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yogurt and granola - when you don't know what to do...
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tashabear
tashabear
yogurt and granola
So here is how I make yogurt. Some people like using a crockpot; I prefer the stovetop because my pot won't crack in an ice bath, plus it's easier to clean.

Things you need:

  • Big pot

  • Thermometer -- I use an instant read thermometer, as I broke my candy thermometer

  • Jars -- I use 6 oz Ball or Mason jars (they might be 8 oz), as they're single-serving size and I'm more likely to eat my yogurt if I'm not dirtying dishes to do so. You need more capacity than you think; the milk expands as heated and a gallon will make an extra half pint to a pint

  • Canning Funnel -- not strictly necessary, but makes life SO much easier

  • Ladle -- More necessary than the funnel

  • Milk -- Can be any type: whole milk, 2% or skim. I like whole or 2% for yogurt, but I made it with skim for my mom and she loves it

  • Starter -- If I don't have any of my own yogurt, I buy a small pot of Stonyfield Farm plain. It's got active cultures in it and is very good quality

  • Whisk -- again, not strictly necessary, a spoon will do, but it incorporates the starter nice and fast

  • Cooler -- must be big enough for a single layer of jars



How to make it:

  • Pour milk into a big pot. Make sure you have room for it to expand, as it does when heated. Heat to 185dF. Stir now and again, but *do not* let it boil. Prep an ice water bath in the sink as you wait.

  • When it reaches 185 degrees, move the pot to the ice water bath and let it cool to 120dF. Prep the starter while you wait (ie, open the container).

  • When the milk has cooled to 120dF, add the starter and whisk or stir to incorporate.

  • Fill the jars. I usually leave about a quarter inch of head space. If you want to add a lot of mix-ins (fruit, granola, etc), leave more space.

  • Put the jars in the cooler and add enough hot tap water to submerge the jars up to the level of the milk. Try not to submerge the jars completely; if they aren't sealed you don't want to risk getting water into your yogurt.

  • Cover the cooler with a thick towel and put it somewhere out of the way. I put mine in my tub.

  • Ignore for 6-8 hours, or overnight. You can check it, but don't touch it for at least 4-6 hours. It won't set if you play with it.

  • At the end of the incubation period, the milk shouldn't move when you tip the jar on its side. Refrigerate and eat when chilled.

I have to go back to work, but I'll add a thing on how I make granola when I get a chance.

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i feel: busy busy

13 trips or shoot the rapids
Comments
(Deleted comment)
profesor From: profesor Date: September 25th, 2014 06:00 pm (UTC) (base camp)
When we make it, we use plastic lids that fit the canning jars but don't seal tight like a regular canning lid would. So we put them on for incubation, just not overly tight.
tashabear From: tashabear Date: September 25th, 2014 07:12 pm (UTC) (base camp)
Well, you could leave them open, I suppose, but see that part about not wanting to get water in your burgeoning yogurt? You'd probably want to cap them.
(Deleted comment)
tashabear From: tashabear Date: September 27th, 2014 02:24 am (UTC) (base camp)
I have cats. They go places. Sometimes those places are my tub, and they also like to rub on things. It would make me very sad that, in their effort to lay claim to my cooler, they bumped it sufficiently to contaminate my jars. :-)
profesor From: profesor Date: September 25th, 2014 05:59 pm (UTC) (base camp)
We make it very similarly. Our temps are both 5dF lower than yours (180F and 115F). We don't use ice water to cool it, just cold tap water. We also sometimes leave it to set for well over 12 hours.

We don't fill the cooler directly with hot water. We fill the milk bottles we used with hot tap water and put them in the cooler surrouding the yogurt jars.
palegreyminion From: palegreyminion Date: September 25th, 2014 06:03 pm (UTC) (base camp)
I'm not super-precise with the upper temperature, but the lower one does have to be between 110F and 120F so I always shoot for 115F. And we do often leave it to set for closer to 20-22 hours. Allows the bacteria to eat up more of the lactose. You do have to be careful doing that because if you over culture it you won't be able to use it as the starter for the next batch.
palegreyminion From: palegreyminion Date: September 25th, 2014 06:00 pm (UTC) (base camp)
That's exactly how I make it, except that I don't fill the cooler with hot water. I take the two empty milk bottles (I make a gallon at a time & I get my milk in glass bottles), fill them with hot tap water and put them in the cooler instead.
tashabear From: tashabear Date: September 25th, 2014 07:12 pm (UTC) (base camp)
My cooler isn't big enough for that, and I haven't been able to justify the expense of buying new lids for my jars when the lid and rings they came with work perfectly well. They're on my Amazon wish list, but I have LOTS of jars.


Edited at 2014-09-25 07:12 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
tashabear From: tashabear Date: September 27th, 2014 02:27 am (UTC) (base camp)
You assume I have a functioning dishwasher. I do not. It hasn't worked for over a decade, and is now my wicked fancy under-counter drying rack. So since I handwash, I inspect my lids and rings when I wash them. And thank you, I was aware of that particular property of metal. I might have been an English major, but I did get that much science crammed into my brain. :-P
(Deleted comment)
tashabear From: tashabear Date: September 27th, 2014 02:50 am (UTC) (base camp)
It does come across like that sometimes.
13 trips or shoot the rapids