A lot of interest has been expressed regarding making your own yogurt. I have to admit I was terribly intimidated to try my hand at making my own yogurt, but really it is so easy if you have a yogurt maker. I purchased the Cuisipro Donvier Electronic Yogurt Maker from Amazon (I would have preferred to purchase it locally, but it was not an option) along with the yogurt culture 2-pack (starter). You don’t necessarily have to purchase the starter, you can just use one heaping tablespoons of plain commercial yogurt (and after you get your first batch you can just use one heaping tablespoon of your plain homemade to start it), but I wanted to ensure that I had a really good live starter because you never know if the yogurt was properly cared for once it left the factory.
Once you have your yogurt maker and starter, I highly recommend getting an 2 quart glass measuring cup for heating the milk in the microwave. I did try heating it up per the directions in the machine’s manual on top of the stove, but I don’t think it heated quite evenly and I was so afraid the milk would burn on the bottom of the pan. It just didn’t quite set the same as when I used the microwave (and it was easier too!) You simply add 1 quart of milk (we are into whole foods so naturally we used local organic whole milk…did you know that many of the nutrients are stripped when reducing the fat?) to your glass measuring cup and microwave on high stirring occasionally until it is steaming 8-10 minutes (8 was perfect for me). Pull it out and set the thermometer that comes with the machine into the measuring cup and wait (patiently…not that word again!) for the milk to cool to the temperature between the two lines marked on the thermometer. Once at the desired temperature, add your starter to one of the jars from the machine and pour in some of the milk and stir, then pour it all into the glass measuring cup, stir again, pour evenly (about 3/4 full) into all 8 jars, and put the lids on . Put the jars into the machine, put on the lid, and set your machine (10 hours is perfect for me) according to your texture preference in the machine manual and press start. Once the timer goes off the jars need to go into the refrigerator right away and will be ready to eat in a few hours. I find it easiest to make the yogurt in the morning and throw it into the fridge before bed so I can enjoy the next morning.
So far we have only made plain yogurt and flavored them individually. You can make a whole batch of flavored before you put it into the jars (say for frozen yogurt) but I use it for cooking and instead of sour cream and it has been fun experimenting wih different flavors. We have tried honey and vanilla, maple syrup, honey or maple syrup with the french chocolate granola, honey and pureed berries, but my most favorite was the peaches n’ yogurt I made yesterday. I had a jar of peaches that needed to be eaten, so I added a few to my yogurt with some of their juice, a tiny bit of maple syrup, and sprinkled some cinnamon on top….yummm! Strange (D. thought so)? Not really, think of it as peach cobbler with cream minus the cobbler…thinking it would be really good with some plain granola in there too. I was working on Literature with R. at the time and had only a quick second to grab a snack so this was thrown together in a bit of a hurry…next time I think I would cut the peaches up into bite-sized pieces.
I am a tad bit excited to try making cream cheese, sour cream, and mayonnaise using the Cuisipro Donvier Yogurt Cheese Maker … I will let you know how that goes.
Happy yogurt making,