Thursday, September 16, 2010

It Takes Yogurt to Make Yogurt

It Takes Yogurt to Make Yogurt

This post has a lot of pictures of milk. That's not very exciting. oh well.

I really like yogurt. It tastes delightful and is a great way to get some Calcium and Vitamin D. It’s a probiotic too, which means it promotes the good “flora” of your gut. Wow.

I’ve recently gotten into making my own yogurt at home, and I really like the results.  This summer I bought a Euro Cuisine Automatic Yogurt Maker on the internet.  Basically, it’s an incubator.  And the “automatic” part? It shuts off when it is done…..but you need to put it in the fridge immediately after, so I feel like the automatic part isn’t entirely necessary. 
My little yogurt maker

Oh? What’s that? You’d like to know about homemade yogurt and food safety? Well, I’ve been eating it and I’m still alive and kicking.  In all seriousness, though, you should be careful.  I recommend perusing this webpage from The National Center for Home Food Preservation before you begin:

They have a recipe similar to what I used on the site.  I didn’t use a double boiler, though. I can, however, totally see the advantages of using it, seeing as how I spent most of the time I was heating the milk anxiously checking for signs of scalding/scorching. (Made cheese for the first time the other day and scalded the milk.  That does not taste super delicious.  I need some copper-bottomed pots and pans :) )

Anyway, back to my yogurt.
So, I follow the manufacturer’s directions fairly closely since I’m somewhat of a yogurt making novice.  They tell you to use the glass jars the machine comes with to measure- so that is what I did.
So, I did 7 jars of milk (nonfat), and heated it very slowly while stirring (to avoid scalding it) to 180ºF.  Heating the milk first makes the yogurt firmer in the end.  The very first time I made yogurt, I didn’t do this, and my yogurt was very….drinkable. 

Then I popped the pot into my lazy-girl’s ice bath (aka I dumped a bunch of ice in the sink and added water) to cool down the milk, because if you put the starter culture in while it is hot, terrible things happen, like the whey separates out and you have yogurt-cheese.  (This happened to my mother and I. But our dog really enjoyed eating our mistake)

Once it was nice and cool, I poured in 1 jar of plain yogurt as a starter culture.  (It takes yogurt to make yogurt!)  Then, I whisked it until it was all nice and combined.

Then, I just poured it into my cute little yogurt jars and put it in my yogurt maker. (You have to leave the lids off, according to my machine’s manual)  Now, I was doing this in the early evening, so I set the machine for about 12 hours so that when I got up in the morning I could pop them in the fridge.  The longer you let it go, the tangier it gets. Or at least that is what the user’s manual indicates.

All done! And quite delicious with a little honey, fruit, and granola! 

Oh, and let’s have a little economy moment.

The average store-brand 6-8oz container of yogurt costs about 35 cents.
I bought ONE for my starter culture (it has to be plain).  Then I bought a half-gallon of milk which was on sale for 89 cents.
So, when all was said and fermented, I had seven 6 oz jars of yogurt for $1.24.
If I bought 7 containers at the store for 35 cents each, that’s $2.45
I saved $1.21.  Of course, that doesn’t consider my labor or opportunity cost.  Luckily, I enjoyed doing this, so maybe we can consider that added value? I think my enjoyment was at least worth 3 dollars.  So really, I almost made money doing this.  Except no one counts that way, especially not the bank, so I didn’t.
But isn’t that sort of great?


  1. I love your yogurt! It's delicious!
    Mom :)

  2. Hi Courtney, This is Xiaokui~ Nice Blog!