This falls in the weird and quirky category. no, not the yogurt making – I plan on subjecting you to my rambling first. Between the ages of 13 and 17 I lived in Zaire (Republic of Congo now) and Kenya, East Africa. For a few years I went to a boarding school, but when we first arrived (my parents and 2 siblings and I) we lived together at the Missionary Kids’ School. (there are SOOO many stories I could tell from that time – but none of them relate to the #gfree lifestyle. but i DO like to talk, so maybe I will one day anyway.) Ahem. My parents were the dorm parents for the intermediate children (us included), and my Mom ran the school cafeteria – which was so much more than a cafeteria. This was the “Dining Hall” – the place we stumbled into for breakfast, the place we celebrated birthdays, visited in the afternoons, set tables, washed dishes – it was home. And I also learned that you could make yogurt. In fact we had our own herd of diary cattle and, ah, how to put it delicately? Beef cattle? We had chickens and dogs, and cats – it was very much like farm life. Anywho. When the milk came from the cows, it was from the cows, know what I mean? It was pasteurized in the Dining Hall, cream was scooped off, and cheese, cottage cheese, and yogurt was made. And that brings me to, well, me!
We are a yogurt family. Mike started eating it when he was on weight watchers and discovered he could actually eat 200 ml of the stuff for only 60 calories. (zero, source brands) I love it because its smooth and creamy – I loooove smooth and creamy – chip dip, pudding, yogurt, ice cream, mashed anything, creamy soup, I’m basically a lazy chewer. The kids like it because its sweet, and I don’t feel guilty feeding them this pre-packaged snack. Anyhow, we spend approx $12 – $18 on yogurt every week. Ridiculous, right? And since we’re going to be using 200% of our grocery budget to buy fair trade, organic, gluten free, pesticide free, grass-fed, granola-eating, fresh-fried, from our back yard, Christian meat, I figured I should find ways to cut corners in the other areas.
Am I not freaking domestic? I didn’t even know I had it in me. And now, I’ll let you in on my secret:
How to Make Yogurt:
- Heat milk (lots of it – I use approx. 2 liters) over medium heat to 180° F. Stirring occasionally.
- Add 1/2 cup of plain active-bacteria yogurt per 2 liters of milk.
- Add sweetening if desired (I used vanilla flavored liquid stevia which was excellent)
- Cool to 110 – 115°F. I was using our meat thermometer (since its getting lonely these days) and hung it over the side of the pot so it wasn’t touching the pan but was deep in the milk.
- Add to warmed oven and keep between 110 – 115° for 9 – 12 hours*
* When I did 12 hours exactly we ended up with a nice cottage-cheesy texture. The kids were not so fond of it. So next time I did 11-12ish hours – was still cottage-cheesy. If I ever get the perfect texture I’ll update this post.
Note: To keep the yogurt at this temperature – I put my yogurt in a warmed oven, and kept the thermometer in it. I placed my milk mixture into two one liter sized containers, covered them, and wrapped them in a tea towel, placed them in the oven, turned the oven off, and kept the light on. This seemed to work fairly well for me.
This last time, I left the sweetener out because I really like the tangy taste of plain yogurt, especially when you put gobs of jam in it. Now- I wonder if I leave out buckets of fruit, it’ll turn into jam?