Thursday, May 21, 2015

Making Yogurt



My son is taking a dairy food science project for 4-H this year.  So we have been learning how to turn milk into all kinds of great food.  One of my favorites so far has been learning to make yogurt.  I had no idea how easy it was and how much cheaper it is to make your own fat free Greek yogurt.  The only thing was my kids did not like it.  They are used to flavored and blended yogurt. So the first time we made Greek yogurt we put it in containers and put it in the freezer.  I found on Pinterest that you can make frozen yogurt pops by taking Greek yogurt and putting in the Kool-Aid Liquid Drink Mix. My kids loved it.  Both fresh and when we froze them.  We have tried orange and also used Crush Drink Mix that was strawberry flavored.  Both taste great!!

To make Greek Yogurt I found a recipe for Skyr. Which is an Icelandic version of Greek Yogurt.  You can find the link to the recipe here.



To start with you need a gallon of skim milk and pour it into a pan. 

 
You will need a thermometer. Slowly heat the milk to 195 degrees Fahrenheit.  Stirring frequently to prevent the milk from burning.  A film will form on the bottom of pan.  Just be careful not to stir hard and stir the milk solids into the milk.  Once it hits 195 degrees take it off the heat and let cool to 110 degrees Fahrenheit.  I put the entire pan in the sink with ice water to speed up this process.
 


When the milk reaches 110 degrees Fahrenheit it is now time to inoculate the milk with your culture. You need to use some plain yogurt that has live active cultures.  Once you make this once you can keep a little back from each batch to save to make the next batch.  Take some of the warm milk out of the pan and add 4 tablespoons of your yogurt. Blend until smooth and then add to the milk.  You also add rennet to this recipe.  Do not use the Junket rennet that you find in the grocery stores.  This does not work for cheese making or this recipe.  Use a good quality cheese making rennet.  I ordered mine from New England Cheese Making Supply. Crush half a tablet and dissolve into 1/4 cup of non chlorinated water.  Add this to the milk mixture and stir thoroughly.
 


 
Put on the lid!
 


Then wrap the entire pot in 2 to 3 towels.  We did 3 towels.  We put the pan on the towel and wrapped it up in it.  Then repeated that process with 2 more towels.  Then you set it on your counter and leave it for 12 to 16 hours.  Both times we have made this we do it in the evening and let it sit overnight.  I have checked it after 11 hours and it was done. 
 


When you open up the lid the next day it is like magic!! It is so neat to see how the bacteria did its work and formed yogurt.  The rennet makes it extra thick almost like cheese curds! You can see how the whey has separated from the yogurt!
 
 
Next you need to cut the yogurt into squares.  It makes it easier to scoop out of the pan this way.  Don't cut to the bottom of the pan and scrape up any film that may have formed on the bottom of the pan.

 
Now scoop your yogurt into a strainer.  I use a clean muslin dish towel to strain off the whey.  Put this into a strainer in a bowl.


 
Now let your whey drain off.  I tie mine up to my cupboard to let drain.  This can take 2 to 4 hours. 
 

 
This is what it looks like when the whey has been drained off.  I just use a spatula to scrape it out of the towel.

 
Use a whisk or mixer and blend until smooth!! You now have very nice and thick Greek Yogurt!!