Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Super simple handmade Greek Yogurt

I've been wanting to make yogurt for a few years now, but it's always kind of intimidated me.  I thought that there was all sorts of (probably expensive) equipment needed, that I'd have to mail-order a special yogurt culture starter, etc., and all of my online research verified this.  It was going to be an expensive and daunting task, so I put it off and kind of forgot about it.

A few days ago, I found the recipe for a very simple version of homemade yogurt on the blog JCasa. It uses only two ingredients, and if you own a pot, you have all of the equipment that you need.  Encouraged, I decided to take the plunge, and -- it worked!  The following is my slightly streamlined version of the already very simple recipe found there.


Thick, creamy Greek Yogurt -- oh my!

For the lactose intolerant among you, I've been told that you can culture this for 24 hours instead of the 8 I have here, and the yogurt culture digests all of the lactose for you, rendering it safe.  I haven't tried this yet, so tell me if you do!


Generously drizzled with Lyle's Golden Syrup

One last note -- not only is this stuff delicious and crazy simple to make, but it's also cheaper than buying yogurt at the store.  Yogurt generally costs 50 to 80 cents for 6 to 8 oz (regular or organic).  This, on the other hand, worked out to about 45 cents when using organic milk.  You could make it even more cheaply if you used regular milk -- or even powdered milk if your budget is really tight.)  I plan to try this next week with raw milk from the local dairy for cream-on-top yogurt.

Greek Yogurt
(Adapted from JCasa)

1/2 gallon milk
6 or 8 oz of plain yogurt

Pour all of the milk into a large pot.  Do not cover, because if you do, it will most likely boil over before you notice it.  Bring your milk just up to a simmer (a skin should form), but do not boil.  Allow to cool down to the point where you can stick your finger in for a 10-count, before it begins to burn you (for those of you who feel they just HAVE to use a thermometer, you're aiming for about 116°).  This will take at least 20 minutes in a warm-ish kitchen.

Dump the yogurt in and whisk thoroughly to incorperate.  Pour the mixture into a large lidded glass or plastic bowl, cover, and wrap in 5 or 6 kitchen dish-towels.  Set out on the counter overnight or for 8 hours.

Check to see that it has "set".  If it looks like yogurt, congratulations!  Success!!  If you want it to be greek yogurt, pour your new yogurt into a sieve that has been lined with two layers of cheesecloth, and set over a bowl.  Allow to drain for several hours in the refrigerator until it is as firm and creamy as you wish.  Turn your yogurt back out into the bowl and seal with a lid to store in the refrigerator.  (Alternately, lay paper towels over the surface of the yogurt to absorb the liquid, and change them out frequently until the yogurt firms up the way you want it.)

Be sure to save 1 cup of plain yogurt as the starter for your next batch.

Sprinkle with granola, stir jam into it, dress it with maple syrup, honey, Lyle's Golden Syrup, or dollop a spoonful plain into some spicy indian curry.  Alternately, you can add some vanilla extract and sugar or other sweetener to the entire bowl and mix well.


This yogurt has been 100% Lavella Approved


Truly, I cannot believe how easy this was to make.  So what are you waiting for?  Go make some yourself!

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