4 min read

Yogurt Making

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My kids happily eat homemade bread, homemade applesauce, and homemade jam. In fact, they are a bit snobbish about it and, if at a friend’s house and offered one of those Wonderbread and grape Smuckers concoctions, they’ll turn up their noses like spoiled cats and choose hunger. So, why is it that my homemade yogurt produces a series of gags and puppy dog pleading for the store made kind? The problem is so bad, that I’ll put my homemade yogurt into used Stoneyfield Organics containers in order to trick them into eating it. If they don’t know it’s homemade they’ll eat it just fine.

Granted, the first time I made yogurt I made a science lesson out of it, discussing bacteria, probiotics, and how warmth and moisture help bacteria grow. I thought it was interesting. They thought that it was inedible. I’ve also made a few nasty experimental batches, which I should have thrown out rather than try to feed to my kids, but, I’ve learned from these mistakes. Apparently, I didn’t learn quickly enough to preserve my children’s faith in my yogurt making capabilities.

 After a bit of tweaking, I have a pretty good yogurt that is very easy to make. If you know how to heat things on a stove top, measure, stir and use a crock pot you can make yogurt, too. Though, if you mess it up, I’d recommend NOT trying to feed it to anyone (and maybe save the science lesson for something you aren’t planning to feed to your kids, though the lesson with yeast in bread went just fine.) Here’s what I have come up with:

Homemade Fat-free Vanilla Yogurt:

 2 qt.s fat free milk

 ¾ c. dry milk powder (Helps to thicken yogurt)

½ c. blue agave nectar or 2/3 cup of sugar (my kids like sweet yogurt (when they eat any))

 2T. vanilla 2 heaping spoonfuls of good fresh yogurt (I use Stoneyfield Organics)

Homemade Creamy Vanilla Yogurt

2 qt.s whole milk

½ c. blue agave nectar or 2/3 cup of sugar

2T. vanilla

2 heaping spoonfuls of good fresh yogurt

 (This yogurt, when finished, has a nice layer of cream on the top)

Directions: 1. In a clean sauce pan, heat milk, powdered milk (per recipe) and sweetener to steaming. Stir occasionally, do not boil. Remove from heat. Cool slightly. It’s ready when you can put your (freshly washed) finger into the milk for 10 seconds without burning it. 2. Add vanilla extract and yogurt. Stir, but not too vigorously. 3. Pour into clean glass jars. Put lids on tightly. 4. Place jars in your crock pot. Fill crock pot with water to about half of the jars’ height. Turn crock pot to warm setting. 5. Leave for 4 to 8 hours. The longer you leave it, the more tart the taste. 6. Refrigerate.

Some trouble shooting tips.

 1. If it’s still liquid after 4-6 hours, you probably added the yogurt while the milk was too hot and killed off the cultures. Just stir some more yogurt in and wait 4 more hours. Things should improve.

 2. The yellow liquid that rises to the top is lactic acid and is a normal and natural biproduct. If you don’t like it, pour it off.

3. If you want plain yogurt, do all of this without the sweetener and vanilla.

4. If you burn the milk, don’t make it into yogurt. Throw it out.

5. If you accidentally boil the milk, strain it to remove any skin that forms on the top and be sure to let it cool sufficiently before putting in the cultures.