Yogurt!

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:

Turkish style meatballs and yogurt.

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.

Ingredients for yogurt

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.

Boiled 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?

My favorite way to enjoy.

My favorite way to enjoy.

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.

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5 thoughts on “Yogurt!

  1. This is just too funny. I’ve been thinking about buying a yogurt maker for a couple weeks now and have started comparing different kinds already. I guess I will go for a non-electric yogurt maker. You fill it with boiling water, and there is a separate container which you fill with the milk and the yogurt starter, and this container then goes into the other container. Then you let it sit overnight… I just don’t know where to put the gadget – our kitchen is kinda small, and I already have the breadmaker, the flour mill, the soy milk maker etc….. But I totally love yogurt with jam (YES, me too), so I guess I have to buy the yogurt maker.

    • My friend Viki, from Greece but who lived in the US, said her mom used to strain yogurt in cheesecloth, back in the days before greek yogurt was so easy to find! I think that’s why it’s more expensive than regular yogurt too–because some of the water weight is strained away.

  2. Well, thanks Sara. Now I don’t have to blog about my yogurt making. I’ve only been doing it for 6 months now — you’d think I would have said something. But, my yogurt maker says to use the starter yogurt that’s less than a week old.

    Of course, I used fat free milk and didn’t use organic or Jersey cows. But, I’m cheap and neurotic in a different way…

  3. Both of you can make yogurt for me. I realized that i HAVE BEEN SERIOUSLY OUT OF THE LOOP. There are completely new blogs up!

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