt,) and 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin that has been softened in 1/4 cup cold water.  Mix well.  The gelatin is optional.  I use it to make the yogurt more firm.  Place the lid on the dish and put in a warm oven with the oven light kept on.  I usually warm the oven to 170 degrees, and then turn it off.

Every couple of hours, you'll need to take the lid off and make sure the temperature of the yogurt remains between 95-115 degrees.  If it's getting low, turn the oven back on to a low setting for a few minutes, and then turn off again.  I have also tried placing dishtowels around the Pyrex plate to maintain warmth.  That's also why you keep the oven light on.  Incubate for 3-9 hours.  There's just no way of knowing when you start, how long it will take until your yogurt is the consistency you desire.  Mine usually takes most of the day.

Once it is finished incubating, I add ingredients for flavor: fresh fruit or vanilla and honey.  This time I added raspberry syrup.

If you like, you can place the entire container in your freezer for frozen yogurt.  Mine was still a little too watery for my family's taste, so I froze it.  Even with over 1/3 of a bottle of syrup, most of my children didn't think it tasted sweet enough---which goes to show how much sugar is put in the commercial brands that my kids love.  My children did like this frozen though---after I let them add some sprinkles or chocolate syrup.  I really prefer using fresh fruit and vanilla, with just a little bit of honey.   

Natural yogurt with live, active cultures is one of the best foods you can give your digestive system.  Give it a try this weekend

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