Monday, March 1, 2010

Homemade Yogurt

Homemade yogurt using a minnow bucket instead of the Yogotherm. The minnow bucket, purchased at Wal-Mart (sporting goods section), costs about $4 verses the Yogotherm, ordered from, costs $39.95 plus shipping. You do the math! We bought the Yogotherm and have used it many times. Our only problem with the Yogotherm is the plastic bucket provided for making your yogurt or other cheese products. We found that the bucket left an off taste, sometimes slimy, to whatever product we were making. To solve that problem we now use an old pickle jar instead, which works wonderfully. Of course we didn't think of using a minnow bucket until AFTER we had purchased the Yogotherm. What you need:
1 to 2 quarts of milk, you can use whole, 2%, 1%, or reconstituted dry milk.
1 packet yogurt culture

For your homemade yogurt maker:
1 minnow bucket
1 glass jar with a lid
2 washclothes, one for the bottom of the bucket and one to place on top of the jar before you put the lid on.
1 dish towel to wrap around the jar to prevent heat loss.
Heat milk in a stainless steel or enamel sauce pan to 180 to 185 degrees, don't let it boil. Once the milk had reached the desired temp, remove pan from stove and place in a sink filled with cold water. Cool milk to 110 degrees.

When milk has cooled to 110 degrees, pour into jar in the minnow bucket. As you can see we wrapped a towel around our jar to fill the gap between the jar and the edge of the bucket to help with heat loss.
Add 1 packet of yogurt starter and stir well. Put lid on jar and cover with washcloth and finally the bucket lid. Leave the minnow bucket out on the counter for 8 to 12 hours, we leave ours out overnight.

After 8 to 12 hours you have yogurt! If you like regular yogurt you can stop here. Pour your yogurt into a storage container and put in the fridge. However, if you want Greek style yogurt you will need to strain it first. Line a strainer with a coffee filter and pour yogurt into the filter. Let drain in the fridge to desired thickness, 6 to 12 hours. We drain ours in two batches because we don't have a large strainer, but you could line a large strainer with papertowles and drain it all together.

After the yogurt has drained this is what it will look like. Yogurt is easy to make and you don't even need the starter packets. You can also use store bought yogurt to make homemade yogurt. Use 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt for each quart you plan to make.
For this batch we used the Yogourmet starter that we purchased at a local health food store. One box has enough starter to make 6 quarts of yogurt and costs $5.99.

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