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    Wiki: Yogurt Making Recipe

    This Wiki Article is a generic recipe for making Yogurt, also spelt yoghurt or yogourt. Homemade yogurt is easy to make and generally has a richer taste than store-bought yogurt plus as you know how it is made, you know it doesn’t have all the listed and unlisted additives found in most store-bought yogurts such as viscosifiers, stabilizers, and artificial flavors. Some example manufactured yogurt viscosifiers (see pictures on bottom right) are:

    • Gelatin (hydrolyzed form of collagen derived from inside animals’ skin and bones).
    • Pectin (extracted from plant, normal citrus fruits, cell walls).
    • Agar-Agar (gelatinous substance derived from seaweed).
    • Carrageenan (gelatinous substance derived from red seaweed).
    • Corn Starch (starch derived from corn grains).
    • Locust Bean Gum (a vegetable gum extracted from the seeds of the Carob tree).
    • Tapioca (a starch extracted from the root of the Cassava plant).

    To increase viscosity, most home yogurt makers use more expensive whole milk or add dry powdered milk or evaporated milk. Without using any of the viscosifying additives listed above, homemade yogurt will normally be less viscous and when left in fridge will have a small amount of whey separation. This is normal, just stir back in or pour off the little whey.

    The general process is to heat the milk to kill off existing bacteria and denature the milk proteins so that they set together rather than form curds, and then in this fertile environment, add the bacteria (there are several) that with correct temperature and time turn the milk into yogurt.

    Equipment

    • Vat in which to cook the milk and incubate the yogurt culture.
    • Vat heating device.
    • Stirring tool.
    • Thermometer.
    • Food grade storage container(s).

    Ingredients – American

    • 1 liter/1 US quart milk of your choice (fresher is better).
    • Optional Thickener: ~50 ml/2 ounces dry milk powder or some canned evaporated milk, amount varies depending on milk used and consistency desired.
    • Bacteria: 50 ml/2 ounces fresh unflavored store-bought yogurt with live cultures or manufactured freeze-dried powdered yogurt starter culture.

    Directions – Water Bath Method

    1. Pour milk into vat.
    2. If using thickener, stir in now.
    3. Heat vat of milk to ~ 85°C/185°F, stirring to avoid hot spots.
    4. Turn off heat, cover, and allow milk to cool to at least 50°C/120°F (can accelerate cooling by placing saucepan in ice-cold water bath).
    5. To ensure thorough dilution of starter culture and thus thicker yogurt, dilute culture thoroughly in small bowl for 1 minute with some of milk using whisk before stirring thoroughly into milk for 1 minute.
    6. Pour mixture into clean glass jars or plastic storage containers.
    7. Ripen mixture at 50°C/120°F (+/- 3°C/5°F) until desired viscosity/consistency (normally 6-12 hours) by placing jars/containers in a warm water bath in either a large stockpot and maintaining temperature by placing it on a range’s smallest ring on lowest setting or in soda/pop plastic picnic cooler and periodically replacing some of the cooler water with warm. Do not disturb/stir mixture while ripening.
    8. Use immediately or place in household fridge to thicken. Can be stored in household fridge for up to 1 month with lid on container before consuming.

    Directions – Overnight Oven Method

    This method is for most household ovens whose thermostat won’t let them turn down to 50°C/120°F. It does not work if you have more modern style oven that has an automatic cool down fan when heating is turned off.

    1. Preheat oven to 175°C/350°F, then turn off.
    2. Combine milk and thickener if using, warm to ~ 50°C/120°F.
    3. To ensure thorough dilution of starter culture and thus thicker yogurt, dilute culture thoroughly in small bowl for 1 minute with some of milk using whisk before whisking thoroughly into milk for 1 minute.
    4. Pour mixture into sterile glass jar or casserole dish and cover with lid.
    5. Wrap container in thick towel and place in oven overnight. Do not disturb/stir mixture while ripening.
    6. In morning, unwrap and yogurt should be set. Note, if find not enough heat retained at end, next batch try leaving oven light bulb on to provide extra heating.
    7. Use immediately or place in household fridge to thicken. Can be stored in household fridge for up to 1 month with lid on container before consuming.

    Directions – Yogurt Machine Method

    Incubating culture at constant temperature for several hours via the above two methods is troublesome/labor intensive, if you make yogurt often, consider buying a low-cost Yogurt “Making” Machine.

    1. Pour cold milk from fridge into machine’s container.
    2. Place in center of microwave, zap on normal max setting until reach ~ 85°C/185°F (~5 1/2 minutes depending on microwave size and milk amount).
    3. Carefully move hot container to countertop, place lid on, allow to cool to ~ 50°C/120°F (about 100 minutes).
    4. To ensure thorough dilution of starter culture and thus thicker yogurt, dilute culture thoroughly in small bowl for 1 minute with some of milk using whisk before whisking thoroughly into milk for 1 minute.
    5. Place container with lid on in machine, place cover on machine, switch on.
    6. Ripen mixture until desired viscosity/consistency (6-12 hours). Do not disturb/stir mixture while ripening.
    7. Use immediately or place in household fridge to thicken. Can be stored in household fridge for up to 1 month with lid on container before consuming.

    Options

    • For thicker yogurt use higher milkfat % milk and/or add more milk powder.
    • Add flavorings before incubating, some examples:
      1. Vanilla
    • Add flavorings after making, some examples:
      1. Sugar (adding before incubating results in bacteria feeding on sugars rather than lactose in the milk).
      2. Maple Syrup
      3. Instant Coffee Powder.
      4. Crushed Nuts
      5. Fruits such as strawberry, peach, apricots, blueberries, bananas. If using fresh fruit, add when being served as the acids break down the yoghurt and can make it runny.
      6. Jam

    Notes

    • Which ever system chosen, record method and temperature closely so that future batches can be made with less attention.
    • Excess store-bought plain active yogurt for starter can be frozen in ice cubes and then used later as required.
    • Not all store-bought plain active yogurts are equal, they have many different active ingredients resulting in many subtleties in flavor and health benefit, experiment!
    • Store bought Probiotic Yogurt is normally more expensive than non-probiotic labelled yogurt primarily because of the extra marketing cost and a small amount due to the added ingredients. Probiotic means live microorganisms thought to be beneficial to the host organism. Yogurt and cheese contain microorganisms that are benefifical to the host (ie digestive tract in humans). Manufactured probiotic labelled yogurt/cheese normally include addition bacterial cultures which are not directly related to the yogurt/cheesemaking process but are used for proposed health benefits.
    • You can use some of your previous batch for next batches starter, however then purity of the bacterial strains will degrade over generations.
    • Powdered cultures are generally stronger, than using store-bought yogurt as a starter culture. They are available from health food stores, Cheese Making Supply Stores, and as very popular, from large online stores like Amazon USA.
    • Heating milk too high will cause cream to separate.
    • Curdled yogurt can be caused by adding starter culture to too hot milk.
    • Common low viscosity (weak) or grainy yogurt causes are:
      1. Not thoroughly stirring in starter culture.
      2. Milk temperature too low when starter added and/or during ripening.
      3. Weak starter culture.
      4. Adding starter when milk too hot.
      5. Vessels not sterile enough.
      6. Antibiotics in fresh raw milk can kill the starter. To mitigate, stand milk in fridge for 2 days to diminish before using.
    • Bad tastes can be caused by:
      1. Too long incubating, resulting in too tangy – sour taste.
      2. Unclean containers, inducing unwanted bacteria.
      3. Over heated milk or hot spot when heating milk resulting in burnt taste.

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