Making Yogurt.
#1
Can it be done without special equipment? I'm guessing commercial yogurt incubators can't really be necessary, as we've had yogurt for hundreds of years, and these little machines have been around only for the last couple of decades or whatever. Do any of you make the stuff? My mom bought me freeze-dried starter without realizing the machine is necessary, so I want to know if I can just get away with making it in a pot or something.
Thanks!
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#2
My mother makes it without anything special except a thermometer and a little mesh strainer, I believe. I'll call and ask her about it this morning. Hang on.
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#3
Try this link: http://hubpages.com/hub/How_to_make_your...ated_guide

I asked my mother, and she wasn't sure about temperatures, but what she said about the process was very similar to this. As you can see, it's a simple process that doesn't require any specially purchased items. She told me she'd check for a recipe when she gets home, so if she has anything to add that could make your foray into the world of homemade yogurt easier, I'll pass it along.
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#4
Okay, the easy version: Get one of those candy thermometers that hooks to the side of a pan, a big saucepan, a deep pot with a lid, a quart-sized glass jar or bottle, a quart of whole or low-fat milk, and a container of plain store-bought yogurt (the kind that is nothing but yogurt, no sugar or gelatin, and that contains live cultures -- Dannon works). The link I provided talks about using a plastic jug, but my mother says don't do that because the plastic will give the yogurt a taste. I say don't do that because the high temperature will possibly cause toxins to leach out from the plastic into the yogurt.

Pour the milk into the saucepan and heat it over a low flame to 150 degrees F. (You want to heat it slowly so it won't burn.) Stir frequently to prevent scalding. When your milk is 150, turn off the heat and let it cool to 120. You don't have to stir it at this point, but if you don't it will form a skin. That's okay, but remove the skin with a spoon before proceeding. Now add two tablespoons of purchased yogurt to the heated milk, pour it into the glass bottle, and cover the top securely but loosely, such as with a piece of foil. Put it into your deep pot surrounded by 120 degree water and put the lid on the pot. Let it alone for about 3 hours, then check it by tilting the bottle to see how thick the yogurt is. My mother says if it's not very thick, that doesn't mean it won't get thick in the fridge. Either way, refrigerate it and use as you like. Do NOT leave it longer than 3 hours as you will risk ending up with yogurt that has that sour, acidic taste of commercial yogurt rather than the sweet, mild taste of the fresh stuff.

If you want a thicker yogurt, put it through a fine mesh strainer to drain off the whey, which supposedly you can keep and use for other things, but honestly I don't know what.  If you strain the yogurt thoroughly, you will end up with a lovely creamy stuff like cream cheese, and you can use it exactly the same way.
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#5
shirhamalot Wrote:Can it be done without special equipment? I'm guessing commercial yogurt incubators can't really be necessary, as we've had yogurt for hundreds of years, and these little machines have been around only for the last couple of decades or whatever. Do any of you make the stuff? My mom bought me freeze-dried starter without realizing the machine is necessary, so I want to know if I can just get away with making it in a pot or something.
Thanks!


recipe that I've always used ( from my Lebanese grandmother):

I buy a good quality PLAIN yogurt at the store if i don't have any of my own at home -

Get a quart or so of milk ( whole is nice, but I've used any kind) and warm it on the stove.

When your CLEAN pinky can barely stand the heat anymore, take it off the heat.

Get a big whopping tablespoon of yogurt out of the carton and put it into a small bowl - mix some of the warm milk in with it ( about a 1/3 of a cup?) until it is thoroughly mixed...then pour all of this into your warm milk. Pour all of THAT into a big jar or high bowl.....do the sign of the cross over it, cover well , and also with a towel... put it in a warm corner of the kitchen, or on VERY LOW on an electric heating pad with lots of towels in between and wait 4-6 hours.

DON"T MOVE IT!! It won't set. Once it's done, put it in the fridge.

OR.......get your finished yogurt, put it in a cloth bag, tie said bag on to your faucet over the sink overnight( it'll lose over half it's volume to "whey") and in the morning take out the cheese, put it in a bowl, salt to taste, and drizzle a lot of olive oil all over it. Serve with crackers.
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#6
My in laws put organic milk in a container, leave it on the counter for a day or 2, then strain and drink it....they claim its good for your health, they are from Eastern Europe, Hungary..wierd stuff they do there. They call it "yogurt", btw, im not sure if that qualifies?
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#7
CanadianCatholic Wrote:My in laws put organic milk in a container, leave it on the counter for a day or 2, then strain and drink it....they claim its good for your health, they are from Eastern Europe, Hungary..wierd stuff they do there. They call it "yogurt", btw, im not sure if that qualifies?


maybe kefir?
 
I don't know.......but when I make butter I leave it on the counter for one day before churning it- gives it a nice flavor. I have organic raw milk, so when the milk/cream clabbers, it just "ripens", it doesn't rot like store bought milk would.
 
Don't Eastern Europeans make something with milk that is kefir-ish but fizzy?
 
I don't remember......
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#8
Wow Satori thank you so much for your research! You are like the Fisheaters cooking queen!
My mom ended up buying me a yogurt machine about two days later, but the web sites have been very helpful in understanding the fermentation process and in guaging how to know when its done, etc. I made a batch overnight last night and it turned out kind of more liquidy than I had thought it would. I used 1% milk, and let it incubate for 11 hours, so maybe that's just how lower-fat yogurts turn out? I haven't tried any yet but it smelled very authentic. I am excited to try it now with 3.25% milk.
Of course, I was myself a little wary about the plastic. But the heat is pretty low for incubation, so it can't be too bad for you chemical-wise, right?
Thanks again, everybody!

Oh, P.S.--is it really necessary to use a thermometer? I didn't. If so, is a regular pharmacy thermometor okay, or is there some special kind needed?

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#9
shirhamalot Wrote:Oh, P.S.--is it really necessary to use a thermometer? I didn't. If so, is a regular pharmacy thermometor okay, or is there some special kind needed?

Thermometers are used to prevent mistakes being made by people like me who aren't good cooks. :)  My mom hardly ever used one for anything.  Lots of people can tell the (approximately) proper temperature by the look of things as they cook.

If you're like me and need something to help your skills (or lack thereof), you want a candy thermometer (so-called because in candy making the right temperature is more critical, so this type of thermometer was designed with that in mind).  You can get them at any grocery store.  They're big glass tubes with a metal clip so you can clip it on the edge of the pot while stuff is being heated.
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#10
QuisUtDeus Wrote:
shirhamalot Wrote:Oh, P.S.--is it really necessary to use a thermometer? I didn't. If so, is a regular pharmacy thermometor okay, or is there some special kind needed?

Thermometers are used to prevent mistakes being made by people like me who aren't good cooks. :)  My mom hardly ever used one for anything.  Lots of people can tell the (approximately) proper temperature by the look of things as they cook.

If you're like me and need something to help your skills (or lack thereof), you want a candy thermometer (so-called because in candy making the right temperature is more critical, so this type of thermometer was designed with that in mind).  You can get them at any grocery store.  They're big glass tubes with a metal clip so you can clip it on the edge of the pot while stuff is being heated.


Quis is right......go with a candy thermometer. And the higher the butterfat in the milk the tastier the yogurt, and it gets a "frosting" of cream yogurt on top (like Stoneyfield's).
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