Basics: Yogurt

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Growing up I was teased (ever so gently mind you) by my sisters for being basic. I liked my food straightforward and simple. I didn’t like mixing flavors or ingredients. It wasn’t that I was picky about the items, I just did not want them melding together.

As I have grown older, I don’t mind the mixing (most definitely prefer it now), but some things still seem best left plain, simple, just as they are. One thing. Yogurt. I love plain yogurt. Now, don’t mistake me here. That doesn’t mean I don’t put all sorts of fruits, seeds, and nuts in it, because I do. But, I like to start with plain simple yogurt.

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Plain Yogurt

makes 4 cups, takes roughly 13 hours

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups good, local whole milk (I love to use Cruze Dairy Farm…makes it super rich and creamy…and the best part, gets a layer of cream on the top if you are lucky)
  • 1/4 cup yogurt with active live bacteria (try not to use skim…whole or at least 2%)

Supplies:

  • thermometer
  • pot with lid
  • towel
  • whisk
  • mason jars or containers for the yogurt
  • large covered casserole or Styrofoam container with lid (something water proof and heat safe)

Begin by heating your milk gently in a pot to 150 degrees.

While the milk begins to heat, I sterilize the jars for the yogurt.  Typically I use four 8 oz mason jars.  There is something so French about using glass for one’s yogurt.  Maybe because we have a collection of glass jars from the summer in France.  We ate yogurt just so we could have the jars.  Total side note.  Back to sterilizing glass.  Boil water and carefully pour the water into the jars and let sit while you finish making the yogurt.  One note.  I have never had the glass crack on me.  But add the water with care.  You can run hot tap water over the jars first, or heat the water, but not let it boil.

Back to the milk and the stove.  Remove from heat and cover the pot with a lid and a towel to keep nice and warm.  Hold for 30 minutes.  Remove the towel and lid and let cool down to 115-118 degrees.  Make sure the milk has lowered to under 120 degrees before adding the yogurt or you will kill the live bacteria.  Add the yogurt, stir and pour into sterilized jars (emptying the water prior).

Now, this is the key part.  The water bath.  Compliments of Dawn Raburn.  Whenever I have a question of life and health and homemaking, she is my go to resource (after my own mother of course).  She has seen and done it all and seems always ready with an answer.  So, carefully and gently put your glass jars, lids tightly secured, into your container and pour the hottest tap water possible or a mixture of tap water and a little boiled water around the jars, filling with water until just under the rims of the jars.  Now cover and let sit.  I usually put my yogurt in our oven.  Just someplace it won’t be disturbed and that is warm, away from any drafts.

You wait.  For 12 hours.  You can wait less.  8 hours if you like.  But I recommend 12.  Honestly, I forgot the yogurt one night and left it an additional 6.  I don’t recommend that.  It was okay.  Nothing bad happened.  I didn’t get sick and it tasted slightly more sour.  But still held the same smooth creamy consistency.  So, back to the yogurt at hand.  Remove from the water bath and put in the fridge.  That’s it.  You’re done.  Now, enjoy.  Eat and be glad.

 

 

 

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