foodie mcfooderson

a home cook with notions & an appetite

adventures in making yogurt

Cheese is something that husband and I are always up for…and perhaps something we might be looking into making at home.  But we’re not jumping into the deep end and aging a wheel of Parmesan in the basement right off the bat.  Instead, I come across Dr. David Fankhauser’s Cheesemaking Course and his further fromage adventures.  What he presents is a progressive cheese course – yogurt, labneh, neufchatel, basic cheese and mozzarella – designed to increase your confidence and skill.  Of course, we also bought Mary Karlin’s Artisan Cheesemaking at Home and found her beginning cheeses – marsarpone, low-fat panir, queso blanco, whole milk ricotta, whey ricotta, and YOGURT (and a bunch of others) as well.  And then I called Dad and mentioned my plan to start with yogurt and found out that he’d made it all the time in an overnight-oven method once mentioned in a Mother Jones article.  I also consult a Wiki-How article on the matter as well.

That being said, this is how I made my own yogurt using the following:

  • 1 quart 2% milk
  • 1/4 cup non-fat dry milk
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt with live cultures (it will be on the label)

One can buy powdered yogurt starter from cheesemaking suppliers, but I figured with the just-starting-out, I’d go with what all the other kids do and get my two tablespoons of yogurt up to room temperature.

Step 1 involved no ingredients.  Instead, I filled my Dutch oven with filtered water and boiled it for 20 minutes with the lid on to sterilize the pot.  I also sterilized my thermometer and a spoon as well.  I cannot stress the amount of warning that goes into keeping cheesemaking supplies sterile from all sites and books.  I take warnings that help prevent food poisoning seriously.  I also turned my oven to 200 degrees.  This is because the manufacturer won’t let me put it on 100 due to food safety concerns.  Sure, I like food safety, but I like having them on my terms.

This is yogurt making in a nutshell:

An explanation?  Of course.

Milk is first brought to 180 degrees, slowly.  I probably didn’t need to do this with all the pasteurization, but food poisoning and all.  Then I needed to wait for the milk to fall down to 115 degrees.  This takes time.  About an hour.  Once it’s down to temperature, I stirred in the yogurt and powdered milk until everything was smooth.  And I turned off the oven.

Why?  Well, it can’t get too hot in there, otherwise the good bacteria in the yogurt will die.  So I covered my pot and placed it in the oven, letting a bit of the heat (but not too much) escape.  And then we went to bed, knowing the morning would either greet me with yogurt or spoiled milk.

8 hours later, I had an oven just under 100 degrees and a pot that felt promising.  When I opened the pot, I had a nice firm yogurt with a separated whey floating on top.  After draining out the whey through a strainer, I moved the yogurt to a clean container and enjoyed it.  It is, after all, yogurt.


One comment on “adventures in making yogurt

  1. Pingback: homemade queso blanco « foodie mcfooderson

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This entry was posted on October 24, 2011 by in randoms and tagged , .

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