Monday, January 18, 2010

Homemade with a Heating Pad

The results are in! After trial and error, and more trial and error, we have achieved YOGURT! At first I used an online recipe and my oven warming drawer, then a friend's recipe and a crockpot. Both flopped, due mostly to an over-warm atmosphere for the six hour culture growth period - they got up to 145 degrees and I think that killed the yogurt bugs. Finally, I hit upon the idea of putting the glass jars of yogurt in a small box, covering it with a heating pad, then closing the box and insulating it with a thick towel. I was able to maintain a temperature of 90-100 degrees for a long period this way - although I made sure it was when we were awake and around the house (I'm not super sure that it would be fire-safe enough to do overnight).

All you need is milk, powdered milk, and a couple tablespoons of existing yogurt to grow the culture. You can add vanilla if you like, and if you want it quite thick like the store kind, you can add a packet of plain Knox gelatin powder. Once you make a batch, you can use your own yogurt to culture your next batch. I figured that my homemade yogurt comes to about 12 cents a cup instead of 50 plus cents a cup even at the big box store. And mine has no sugar, high fructose corn syrup or corn starch! We just spoon it in a bowl and add some fresh fruit or a big spoonful of homemade jam!

If you want the actual instructions, I can send them to you. I also made some non-dairy yogurt this way using a can of coconut milk plus soy milk.

P.S. Don't feel too bad if you need add some sweetener with your fruit to get the plain yogurt to your taste: after looking on the back of the store-bought fruit yogurt, I realized that 20% of the cup is sugar - the equivalent of 10 teaspoons! I doubt you'll need that much!

1 comment:

Lorraine said...

can't you make yogurt n a crock pot on a low setting? Elevate the bowl and leave off the lid- just cover with a towel? I'm sure i saw a recipe for it once.. But don't know the method.