When school is in session, I eat a lot of yogurt. It’s a quick and easy breakfast food and something I can throw in my bag in the morning when I haven’t thought ahead and packed a grand lunch. I made the plunge last year and began making my own. It’s very simple to do, but I have to admit that I miss the variety of packaged yogurts. Of course you can stir in delicious jams, honeys, and more, but it’s just not the same as a smooth, happy yogurt.
So, in trying to create this ultimate fast food, I’ve been doing a lot of research. Google searches seem to only lead to shady or impractical websites. ( “Of course, nothing equals a yogurt from Crete, made with goats’ milk…”) Library books have let me down. And no one on the baking circle even responded to my plea for help. So, I took to experimenting!
Here I find myself, a whole lot of jiggly yogurts later, in the position to give some advice. I’ll save you the experimentation.
How to enjoy homemade yogurt, a condensed version of my journey…
1. First, get yourself a yogurt maker. Yes, you could be tough and make it without a gadget, but really, make it easy on yourself. I like this type of maker, because it has individual glass jars which make packing lunch and making different flavors easier. I use this starter, which is stocked in the cold section of my grocery store. To save on buying starter, you can make a chain, reserving one jar of plain yogurt to be the starter for the next time. You can also freeze this, if you’re not going to do it right away. The more you extend a chain, however, the more tart it will get.
2. Decide if you like plain yogurt. If you do, you’re in luck. Here’s a great recipe:
Follow the directions on your starter or-
Heat about 42oz of milk in a saucepan until it boils. Stir and watch. (If you burn it it on the bottom, the yogurt will taste BAD. Trust me.) Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Put a little of this milk in one of your jars, add starter (or 5 tbls. live active plain yogurt), shake all around, and then add back to the batch. Whisk in 1/3 cup of dry milk powder (optional, but makes for firmer yogurt). Pour into your jars and incubate for about 6 hours. Don’t be tempted to jiggle it while you wait. It should remain still or it may have trouble setting.
3. Try stirring in different combinations. I like:
- local honey
- homemade fruit sauces (like blackberry or strawberry)
4. Make smooth, pre-flavored yogurts.
Follow the directions for plain yogurt. After you stir in the starter, add 1tbls. sugar and 1 1/2 tsp. of vanilla.* (Be sure to use the milk powder option.)
Follow directions for plain yogurt, adding 1 tsp. espresso powder and 1 tbls. sugar.*
Fruit ‘on the bottom’
Cook 1/2 c. chopped fresh fruit, 3 tbls. sugar, and enough water to cover the fruit, over low heat for 10-15 minutes. Cool. Mix in after starter.
*These are the measurements for a half batch. I usually pour one jar of plain, then make three jars of each flavor. To make an entire batch of one flavor, just double the measurements.
Do you have a tried and true recipe? Please share!