Works very well for me. I have tried making it before using other recipes and always a flop.
Last time I made yogurt I made 2 gallons worth, as my girls love it wqith frozen berries and a little sugar.
When made as Fankhauser says I have had a jar last 2 months I used it for the starter for the 2 gallons I made. It did take 6 hours for it to gel instead of the 3 hours it did the last time I had made it.
Hmmmmm....even though it looks not too difficult, I am not a cook, maybe I would be better off just buying plain, organic yoghurt? I would have to buy some jars with lids and then the sterilizing scares me...
Perhaps I'm slowly poisoning myself, but I've never sterilized the jars I use for the yogurt. I just wash them in the dishwasher. I use old peanut butter jars that hold 16 oz.
Here's what I do:
* heat 1/2 gallon milk to about 180 deg. F (you could use more or less milk if you want more or less yogurt)
* turn off heat and let cool to about 120 deg. F
* mix small amount of this milk with about 1/4 cup of yogurt that has come to room temperature (you can buy yogurt as a starter, or use yogurt you've made)
* mix this small amount of milk/yogurt back into the pot of milk
* pour into jars
* set jars on top of heating pad turned on low, wrap jars in a towel and cover the whole thing with an inverted soup pan (insulation)
* let sit for 8-12 hours, then refrigerate
This has worked for me every time. Also, you can freeze yogurt in ice cube trays to have as starters down the road. Just defrost and bring them up to room temp before mixing with the milk.
I don't buy yogurt outside. I make small batches at home. Here's my method:
* Heat 1/2 L of milk, just to boiling point.
* Set it on the counter to cool. It's cool enough when you can stick your finger in and hold it for a few seconds (not too hot to kill yogurt bacteria)
* Then you can add a spoon of yogurt from previous batch (I've found less yogurt makes it set better...add too much and it comes out chunky)
* Stir it well, then cover and let it sit.
In terms of getting the right temp for incubation.....the heating pad is a great idea! I also:
* Keep it near the stove while i cook dinner. It can set in 3 hours this way!
* Put it in the oven, with just the light on, so it gets warm, but not hot.
* Don't leave it overnight, if your kitchen gets cold.
I've never heard of needing to sterilize jars for yogurt. The whole thing about it is that there are bacteria that keep the milk eatable even if it sits out, right?
The cheat's way of doing it is to use a vacuum flask- one of those kiddies plastic flasks with Barney or whatever on the outside works well for me, and you can sterilize them in the microwave. They're easy to clean too.
I fill a small flask with milk, put the milk in a pan to heat, wash the flask thoroughly and sterilize it. Mix a little warm milk with the yoghurt, then in with the warm milk, and tip it into the flask. It makes around a half a pint. (all we generally get through in a day or two...) Oh- I generally use a dessert-spoonful of yoghurt to culture it.
mama-mutki - You can do the pricing in your own area, but for me I figure it saves about half. I'm not buying certified organic milk, though, but milk from a local farmer who does not use chemicals/growth hormones/antibiotics and pastures the cows. A quart of organic yogurt for me costs around $2.50 and a gallon (so, 4 quarts) of milk ranges from $4 to $4.50 depending on the brand I choose.
anabel - You're not turning the milk bad. You're adding cultures to it. If you eat yogurt from the store, I'm not sure what the difference is. But I guess it's impossible to guarantee you won't get sick from it. Just know that lots of people make their own yogurt and have no trouble with it. Even if it is bad for some reason, it shouldn't kill you.
Just made 4 gallons of yogurt yesterday :LOL Two where for a friend and the other are for us. Friend wanted me to teach her though its so easy to follow the link I put above. She a hands on type of a learner.
A yogurt maker IMO is a waste of money when it can be done with just a few basic kitchen "tools".
I buy raw milk for $3 a gallon, yogurt I pay a couple of dollars for a tub and the girls can eat that in one sitting.
Homemade yogurt is wonderful tasting, nothing like it IMO.
I steralize my jars in the dishwasher, very handy IMO. Its funny but my mom doesnt steralize anything but the bring the milk to 185 and her yogurt takes.
Using an ice chest with hot (130F) tap water to keep the yogurt warm is really handy.
I have never had a tummy ache from anything homemade but store bought well thats another story.
Fankhauser yogurt making instructions are really easy to follow and helpful.
I'm gearing up to try this too- we go through so much yogurt and I'm getting sick of throwing out all the plastic tubs (can't recycle them here and there is only so much cupboard space, kwim)...
anyway- I tested my crockpot today to see what the temp on low is- and the water I put in there was 115 F... is this ok to incubate (?) the yogurt? The recipes I found online were saying 110 F and I don't know if 5 degrees is enough to kill the bacteria or what??
I don't have a gas oven so don't think the electric light would be warm enough, right?
Also, does it really take 8-12 hours? I thought I read that the longer it sits, the tarter it gets? Do you just wait for it to set and then put it in the fridge?
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