February 16, 2013

Making Yogurt: Experiments 1-4

I was absolutely determined to make yogurt.  Real, yummy delicious yogurt, the nice thick kind that can stand on its own in a dish, supporting a big spoon full of fruit.

Yogurt has so many good things going for it!  I eat it almost daily and contribute my resistance to stomach viruses and my greatly improved acid-reflux to the habit.  You can read more about the benefits and some tasty ways to use it in my “Ode to Yogurt”.

Attempts #1 and #2

Attempts 1 and 2 were made simultaneously.  The only difference between the two was that #1 was made from pasteurized milk from the dairy and #2 was made from reconstituted powdered milk.

Live yogurt for starter

I used the “thermos” method, found in detail HERE.

Basically, the thermos method is as follows.

  1. Heat 1 cup of milk to 165-185 degrees F (use a candy thermometer – or, wait until you are starting to see some bubbles rising but the milk is not yet boiling).
  2. Remove the milk from the heat and allow it to drop to 105-110 degrees F.
  3. Gently stir in the starter (1 tablespoon of yogurt with live cultures).  You want it to be well-combined but don’t use anything crazy like an immersion blender.  Just a whisk will do.
  4. Immediately place the mixture into a thermos that has been warmed with hot water and put the lid on.
  5. Keep the thermos cozily wrapped in towels overnight (8-24 hours).

You should get up to delicious, rich, thick yogurt.

I, however, did NOT get up to delicious, rich, thick yogurt.  I got up to runny, drink-it-through-a-straw yogurt.  I was seriously bummed.

Regular milk, thermos method

Powdered milk, thermos method

I noticed, however, that the powdered milk yogurt was thicker than the refrigerated milk yogurt.  That got my wheels turning a little.

Attempts #3 and #4

In the face of my early morning disappointment, I decided to try a few different things with the next batches.

I searched up “Why is my thermos yogurt runny?” and found this awesome site, Not Quite Nigella, had some interesting suggestions.

My next two batches were made from a cup and a half of milk from the fridge with 1/3 of powdered milk stirred into it. I was hoping that if the milk was thicker to start with, so too would be my yogurt.

I made another attempt at the thermos method, described above, with half of the mixture.

With the other half, I tried the blog’s “oven method.”

While my milk mixture was heating on the stovetop, I turned the oven on to 300 degrees F.

I washed a pint Mason jar and filled it with scalding hot water to keep it warm.

When the milk had been innoculated with the culture, I poured the half that didn’t go into the thermos into the empty, warm jar and placed it on a pan, popped it in the oven, and turned off the heat.  I left it in the warm oven for 5 hours.

Alas, it resulted in runny yogurt.

Oven method, powdered milk mixed with regular milk

I had, at this point, reached my yogurt frustration threshold.  I spoke rather impolitely to the yogurt in the thermos, wrapped snugly in its towel.  I left the thermos on the stove while I baked a batch of cookies.  I turned on the oven a couple of times to keep things warm in the kitchen.  I strongly suspect my other failures are because my house is so chilly, a fact that is really only bothersome when making yogurt or waiting for bread to rise..

I left the thermos of yogurt for 11 hours.  I opened it…and ……SUCCESS!!!!! Happy dance in the kitchen!!!!

Thermos method, powdered milk mixed into regular milk

 

So, the keys to the successful batch of yogurt were…

  • The thermos method
  • Adding 1/3 cup of powdered milk to each 1-1/2 cup of regular milk
  • Warming up the kitchen a few times throughout the day.
Tomorrow I am planning to make a full batch of yogurt. I will let it sit for a solid 12 hours, and  I might try putting the thermos on a heating pad and turning it on intermittently throughout the day. I really want to keep it low-tech because yogurt making is a skill I’d like to be able to accomplish without the grid.



Daisy Luther

Please feel free to share any information from this site in part or in full, leaving all links intact, giving credit to the author and including a link to this website and the following bio. Daisy Luther lives in a small village in the Pacific Northwestern area of the United States.  She is the author of The Organic Canner,  The Pantry Primer: A Prepper's Guide to Whole Food on a Half-Price Budget, and the soon-to-be-released The Prepper's Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource. On her website, The Organic Prepper, Daisy uses her background in alternative journalism to provide a unique perspective on health and preparedness, and offers a path of rational anarchy against a system that will leave us broke, unhealthy, and enslaved if we comply.  Daisy's articles are widely republished throughout alternative media. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest,  and Twitter,.

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