Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Best Tasting Yogurt!

     After I wrote about our honeymoon to Europe and the delicious Greek yogurt I had on Corfu I wanted to try and make yogurt again.  I say again because I have had several yogurt makers since then, have enjoyed making it and eating it but then it was pushed to the back of the cabinet not used and eventually given away.  

     I went online Googled in Yogurt Makers, researched, read recipes, researched more and finally bought the Waring Pro YM350 Professional Yogurt Maker from Amazon.  I choose it because of the good reviews and the ability to use different size containers in the unit.  I could even use other containers than the ones that came with it if I wanted.  

     The first time I used Greek Yogurt as my starter since I wanted to try to duplicate the flavor and texture that I remembered on Corfu.  I bought some Fage whole milk yogurt and let it Mature for 10 hours.  It was smooth and ever so creamy but did have a distinct flavor that was more tangy than I was wanting.  The next time I let it Mature for 8 hours.  This time it was more thin and less creamy with the tangy flavor.

    The third time I decided to use Brown Cow brand yogurt for my starter.  I had read that to make a good yogurt it should have Live Active Cultures in it.  The Brown Cow brand has four:  S. thermophilus, L. bulgaricus, L.acidophilus, and Bifidus.  Fage only had two live cultures.  You need to use a whole milk yogurt as a starter as well.  No substitution of lowfat or nonfat.  Also no flavored or ones with sweeteners of any kind.  Buy the best one you can.  Read the labels.

     So why four active are better than two?  Here is a reason from :

Researchers around the world are studying the potential attributes of live and active culture yogurt in preventing gastrointestinal infections, boosting the body's immune system, fighting certain types of cancer and preventing osteoporosis. More research must be done to establish a definitive link between live and active culture yogurt and these health effects, but the results to date are encouraging.
Additionally, the live and active cultures found in yogurt break down lactose in milk. This allows lactose intolerant individuals who commonly experience gastrointestinal discomfort when they consume milk products to eat yogurt and receive the nutrients contained in the milk product without the side effects of abdominal cramping, bloating and diarrhea.

   So on to how I make perfect yogurt!

   You need to use a saucepan that will hold at least 6 quarts.

    Add 4 3/4 cups 1% milk in the saucepan over medium heat.  You will need to stir frequently so you don't burn the milk at the bottom of the saucepan and also to keep from creating a skin on top of the milk.  

     The milk needs to be heated to 185 degrees, which is before boiling.  You do not want to bring it to a boil.  I use this nifty gadget that I can use in the saucepan to tell me when it comes exactly to 185 degrees while I am stirring.  This takes about 15 minutes to come to this temperature.

   Once it comes to 185 degrees you take it off the heat.  You now will let it cool to 110 degrees.  This will take about 35 minutes or so.  I pour the milk into my bowl that has a pouring spout on one side of it to cool in.  

     While the milk is cooling I get my next two ingredients ready.   You will need 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of Nonfat Dry Milk and 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of your  yogurt starter (my choice Brown Cow whole plain yogurt).  Once you have made your first batch of yogurt you use your own yogurt as the starter.  I read that every so many batches you should start with a fresh starter.  I haven't done this to date so I am not sure why you need to do this.  

     This is my homemade yogurt that I made and use for the starter...isn't it yummy looking? 

     This is the nonfat dry milk ready to be used and the yogurt too.  

     Once the milk has cooled to 110 degrees I whisk in the dry milk till it is fully blended.  Then I take some of the milk and add it to my waiting starter yogurt.  I don't want to shock the cold yogurt with the warm milk.  I whisk it to blend and then add to the bowl.

     I whisk till it is fully blended.  You don't want any unblended yogurt or the dry milk.

     Now you pour the blend into your cups.  You can see the two sizes of cups that the Waring comes with.  You do not put the lids on top during the maturing.

     You place the cups in the unit and cover with the dome lid.  As you can see I set mine for 10 hours.  The unit will beep once when it is done.  Take the freshly made yogurt out and place the lids on top and put them in the fridge.  For a new taste try it is just as good warm as cold but don't warm once it has been in the can't do that...only when you first take it out.

     You can use whole, 1%, 2% milk is your choice but we drink 1%  and we don't need all the fat.  This tastes so smooth and creamy with no tang which is how we like it.   Your starter should not be older than 5 days old.  If it is start with a fresh one the next time you make a batch.

     Okay I know you can't see that delicious yogurt hidden under the granola and blueberries but it is my current favorite lunch!  I can't wait till fresh summer blueberries or fresh peaches are out to put on top so for now I am using organic frozen blueberries from Costco.   I do need a homemade granola recipe...any out there?

      Oh and with this I like to have this yummy bread from Trader Joe's.....

     It is a huge half loaf that is just so good!  Not that I eat it all...I cut the loaf in half and then slice a smaller slice off.

     If you ever thought of making your own yogurt do it.  I simply will not be able to buy commercial ever again except when I need a new starter.  This tastes nothing like what you buy in a store.  Even the expensive ones or the organic ones and it costs a lot less to do your own.  There are no added sugars, sweeteners, colors or pectin.  If you want to add your own flavors you can do that yourself with what you want.  The choices are yours but you won't regret it.   

     I do start this process in the morning as it does take about 11 hours from start to finish.  If you do it at night start making it late.  Once I did it in the evening and it was done at 4:30 am.  You do not want to have to get up in the wee hours of the morning to take the yogurt out.

    Happy Yogurt making!


Caroline of Salsa Pie said...

This is FANTASTIC. The yogurt looks so creamy and delicious..and I can't imagine anything tasting better than the supposedly "authentic" Greek yogurts they sell in the stores--so I would LOVE to try this. Actually, I bet my mom would really get into this. She and my father keep bees and make their own honey. I will send her a link to your blog as well.

Ellen said...

Caroline....I do hope you get a chance to try it...and bees! I would love to allow someone to use our property for bee keeping... we have heard that some bee folks will take care of the bees and in return share some of the honey. That must be lovely to have fresh honey other than a grocery store one. We have a great Farmer's Market where from time to time they have honey....

Heather Cameron said...

oh, thanks for this. I want to make my own yogurt too!

From the Kitchen said...

That yogurt looks delicious! As for a homemade granola recipe, we really think Alton Brown's (Food Network) is the absolute best.


Allegra Smith said...

You just brought memories long buried with my original Salton yoghurt maker *smiles*. It wasn't electric, it held only six little cups, it was plastic with a blue band at the bottom and we used some dry culture that needed to be stirred to death or it made little bumps of yoghurt as the children used to call it. But how did we loved to do that! And making Indian cheese in a big pot, and eating it outside, sitting under the grape arbor, smothering the cheese over big pieces of flat bread...memories. Specially memories of food, since they have no calories to worry about and leave you with nothing but a good taste and a smile when remembering them. Have a great weekend and happy Spring, Ellen

Bethany said...

Holy Moly Ellen! So impressed. Wow, looks delicious. You amaze me!

Iva said...

your yogurt and bread look so goood!!!! I've always wanted to make my own!!!

Ellen said...

Okay ladies...I hope you give it a try! And I do highly recommend that Yogurt Maker. Very happy with it.


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