We all know that I am a big fan of dairy. I go through a lot of yogurt. My favorite is plain Greek-style with jam. But I love all those Turkish recipes that use yogurt–for example, meatballs flavored with onion, cumin, and coriander served on a bed of yogurt and tomatoes:
I love real frozen yogurt ice cream, like I had in the Czech Republic. It actually tastes like yogurt and has that delicious tang, unlike many frozen yogurts that taste just like ice cream pretending to be “healthy”. (Look, it’s still a dessert, even if it is “yogurt”). I have made yogurt soup. I even love that yogurt drink (once again) popular in Turkey that is basically like drinking thinned plain yogurt. Yes, I love yogurt!
No surprise, then that I have been wanting to make yogurt on my own for some time. I feel slightly guilty for getting a machine to do this, but I figured it would be easier to fit into my schedule that way. So for mother’s day, I got a yogurt machine (yes, in addition to the cheese kit. Quite a dairy theme going on here). I picked this particular yogurt maker, rather than one that makes a whole pint, because I love the little glass jars. Reminds me of those cute little yogurts they sell in France in glass.
I decided to splurge a bit on the milk–I got milk from Highlawn Farm, made in the Berkshires from Jersey cows–they produce a higher calcium, higher protein milk than the Holsteins that are typically used. It’s a bit more expensive than organic milk, (and this variety is not organic, but it is hormone-free), but only marginally. The actual process of making the yogurt is pretty easy–you have to boil the milk briefly (though I think that’s not necessary if you are content with a softer yogurt), mix in some yogurt as a starter (I used some trader joe’s Greek yogurt), pour into the yogurt maker, and set the timer. I used whole milk and “cooked” it for 7 hours. You have to “cook” slightly longer if you use lower-fat milk.
I was surprised at how sweet the yogurt was, especially as I had used Greek yogurt as a starter. It did get more of a tang as the days went by, as I had expected. My yogurt maker says I can’t use leftovers from the previous batch as a starter more than once, which I find surprising–from everything I’ve read about yogurt making, you only need the starter one time. Why would it be any different if using a machine?
The one drawback to making the yogurt in the small containers is using bulk amounts for recipes, but as I only do that from time to time I figure I can buy it. Eventually perhaps I’d like to make my own using the more traditional (i.e. non-electric) method, as Mariannika did (using the same McGee method I read about with great interest in the NYT) or as discussed here. I’m hardly worried about having an overabundance of yogurt, after all.