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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Make Your Own..........Yogurt!

My MIL is big on making her own dressings, yogurt, everything, which is where I got the idea to try homemade yogurt.  I thought it would be a big ordeal, but I must admit this was easy enough to do while caring for a needy infant, plus I know my yogurt is free of sugar, thickeners, and artificial additives.  Try it!
The equipment: large stock pot, stainless steel bowl that fits inside the pot, candy thermometer, glass jars with lids, heating pad

Fill the stock pot 2/3 with water.  Place the bowl in the pot and fill it with the milk.  The amount & variety are your choice..I do about a half gallon.

Heat until it reaches 180..this will kill any bad bacteria that would otherwise interfere with the yogurt.

Remove from heat and let the milk cool to 115.  When it reaches between 110 and 115, add 2-4T of plain yogurt(no fruit or sweetener, just yogurt).  Stir and let sit about 5 minutes.

Stir again and pour into clean glass jars.  Screw on the lids and place on your heating pad.  Set the heating pad on LOW and cover with the empty stock pot.

Let this sit undisturbed for 4-10 hours.  The longer it sits, the more sour it becomes, so if 4 hours looks good, place your jars in the fridge to cool.  I like 7 hours for a little tartness.  After 10 hours, the quality begins to deteriorate.  Your yogurt will have more liqud than store-bought since it doesn't have can drain this off or stir it in, it does not affect taste!
You can top this with fruit and granola(I have a couple recipes for easy granola that you'll have to check back for), or you can use this as a substitute for oil in baked goods, or you can drain this and use as cream cheese in cheesecake(I will post this recipe soon!).  If you like a little sweetness like my 12 yr old, you could add a little sugar to the bowl as you serve it!

I use part of my cooled yogurt to make starters for my next batch.  Just pour some yogurt into an ice cube tray and freeze.  When frozen, pop into plastic bags.  Next time you want homemade yogurt, thaw out 2 or 3 yogurt cubes to stir in instead of heading to the store for a container.

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