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Yogurt-making @ home


Fat Guy
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We're fairly significant consumers of yogurt here in the Fat Guy household, so I was thinking it might make sense for us to make our own. Does anybody have any experience with this?

The Donvier machine seems to be the standard. Is it so for good reason? Is there competing equipment that's better?

Is homemade yogurt better than store bought? Why? What are its most noticeable characteristics?

How does the basic process work?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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The important part is to try to keep the yogurt warm while it ripens. A machine can do this, but there are other methods, like setting the container on a heating pad, in a kettle of warm water swaddled in a towel, etc. I think the ideal temperature is about 110º. I put a kettle of warm water on the pilot light of my ancient stove, set a jar containing whole milk and starter in it, and leave it until it is set, which takes a day at about 95º.

I had an old machine somebody gave me that had a number of white glass cups with lids. The machine did nothing, and I threw it out, and still use the cups to drink milk from.

Whole milk makes milder and thicker yogurt than skim, which makes a thin, watery yogurt. That's why commercial non-fat yogurt has gelatin or other stabilizers in it nowadays. Non-instant milk powder in your milk (use a blender to mix) is supposed to help thickening, too.

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We've been making our own yogurt for about 10 years now, and tried various methods.

The current (and easiest) is to use a warmer box that takes one carton of milk, as is. I assume that there are similar things in the US. I like this because I don't have to transfer milk or finished yogurt from one container to the other. All I have to do is spoon in some of the previous batch of yogurt, put the lid on the carton (recloses the opened carton), close the warmer lid, plug in, and go away for 10-12 hours. Then I take the carton out and put it in the fridge. Done.

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I have a wonderful recipe (that I can't find right now :angry: ) but it was whole milk with added non-fat dry milk. Basically, you scalded the milk mixture then let it cool to about 100 degrees and add your starter. I have a set of those heavy French glasses with plastic caps that I got years ago. They look like these from Crate & Barrel. When I did it a lot, I had a gas range with a pilot light in the oven. It maintained a perfect 100-105 degrees. It was usually done overnight. Then I could just put the caps on and refrigerate.

Not having that gas oven, I have done it with a heating pad in a styrofoam cooler. Put a towel in the bottom, then the heating pad, then another few layers of folded towel. What is neat about those cheap coolers is that it is easy to stick a thermometer through the lid and monitor the temp. It is also easy to poke a hole for the cord to the heating pad so you can keep the lid tightly closed. Pretty soon, you will figure out what setting on the heating pad will maintain your temperature. Much better than those yogurt maker things. We threw ours out.

I think you will be able to find any number of recipes that use whole milk fortified with non-fat dried milk. Of all of the recipes that I tried, this approach made the best texture, at least to me. I hated the skim milk yogurt. Then you can start experimenting with various starters. I tried many but finally settled on using Dannon plain, live culture, no additives.

I will have to call my sister tomorrow to get the recipe.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I had an old machine somebody gave me that had a number of white glass cups with lids. The machine did nothing, and I threw it out, and still use the cups to drink milk from.

About 15 years I had one of this same type of machine and it worked just fine.

I was on this whole-grain, no-meat (horrors!), no-caffeine (double horrors! :shock: ), no-cow's-milk kick and wanted a supply of goat's milk yogurt, and the only feasible option was to make it. It turned out well....I liked it better than any store-bought brand available at the time, although that may have been the goat's milk factor.

Somehow the machine didn't survive a move, and I started eating all the shit I normally eat again and I never got around to replacing the machine.

My restaurant blog: Mahlzeit!

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If you want two unused Salton yogurt makers (5 one-cup jars each), let me know. I stopped making yogurt years ago: HWOE is happy with Axelrod, and it's not that big a deal to me.

Just let me know so I can wash all the jars first.

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I recently started making yogurt at home, after hooking up with a raw milk co-op. There's no way the two of us can drink most of a gallon of milk a week (we skim off the cream for coffee and sauces), so I wind up making yogurt and fresh cheeses.

A friend gets her yogurt starters from New England Cheesemaking Supply Company, so that's where I go, too. I haven't researched much past that. She also recommended this book, so that's where I started as well.

The quick-set starter is for one-time use; the Bulgarian starter produces a yogurt that can be used as a starter for the next batch. I usually make about three quarts at a time, in a large jar. My KitchenAid oven has a bread-rising setting (100°F convection) that's perfect for yogurt.

If using store-bought milk, you heat it to 110-115°F, add the starter, pour it into the jar or whatever, cover it securely, then let it sit at about 100° ± 10 until thickened to whatever consistency you like. I usually let mine go for 10-12 hours. (Raw milk needs to be heated to 180, then cooled down.)

Why homemade? Taste, I imagine. Mine is rich and tangy. My experience doesn't quite match Katherine's. After skimming most of the cream, the milk probably is the equivalent of about 1%. It still turns out thick enough for me. Maybe it's the long culturing time, or the raw milk. If I need it thicker, I just drain some overnight through several layers of cheesecloth.

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

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i make yogurt on a regular basis using salton maker with 5 cups 14 oz each.

i use only nonfat milk and 2 tbsps "brown cow cream on the top" yogurt as a starter. i incubate warm milk for about 12 hrs in the machine and freeze the rest of the starter in small individual jars for later use.

my yogurt is very thick and completely fat free!

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My mother always made home-made yogurt when I lived at home. It was tangy and richer, therefore, an improvement on bought. She used a yogurt maker with great success. Starters (with recipes on back of package) can be bought in some grocery stores with organic sections and in health food stores. I now purchase organic yogurt as the best tasting substitute. Good luck, keep us posted with your results.

Side bar: we would eat the yogurt with home-preserves as a fruity sweetner. Excellent !

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If you want two unused Salton yogurt makers (5 one-cup jars each), let me know. I stopped making yogurt years ago: HWOE is happy with Axelrod, and it's not that big a deal to me.

Just let me know so I can wash all the jars first.

I was about 11 seconds away from clicking on Cooking.com to buy a Donvier, so your offer is most welcome. I think I'm seeing you tomorrow, right? We can have a handoff then. Many thanks.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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The current (and easiest) is to use a warmer box that takes one carton of milk, as is. I assume that there are similar things in the US. I like this because I don't have to transfer milk or finished yogurt from one container to the other. All I have to do is spoon in some of the previous batch of yogurt, put the lid on the carton (recloses the opened carton), close the warmer lid, plug in, and go away for 10-12 hours. Then I take the carton out and put it in the fridge. Done.

I can't seem to find this item mentioned online. Is there a brand name that might help me to search?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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i use only nonfat milk and 2 tbsps "brown cow cream on the top" yogurt as a starter. i incubate warm milk for about 12 hrs in the machine and freeze the rest of the starter in small individual jars for later use.

my yogurt is very thick and completely fat free!

Can you elaborate on this method? What's this about a brown cow? And to what exactly does incubation refer?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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FG: they're yours. Good, make some room in my cabinet. I'll bring them tomorrow. Oops, just checked, I'm one jar short (9 instead of 10), but it shouldn't be difficult to find another that will fit.

Brown Cow is a commercial brand of yogurt. Very good, very healthy, and would in fact be a great starter.

"Incubation" is the period/conditions in which the good bacteria grow, to turn scalded milk into yogurt. The electric apparati keep the milk at the correct temperature (as do the heating pad and other methods) to let the beneficial bacteria eat and grow. The only thing to worry about is not letting the yogurt incubate too long, in which case it can get too tart and thin out again. It may take you some experimentation until you find the right length of time for the output you like.

Edited by Suzanne F (log)
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After making all your yogurt, try my favorite additions:

Add cut up dates, toasted pecans, maple flavoring and some sort of sweetener. If you aren't limiting your sugar, you can use maple syrup instead of the flavoring and sweetener. Your yogurt will be thinner but oh so tasty.

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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Thank you all for the comments thus far. It looks as though I'll be making yogurt in Suzanne's machines on Monday, so if you have any further advice . . . bring it on.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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"brown cow" is a brand name (in california) of the yogurt that i use as a starter. after trying several other brands, i found this most to my liking.

incubation here refers to the length of time that warm milk (at 125F) with added yogurt culture is left in the yogurt maker.

this is a good read for anyone interested in the process of yogurt and cheese making.

http://biology.clc.uc.edu/Fankhauser/Chees.../YOGURT2000.htm

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my process is as follows:

i heat 9-10 cups of nonfat milk to 185F (microwave 17 min on high)

place the bowl in an ice bath and cool the milk to 125F (takes 7 min)

add 2 tbsps of starter (brown cow yogurt) diluted with a little warm milk

pour in salton cups (i also use pint mayo jars)

place in yogurt maker, plug it in

12 hrs later cover jars and refrigerate

let the yogurt set in fridg for 12hrs.

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The gospel of yogurt according to my mother...

For each quart of whole milk: (She hated skim milk on principle, called it blue john with an accompanying derisive snort.)

Add 1/4 cup Carnation non-fat dry milk.

Bring to a boil STIRRING THE WHOLE TIME with a whisk. (This supposedly has something to do with the final texture.)

Cool to 95 - 110 degrees F.

Whisk 3T to 1/4 cup live culture yogurt to thin it.

Whisk the yogurt into the warm milk. (If we were trying a dry culture, we would whisk it into a cup or so of the warm milk and add it back to the pot.)

Pour into containers and incubate at 85 - 100 degrees F to the texture you desire. I used to put it in my 100 degree oven overnight.

NOTES: She said the whisking, with a whisk, was important for the final texture and to evenly disperse the yogurt culture in the mix. We don't know if any of this makes a damn because we never tested it. We just always did it that way and made superb yogurt. Yes, the stirring is a PITA. As I said before, I finally settled on Dannon plain for a starter. My sister swears by what she remembers as White Mountain that she got at Whole Foods. Supposedly it has three strains of buggles. I didn't have a WF near me so I never tried it but I trust my sister's taste buds.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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  • 1 month later...

So, I've finally started my first batch of yogurt in Suzanne's old Salton yogurt maker. I brought 1 quart of milk to the boil in a Pyrex pitcher in the microwave, let it cool until the plastic thermometer/spoon device said it was in the right range to add culture, added a scoop of Stonyfield Farms plain yogurt, stirred, distributed into the glass jars, put on the lids, placed them in the machine, plugged it in, and set the dial to remind me to take them out tonight at 9pm. More later.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I used to make mine in a styrofoam bait bucket--got it at WalMart for ninety nine cents, I believe. Warmed the milk to 100 degrees, mixed the milk and starter in a quart canning jar, capped it and set it in the bucket. Poured the bucket full of water the same temp., set it on the counter, and took it out 10-12 hours later.

sparrowgrass
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Steven, why did you boil? Was that in the instructions/recipe you have? Sounds like most people here just heat to 100F and add teh culture.

Also, what kind of milk did you use? Regular supermarket milk (Tuscan/Dearle/etc.) or something like Ronnybrook? Skim? Whole? 2 percent?

--

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Steven, why did you boil?  Was that in the instructions/recipe you have?  Sounds like most people here just heat to 100F and add teh culture.

Also, what kind of milk did you use?  Regular supermarket milk (Tuscan/Dearle/etc.) or something like Ronnybrook?  Skim?  Whole?  2 percent?

I always boil my milk for yogurt, partly because that is how my mom made it every week and taught me how to do it and the other reason is to kill any existing bacteria that could interfere with the setting process.

We had several discussions about homemade yogurt on several threads before. Anyways here is my recipe and it works everytime:

yogurt recipe

Hope your yogurt turned out well FG

Elie

Edited by FoodMan (log)

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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I just followed the instructions that came with the machine, and used the lowest species of supermarket milk. I figured I'd start with what the manufacturer suggests and then experiment going forward.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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The current (and easiest) is to use a warmer box that takes one carton of milk, as is. I assume that there are similar things in the US. I like this because I don't have to transfer milk or finished yogurt from one container to the other. All I have to do is spoon in some of the previous batch of yogurt, put the lid on the carton (recloses the opened carton), close the warmer lid, plug in, and go away for 10-12 hours. Then I take the carton out and put it in the fridge. Done.

I can't seem to find this item mentioned online. Is there a brand name that might help me to search?

I am not Helen :biggrin: but I use something similar to what she mentions.

It is a Japanese product and I am not sure if they have anything similar in the US, it is just called "yogurt maker" and it looks like some kind of padded thing that you wrap around a carton of milk and then plug in.

For 1 liter of milk you remove about 4 to 6 tablespoons of the milk and stir in 4 to 6 tablespoons of yogurt, close the top with a clip and plug in, it turns to yogurt in 7 to 8 hours.

I make this anywhere from 1 to 3 times a week, depending on how much we are using.

looks like this:

i4463.jpg

sorry this is sidewise, but if I try to turn it around imagegullet says it is too big.....

i4464.jpg

this cost me about US$10

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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So you don't have to heat the milk at all beforehand?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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