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 Greek Yogurt

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Number of posts : 2726
Age : 57
Location : Arizona, USA
Favorite Quote : Beware the deadly donkey falling from the sky You may choose the way you live, my friend But not the way you die
Registration date : 2007-08-11

PostSubject: How To Make Homemade Greek Yogurt   Thu Aug 02, 2012 10:14 pm

How To Make Homemade Greek Yogurt
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Author: Nancy Lopez-McHugh & Spicie Foodie
Homemade thick, creamy and healthier Greek yogurt is easier to make than you think.

1 liter or 1 quart/4.25 cups whole fat milk, (I used 3.5%)
1 tbsp. whole fat powdered milk
1 heaping tbsp. whole fat plain unsweetened yogurt (make sure it says live and active cultures)

  1. Measure out the yogurt and leave on the counter, so it comes to room temperature. Pour all but 1/2 cup of the milk into a large pot. Mix the 1/2 cup milk with the powdered milk until well combined and there are no lumps in the milk. Pour the powdered milk mixture into the pot with the rest of the milk. Over medium heat bring the milk to a temperature of 180f or 82c. If you do not have a thermometer allow the milk to heat just until it begins to froth/bubble not allowing it to boil. Turn the heat off, remove from stove and set aside to cool.
  2. After 15 minutes check the milk temperature, it should still be warm but not scorching. Test by placing your clean pinky finger into it and if you can comfortably leave it in there for a few seconds then you can proceed, if not continue to cool down. The milk needs to be lukewarm. It is very important for the milk not to be too hot so the yogurt cultures are not killed by the heat.
  3. Mix in the 1 tbsp. of plain white yogurt to the pot, mix well to throughly to distribute the yogurt into the scalded milk. Cover the pot with lid, wrap the whole pot in a thick blanket or towel, and place inside the oven to incubate. The oven should be turned off, but if you can, leave the oven light on to create a bit of heat inside. (Instead of placing the wrapped yogurt inside the oven it can also be left in a warm spot in your kitchen.) Leave for 3 to 6 hours in the turned off oven, or warm kitchen spot. During this time is when the yogurt cultures begin to react/grow and the milk begins to set into yogurt.
  4. Allowing to sit for 3 hours creates a milder yogurt, allowing it to sit longer creates a more acidic yogurt. If after 3 hours the yogurt has not thickened then it needs to sit longer. I leave mine for 6 hours and feel the taste is great, just a little acidic but perfect to my liking, but also the yogurt is always thick after 6 hours. After the 3 or 6 hours of incubation, unwrap the yogurt but leave the lid on. Place the pot in the refrigerator to thicken further for a few hours or overnight. I like to leave mine overnight so itís ready for breakfast the next day.
  5. The next day or after a few hours the yogurt will have thickened. You can test by tasting with a tablespoon. You can further thickened the yogurt to make it Greek style. We can do so by draining some or most of the whey.

To drain off whey and for a thicker Greek Yogurt like consistency:

1. Line a fine sieve with muslin cloth or a clean kitchen towel, and place over a bowl to collect the whey. Pour the yogurt into the muslin cloth, gather up he cloth, and twist. Place in the refrigerator and allow to drain for 2 hours or until you achieve the consistency or yogurt thickness desired.
2. Reserve some of the whey incase the yogurt needs to be thinned down. If you feel the strained yogurt is too thick simply pour a bit of the drained whey into it, mix and check thickness again.
3. Store the yogurt in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Consume within a week, if you donít eat it before then that is.

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Number of posts : 2726
Age : 57
Location : Arizona, USA
Favorite Quote : Beware the deadly donkey falling from the sky You may choose the way you live, my friend But not the way you die
Registration date : 2007-08-11

PostSubject: Greek Yogurt   Thu Sep 13, 2012 3:32 am

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Benefits to eating more yogurt:

Itís satisfying. (Similar to milkĖsee Got Milk?)
It has luxuriously creamy texture.
Itís mild.
Itís full of calcium and protein
Itís good for the digestive system.
It lends itself to many flavor variations.
Itís inexpensive when you make it yourself.

I honestly canít think of a better snack. Itís that good!

This yogurt even helped me kick my ice cream habit and thatís saying something.

But it can be expensive to buy. So I make it myself at least twice a week. Now that I have my system down, actual hands-on time is less than 10 minutes.

I use non-fat milk to keep the calories low. Adding 1/4-1/3 cup nonfat dried milk solids increases the calcium content and richness without extra fat. Milk higher in fat will also work if you prefer.

Editorís Note as of 2/19/11: I no longer add dry milk solids. I find I like the texture better without it.

Check out the video below or keep reading for all the details.

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My directions are perfect for making large batches as opposed to the individual servings produced by an electric yogurt maker. However, the yogurt maker is easy and foolproof if your needs are small.

First: Fill Pyrex batter bowl (my preference) or 2-quart glass container with 2 quarts of milk. Use skim for fat-free.) Microwave ítil bubbles begin to appear around the edge. Temperature should reach 175-180 degrees after you stir it. (In my microwave, it takes 17 minutes on HIGH). Do not skip this step. It is important to unravel the proteins so they will behave during the incubation process.

Stir milk once or twice during the heating process to prevent skin from forming. If a skin does form, remove it.

Second: Allow milk to cool until temperature drops to between 110 and 120 degrees. This can take 30-45 minutes. Use a cooking thermometer to check. I like this one with an alarm that goes off when mixture reaches a preset temperature. If you are in a hurry, fill sink or large bowl with ice and set the container of milk in it.

Third: Whisk in 1/4 to 1/2 cup nonfat dried milk and 1-2 teaspoons yogurt as a starter from your favorite brand of plain yogurt (but it must contain live cultures and should not have any additives). You may use yogurt from a previous batch of your own homemade yogurt. I started out with nonfat Fage Greek yogurt. If you buy it, take note of the price and then pat yourself on the back for all the money you saved by making your own.

Editorís Note: I have now been using my own yogurt as a starter for over six months. It seems to get better and better despite what some people say about using it only three or four times or even just once. Since I make yogurt at least twice a week, it never has a chance to get old.

Fourth: Cover milk and place in a conventional oven that has been preheated for only one minute. Wrap in towels. Turn the oven light on. In a gas oven, the pilot light may keep it warm enough. Other ways to keep the yogurt warm during incubation include an ice chest, heating pad, electric yogurt maker or an unusually warm spot in the house. If it is a hot summer day in Texas, just stick it on the porch! Let sit for 6-10 hours but it may need up to 11-14 hours. Itís difficult to make a hard-and-fast rule here since each environment is slightly different.

Editorís Note: The more I hear from people who have tried this, the more Iím convinced of the importance of keeping a steady incubation temperature around 100 degrees. Many newer ovens can be set to 100-110 degrees which is perfect.

How can you tell when itís finished? Good question and the hardest part of the entire process. You will learn by experience when it ďlooks right.Ē It should be setĖ as in slightly gelatinous, even though you have put no gelatin in it. There will most likely be a watery, slightly yellow liquid on top called ďwhey.Ē I havenít figured out a good use for the whey but let me know if you think of one.

yogurt before straining1

At this point you could chill the yogurt and eat as is. It is your choice to pour off the whey or stir it back in. Straining makes the yogurt thicker and less tart resulting in Greek yogurt.
From regular yogurt to Greek yogurt:

Fifth: Very carefully pour yogurt into a bouillon strainer aka chinois. This is where I part company with other directions Iíve seen for Greek yogurt. Most suggest using several layers of cheesecloth to line a strainer or even a coffee filter (for a small amount). What a mess to clean up!

Although a bouillon strainer or chinois is pricey, it is well worth it. You will lose very few solids if yogurt has set up thick enough. If the solids flow through the strainer, you need to put it back in the oven for a few hours to thicken. (See editorís note below and troubleshooting tips at the end of this post). Just to be clear, a bouillon strainer has a very, very fine mesh. The only place I know to purchase one is a restaurant supply or look online (see link above). A standard grocery store strainer is not fine enough. Read more about the process of straining here.

Editorís Note: Because I know the process so well at my house, failed yogurt at this point usually means I have problems with the starter. Either I have killed it with too high of temperature or it was too old. So I simply stir in more starter and re-incubate.

Let yogurt sit in the strainer till the yogurt is reduced by approximately half. Time will vary according to the thickness of the yogurt out of the oven and your own preference regarding texture and sourness. Tip the strainer or stir very gently if whey has pooled on top while straining.

yogurt in sieve

Empty whey from batter bowl and pour yogurt out of strainer back into the original bowl. Use a good whisk to beat until smooth. (Tip: Rinse the strainer immediately. Do no let any residue from the yogurt dry on the mesh or it may be impossible to get clean. However, they clean up beautifully after a trip through the dishwasher.)

whisking Greek yogurt

At this point you have several options. Pour into glass jars as is. Mixture will be very thick when cold (and reportedly keeps longer when thicker). Or you can continue with one of the following:

* Add sugar, sweetener, honey, flavorings, or Torani SyrupĖ sugar-free or not. My personal favorite is a combination of almond and vanilla sugar-free syrup.

* Since I like my yogurt mellow (one reason why I strain the whey out of it) and not quite as thick as sour cream, I add some kind of milk back to it until it is the perfect consistency for my tastes. Start with 2-3 tablespoons and mix to suit yourself. Good choices would be skim milk, sugar-free vanilla-flavored soy milk, sugar-free vanilla almond milk or splurge with heavy cream. I recently tried adding light coconut milk and it was oh so creamy and velvety smooth on the tongue. I couldnít believe it!
Suggestions for stir-ins before eating:

* homemade granola

* sugar-free jelly

* fresh fruit

* banana and a small crumbled cookie (reminiscent of banana pudding)

* instant espresso

homemade Greek yogurt square

Please donít be discouraged if at first you donít succeed. Check out the troubleshooting guide and try again. If you have time, reading through the comments may give you some additional hints.
Troubleshooting Failed Yogurt

* Did the milk cool below 120 degrees F but not below 105 F? Above 120 degrees F, the bacteria in the yogurt starter will be murdered.

*Did you heat the milk sufficiently to kill the bacteria in it and rearrange the proteins? It should come just short of a boil.

* Where did you incubate your yogurt? Is it too warm or not warm enough? In the past, I have forgotten to turn on the light in my oven. Didnít work. Not warm enough. Temperature needs to stay around 100 degrees.

* Was your yogurt starter too old? Did it have active cultures? Donít forget to save some yogurt from a previous batch so you wonít have to buy it again. Some people recommend you start over with commercial yogurt every 3-4 batches but I find it unnecessary if you use starter from your homemade yogurt not over a week old.

* Did it incubate long enough? Times will vary. 12-14 hours may be necessary. Watch for gelatinous texture.

*Was the yogurt mixture disturbed during incubation?

* Did you add too much starter to the warm milk? Only 1-2 teaspoons-not over a tablespoonĖ are needed. More is not better. The bacteria need room to grow. (Sorry about that last sentence. I know it doesnít sound very appetizing, but itís true. Thatís why yogurt is so good for the digestive system.)

* Are you using a strainer with a very, very fine mesh? If you donít have one, you must use several layers of cheesecloth to line your strainer instead.

* When pouring the yogurt into the strainer, did you pour it too rapidly or let it fall a long way to the strainer? This can cause you to lose too many solids through the strainer.

* Do you feel little bits of ďskinĒ in the yogurt? You may have missed some attached to the side of the bowl as the milk was cooling. Stirring at least 2-3 times during the heating process will help prevent a skin from forming.

Not working out for you? Email me, leave a question in the comments, OR . . . break down and buy yourself some Fage Greek Yogurt. Just be sure you get the Total 0% variety for lowest calories. At least itís cheaper than a bag of chips.

Want to read more about making yogurt? Check out these posts.

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Nutritional Stats per 6 ounce serving:

Calories 90
Total Fat 0
Cholesterol 0
Sodium 65 mg
Carbohydrates 7 g
Fiber 0 g
Sugars 7 g
Protein 15 g
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