Friday, May 20, 2011

Yogurt Made At Home

I have been making yogurt for years. I like to make raw yogurt with our raw milk. It was always on the runny side. Everyone told me to add powdered milk or gelatin to the mix for a thicker yogurt. I really did not want to add anything other than milk and a starter culture, so we just used runny yogurt.

Then I got a yogurt cheese strainer and would drain my yogurt which made a thicker product. I lost a lot of volume because it was so runny to begin with, even though I would use the whey that drained for other things or would feed it to animals.

Well, I just learned a new trick that has really helped. A friend shared a Greek yogurt starter with me. Greek yogurt is a a very thick creamy yogurt to begin with. I used the starter to make a "mother" starter. I only made one cup the first time. For the "mother" starter, you have to heat the milk up to at least 160°. Then it is no longer considered raw. I went ahead and did that and then let the milk cool to about 112°. I added the starter, mixed it well and put it in my yogurt maker. I took it out about 12 hours later and it was THICK!!! This is just my "mother"starter. I use some of it to make the raw milk yogurt. I heat the raw milk up to about 112° and add 2 tsp. of the starter for each cup of milk I use. I mix the starter in and then place it in my yogurt maker. The raw milk yogurt is still not as thick as the starter is, but it is much thicker than it used to be. When my "mother" starter begins to get low, I can use it to make another batch of starter by heating the milk up to 160° again.

I got a Yogotherm for Mother's Day. The Cheesemaker carries this product. It is a non electric yogurt maker that makes up to 2 quarts at a time. This is nice because I give both dogs some raw yogurt every day. I have another friend who also bought it and loves it.

I did want to say something about the Yogurt Cheese Strainer. I still use this a lot and in fact I believe I am going to get a second one to use. You just pour the yogurt into the very finely screened insert and put it in your fridge. Once the yogurt drains, you have a very nice thick yogurt that tastes very much like sour cream. You could also use it in place of cream cheese. My friend told me that she used to drain her yogurt in cheese cloth and gave up. She got one of these and loves it. They use vanilla yogurt and then use the drained yogurt to spread on toast and bagels. Her children love it.

Yogurt is so good for you and so easy to make. This is a good first step for some of you to take toward feeding your family more healthy. If you have any questions, please ask away!!

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