A Fermented Cow’s Milk By Any Other Name

Hey yogurt, if you’re so cultured, how come I never see you at the opera? ~Attributed to Stephen Colbert

Image by Salsachica

Hardy har har har, Stephen. I’ll have you know that yogurt is so high-class that it is a civilized addition to any meal in many cultures. So, whether you call it yoghurt, yogurt, or yogourt, what you’re eating (or drinking as the case may be) is a dairy product produced by bacterial fermentation of milk.*

Sounds yummy, right? Right! So onto the experiment.

Wait….what experiment? Oh, well the one I did in my kitchen today where I made yogurt all on my own.

Here’s what I did:

  • 8 cups of milk
  • 1/2 cup of Fage 2% plain yogurt as a starter
  • a stock pot with a tight fitting lid
  • several towels
  • a lot of patience

In a stockpot that will fit into your oven (this will be important later on), heat the milk until you just see bubbles begin to pop along the edges. Turn off the heat and place pot in a bowl of ice or in the sink to cool. Alternatively you can set it out until it cools down enough. What you want is pinky temperature (if it feels just warm to your pinky it’s ready).

Now that we have that very scientific portion over with, onto adding the Fage yogurt. I use the Fage as a starter but also have used yogurt from a previous batch as a starter.

Remove about a cup of the warm milk into a bowl and add the Fage. Stir together and add back into the pot of milk. Mix thoroughly.

Place a tight fitting lid on the pot. Wrap with several towels to keep it warm. Place in oven for at least 6 hours. I’ve left mine in there for 10 hours and it was fine.

This last batch made about 7 cups of pure white yogurt. And don’t be discouraged if your yogurt ends up being runnier than commercial brands. Store bought yogurt, unless its Greek yogurt, includes thickeners to get that really thick, almost sour cream or pudding like consistency.

If you want to make your yogurt into Greek yogurt, you’ll need to drain the whey. As I haven’t done this yet, but really want to, I’ve been reading recipes here and here.

So, my next project is to make greek yogurt and beyond that making yogurt from coconut milk (I’m not supposed to eat dairy as it messes with the inflammation in my joints).

Have you ever made yogurt or cheese? Did it turn out fabulous or was it a disaster?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yogurt

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