I usually make plain yogurt but, on this day, I was experimenting with flavour and culture. I used to use store bought skim milk but now that I have a milk cow (Belle) I have tons of super delicious whole milk. I used to use plain yogurt as starter but I don’t get to the grocery store much anymore and I find it much easier to keep on hand the little packets of powdered yogurt culture. They work awesome and I can keep them in my fridge for ages! A few years ago I did a blog post on making yogurt but things change so here’s my new updated version.
You will need:
One gallon of milk
Powdered culture (I use Yogourmet brand)
Skim Milk Powder
Brown Rice Syrup (or honey, sugar, more agave, xylitol, any sweetener you can add to fruit)
I use this brand of culture. I have tried their other kind that has casein in it and I did not like it! My yogurt was jiggly and did not set well at all plus it’s more expensive. Stick with this box and you can’t go wrong.
One gallon of raw whole milk (or any milk you prefer). I skim off the cream and save it for other things, Belle gives me pretty good tasting milk so I’ll use the cream in my tea, or make butter, or even pour it over homemade cottage cheese- and the skimmed milk is still good on/in everything else. You’ll end up with a bit of cream on the top of every yogurt jar even if you do skim, you can mix it in or just eat it as is.
Pour the milk into a pot and heat it up to 175-180F.
Hold this temp for 15-30 minutes stirring so as not to scorch the milk. Holding the temp will make your yogurt firm up like the commercial brands.
After about 10 min add 1/2 cup of Agave Syrup if you want it sweetened.
Today I wanted to add frozen strawberry and raspberry fruit so while your milk mixture is heating get your fruit ready. I add a bit of fruit to a pot, sorry I didn’t measure but it was maybe 2 cups of frozen strawberries and 1/2 cup of raspberries.
Add 1/2 cup of brown rice syrup (or whatever sweetener you prefer) to the fruit and stir.
Brown rice syrup added to the fruit. Heat to boiling and then set aside to cool.
When the milk gets to temp add 1/2 cup of skim milk powder, this will help stabilize the yogurt.
Cool the milk down to about 110F. You can place the pot into a sink full of cold water to bring the temp down faster but I usually find something else to do while it cools, and believe me, there’s always something else to do! lol
While the milk is cooling get your jars ready. Today I used 7 Gem jars, 1 recycled jar, and one regular pint jar. Make sure they all have lids!
I used my Braun mixer to chunk up the fruit, I wanted it chunky and not total puree so don’t do it for long!
Add about 1/8th of a cup of fruit to each jar.
Now that the milk has cooled to below 115F take about a cup and put it into a jar. Add your powdered yogurt culture. The directions say to add one envelope for each quart but I add one envelope for each TWO quarts, two envelopes in total and it works just fine.
Add back to milk in the pot and stir again.
Keep stirring because you want the culture to spread throughout the milk.
Pour it into jars and put the lids on.
I use my dehydrator to make my yogurt but there’s lots of other ways you can do it; oven, yogurt maker, cooler, thermos… Google for more ideas.
Keep your temp between 110-115F. Anything over and your culture will die.
I’ve marked my dehydrator where my temp stays pretty consistent but I also added the electronic thermometer as well.
At four hours my yogurt was done! The longer you leave it in the more tart the taste, I like it mild so I turn off the dehydrator and let my jars cool for about 1/2 hour and then I put them in the fridge. The only time I’ve seen it take much longer to set is when I did blueberry yogurt, for some reason it took about 8 hours.
This was the first time I heated the milk and held it at temperature for that length of time, it worked out well and everyone seemed to enjoy it.