Wednesday, January 23, 2008

make this tasty versatile food

Is this a picture of

a] sour cream?
b] ice cream?
c] pudding?

Would you believe none of the above? It's homemade yogurt.

On our trip to the prairies last fall, several family members served us the most delicious yogurt. To our surprise we discovered they made it themselves.

Now I once had a yogurt maker. It was a Salton, a longish contraption with round holes into which you put glass cups filled with cultured milk. You then covered it, plugged it in and some hours later, it was yogurt. But I found the product was unreliable, usually runny and all the pouring into cups made it fussy. So the Salton got retired and sat idle in the cupboard for years. I finally graduated it to the thrift store last summer when we moved.

The Yogourmet yogurt maker that my brothers had was different. It consisted of one large tub into which you put the milk. That feature along with the great taste and the fact that E. and I like yogurt a lot convinced us we needed to splurge and buy our own Yogourmet system. We found one at a little health food store in Saskatoon.

The first batch I made was pretty much a runny disappointment though. One percent milk alone doesn't make great yogurt. So I decided to follow the additives advice in the recipe book that came with the it. After a little trial and error we've come up with yogurt that we figure is well-nigh perfect. Here's how I make it:


- milk (I use 1%) enough to fill my 2 quart casserole bowl to about 3/4 inch from the top.
- 1 1/2 cups skim milk powder
- 1 package gelatin
- yogurt starter (I use a few tablespoonfuls of unsweetened yogurt from the last batch)

What you do:

Pour the milk into casserole bowl, cover, place in the microwave and heat at high temperature for 14 minutes.

While this is heating pour a little cold milk into a glass container and sprinkle gelatin on top to soften.

When the milk in the microwave has started to warm, take a little out and mix with the cold milk/ gelatin mixture. Stir to dissolve the gelatin in the milk entirely (I usually place the cup of milk/gelatin on top of the covered casserole dish in the MW for about a minute to totally dissolve the gelatin -- but watch that it doesn't boil). When the gelatin is totally dissolved, add it to the milk and continue to heat.

After 14 minutes the milk will be near boiling point. It should get to 80 C or 180-185 F.

Place the casserole dish with hot milk in a sink full of cold water to cool the milk. Let it cool to about 40 C or 115 F. (The Yogourmet system comes with a handy little clip-on thermometer that has the add culture temperature marked. One could also use a candy thermometer.)

Pour the warm milk into the Yogourmet container.

Add the culture and mix thoroughly.

Pour a little warm water into the large Yogourmet container, place the small container into the large one, cover and plug it in. (The warm water rises between the two containers and that plus a small element keeps the yogurt at the right temperature during the process.)

Five hours later - voila! Yogurt - the best you've ever eaten!

Of course it's possible to make yogurt without a yogurt maker. Here's one set of directions.


Anonymous said...

I bought our Yogourmet about the same time you did. I hope you didn't have to pay $100 for yours like I did in Whitehorse.

I see you adapted heating the milk in a microwave instead of the double boiler method. I tried the gelatin recipe once but mine turned out like milk jello. I've settled on 2% and powdered milk. An apple cut up in my yogurt is great for breakfast,lunch or a snack. I can't help but smile when I walk right past the commercial yogurt aisle.

Violet N. said...

Hi Anonymous, Yep, we paid dangerously close to $100 in Saskatoon :)

I guess it's like the recipe book says - each user figures out a way to make the best yogurt for them and sticks with it. And I know what you mean about feeling smug when you go down the yogurt aisle.

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