I had one of my readers comment to me recently that they were trying to make homemade yogurt using my instructions and it was not turning out how they wanted it to. So I decided to give you some more tips to help you be successful in this.
Tip #1: Make sure you get the right kind of yogurt starter. I've tried many different brands and one of my favorites is Dannon. It consistently makes good yogurt that's not too runny or too clumpy.
But I think my all-time favorite starter is greek yogurt. They run about double the price of regular yogurt, but I think it's worth it. Especially since you just need to buy a small cup's worth and then you can make multiple quarts out of it. I like the yoplait brand of yogurt, especially their greek yogurt. I've recently discovered this one and it's smooth and creamy and really good consistency.
I talked to a friend who makes Greek yogurt a few days ago and she told me that traditionally greek yogurt is made with whole milk and a little cream. YUM, huh? But I've been making mine with 1% milk and it turns out just fine and is much healthier.
Be careful when using store brand yogurts for your starters. They might taste fine at first but after several batches, the quality often goes down. Not all do though, so experiment if you want. Don't use walmart brand plain yogurt!. That one does not do well, I can tell you for sure.
Tip #2: Make Yogurt fresh every week. If you don't make it for a while, start out with a fresh starter because the bacteria in the yogurt dies after a while. As long as you make it every week you can use some of your last batch as a starter without losing too much quality.
Tip #3: I'm still perfecting the time to culture our yogurt, but lately I've been going only about 6 hours and I've found it's just about perfect for us. When it comes out it should kind of stick together in the shape of the quart jar. If you want it thicker (and I usually do), you can pour out a little of the whey right after you culture it. Just gently tilt it and the excess whey should pour right out without spilling any of your yogurt. It still might be thinner than store-bought yogurt, but that's okay. As long as you got a good starter it should taste really really yummy. If you do want it really thick you can use a cheese-cloth to drip out more of the whey - until it becomes the consistency you want it. If you drip out all the whey, it turns into yogurt cheese which is good to use as a substitute for cream cheese.
Tip #4: If you accidentally culture your yogurt too long, it turns sour. Some people like it that way, but I don't. If you don't like the taste, start out with a fresh starter (don't use the bad one). A bad starter will make bad yogurt.
Tip #5: Use good milk, to make good yogurt. Again, the milk does matter. Don't use Walmart store brand. Use the tastiest kind of milk you can find.
Tip #6: When heating your milk, heat it on a medium to medium-low temperature. Don't be impatient. It might take a while to boil, but that's okay. It doesn't have to completely boil either. If you just want to heat it until it's good and hot, that should be fine as long as you're not using raw milk. If you're using raw milk that is unpasteurized, you'll probably want to boil the milk to kill the bacteria in the milk before using it to make yogurt. Strain it after boiling before putting it in your jar or you might end up with a yucky milky gooey thing that sits on the top when you boil the milk.
Finally here's another recipe you can use with your yogurt that is really good. My youngest son loves this for breakfast!
Fresh Strawberry yogurt
1 Cup plain yogurt
3 large fresh strawberries, chopped
1 tsp. vanilla powder, or to taste
xagave, honey or sugar, to taste
Put yogurt and vanilla powder in a bowl, mix. Add sweetener to taste. Add chopped strawberries and sprinkle with granola, if desired. Enjoy!
I love strawberries this time of year! They are perfect and you can find them so cheap! Here's my favorite vanilla powder that my Mother-in-law introduced me to a while ago. This is so good! It makes your food smell heavenly!
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