Wednesday, August 8

MAKE IT: Yogurt

Yogurt is a great staple of the cooking world. It can be used in dips, sauces, desserts, turned into cheese, and the always popular lunch time treat or meal!

The fun thing about yogurt is how easy it can be made and flavored to your liking. There are a few "rules" behind making yogurt but, all are simple and easy to do. Even better, you can use a basic plain store bought yogurt to make your first batch and keep it going, endlessly! Think of the savings.

The rules of yogurt are the following:
1) Always start with unflavored, unsweetened, plain yogurt.
2) Always start with organic yogurt which will be labeled "contains active and inactive cultures"
3) Always start with real yogurt. No fat free, low fat, probiotic ones. I highly recommend Greek.
4) Use fresh yogurt, after a week it goes bad.
5) Use fresh milk. Any fat content will work. 2% creates the best flavor but, you can use skim if desired.
6) Once yogurt is set retain a small amount as starter for next batch.
7) Experiment with flavor. Add fruit purée, extracts, whole fruit, granola.
8) Use homemade yogurt within 4-5 days for freshness.

(photo of Greek organic plain yogurt)

It looks like several rules, but all are simple and will create an amazing end product!

(shown above with strawberry purée folded in)

Yields approximately 3 cups yogurt
Full time: 25 hours (includes 24 hour set time)

You will need:

2 1/2 cups milk
2 tbsp plain organic live culture yogurt or homemade yogurt

Let us begin:

In a small pot, pour milk and place on stove top.

Turn heat to medium and let slowly cook.

Occasionally you will want to stir up prevent scorching. As the milk gets hotter you will want to increase the amount of which you are stirring.

Being the milk to a foamy boil and remove from heat.

Allow milk to cool until it hits 112-115 degrees.

Pour milk into a clean bowl.

Have your starter yogurt ready to go and whisk it into the milk.

Cover tightly with plastic wrap.

Wrap outside of bowl with kitchen towel and let it sit in warm place for 24 hours.

When set, you are now ready to use. Transfer to clean bowl for storage or flavoring.

Once it is set you can now flavor. Just remember to put aside a small container of 2 tbsp to start your next batch.

If desired you can fold in fruit purée to create great flavored yogurt.

You can add different flavors by separating the batch into smaller bowls or even make your own yogurt cups for lunches!

I do recommend adding a small amount of sweetener to this, especially if flavoring for children.

I add 1 1/2 packets of Truvia to the whole batch. Splenda or similar sweeteners work great.
Using clear agave nectar or light honey is perfect, just remember it will thin it out a little. If your making separate cups, just drizzle over the top and stir in when eating.
If you want to do sugar, it will be fine just slight granular.