Monday, August 26, 2013

In the kitchen: yoghurt

Previously this month, a yogurt batch failed. I was mystified because batches made occasionally when I was pregnant four years ago were fine, and so easy. Danone just didn't have enough live and active cultures... grr.

Yoghurt is so easy, and so cheap to make your own organic! I made it at about 1pm, and it was ready by 8pm - or you could leave it overnight to be ready for breakfast in the morning.

What you need; scale the recipe for larger batches
Yield: 4 (4oz) jelly jars of yogurt; each jar is 1 serving

food thermometer
2c whole milk (vitamin D milk); pasteurized is okay, but not ultra-pasteurized
1/4c yoghurt with live and active cultures
4 jelly jars that hold 4-6oz with head space
a metal pan and 1-2 hand towels

Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: about 7 hours

  1. Turn on oven light. In a gas oven, the pilot light and lightbulb heat are sufficient for incubating. Have heard of people using a cooler with blankets, or a heating pad in a metal pan with blankets. 
  2. Heat 2c of milk on medium heat, whisking occasionally, until foamy at the edges and about 150F.
  3. Remove from heat and cool to about 110F; you may wish to put the pan bottom into 2" of cold water in a plugged sink.
  4. Whisk in 1/4c yoghurt, according to preference.
  5. Ladle into jelly jars. Leave lids off and place into metal pan. Wrap one hand towel around the sides, and lay 1 hand towel over the tops of the jars.
  6. Place into oven, close door, and leave the oven light on for about 7h. Screw on lids and refrigerate.

batch #2 success!

Everything should be okay if you have:

  • Really clean utensils and jars.
  • Yoghurt with live and active cultures.
  • A warm place for fermenting.
Since you don't really need jelly canning jars or new canning lids, you could reuse used lids or even commercial jelly jars with screw lids. Just make sure everything has been through the dishwasher.

You can play with ratios, but should know that you can reserve 1/4c (one of those 4oz jars) for your next batch. So, it you play with ratios, you'll be cooking a batch of 5-6 jars, knowing you'll use one to make the next batch. Sometimes, starting with fresh store-bought yoghurt ensures lots of live cultures.

Math Bottom Line
$3.99 1 gallon organic whole milk; 16oz out of 128oz = $0.499 for 2c milk
$2.99 10oz Stoneyfield Farm low-fat Oikos; 2oz out of 10oz = $0.598 for 1/4c yoghurt
$0.25/jar from a set previously used for canning jelly (originally $1/jar when purchased) = $1
So, these 4 jars of organic yoghurt cost $2.097 and took 10 minutes of active time.

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