Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Yogurt to Go--Homestyle
I was making yogurt cups to go today from my home made yogurt. I realized that I have never shared my methods here on the blog. I put them in the newsletter a while back, but never here. There is lots of great advice online, but these are my favorite methods to make a low carb yogurt. Remember, the longer you leave the yogurt to culture, the more lactose will be consumed, making it even better for low carbers. Since there seems to still be some differing opinions on how to count the carbs in yogurt, I go with a long culturing time to be sure. My son's diet required 24 hours, and I can attest, that makes for a thicker product. Perhaps a little tart for some tastes, but thick!
Because it keeps really well, I always use the cooler method now, and make more than a gallon at a time. I generally use a mix of one gallon whole milk and one quart of half and half. If you can afford the calories, yogurt made with just half n half is divine!
Thermos Method Yogurt
Fill a thermos container with whole milk or half and half. Then pour it into a microwave-safe container or a pan.
Bring the milk or cream to a soft boil. Allow the milk to cool to around 120°F. This is the optimum temperature for the yogurt culture to grow. If you don’t have a thermometer, aim for a temperature that will be very warm to the finger touch. You should be able to keep your finger in the liquid for about ten seconds.
Add a teaspoon or two of prepared plain yogurt with live cultures to the warm milk. This will provide your starter.
Pour this mixture back into the thermos container and set it in a spot where it will be undisturbed for 12 hours or overnight. After that time, the yogurt will be ready to chill.
To make the yogurt thicker like the Greek variety, drain for several hours by lining a colander with coffee filters or cheesecloth and setting this over a bowl. Drain the yogurt until it reaches the thickness you desire.
Heating Pad Method Yogurt
To make larger quantities, try using a cooler and heating pad.
Choose containers with lids, or quart canning jars to make the yogurt in. Measure the milk or cream used according to container volume.In other words, how many jars you intend to fill--or gather enough jars to contain the amount of milk and cream you want to culture.
Heat the whole milk, half and half or cream and milk mixture until it reaches a slow boil. Let milk cool to 120 degrees F. This is the optimum temperature for the yogurt culture to grow. If you don’t have a thermometer, aim for a temperature that will be very warm to the finger touch. You should be able to keep your finger in the liquid for about ten seconds.
While milk is still in the pot, mix in 1-2 teaspoons live culture yogurt per pint. Pour this mixture into containers and place lids on.
Place a heating pad on low inside an insulated cooler. (I use the inexpensive Styrofoam kind) Place yogurt containers inside. Close the lid on the cooler as best as possible. I carved a small groove to hold the cord to the heating pad, and allow the lid to close more tightly. Let the yogurt culture for 12 hours or longer.
Drain the yogurt in a colander lined with cheesecloth or coffee filters.
Now that you have your yogurt how do you make it more appealing? I like to flavor several small containers at a time. If I makes quarts of all one flavor, we get bored. But it is pretty easy to flavor individual cups for lunch boxes, breakfast on the run and late night snacks. I use my Capella and Lorann flavorings here, as well as other creative ingredients. Peanut flour or PB2 makes yummy peanut butter flavored yogurt. Fresh strawberries and blueberries are great too. Unsweetened coconut is great with a bit of vanilla. You can even use flavored syrups, though they will thin the yogurt a bit. When I have it in a container, I use a chalk marker to write the flavor on the container. The marking will stay on until it is empty and washed, and labeling is really quick and easy that way.
Don't forget the other uses for yogurt. Drip it a very long time and you have a cream cheese like product to use in recipes. Thin it out and make your own drinkable yogurt. Replace sour cream with the good for your tummy Greek style yogurt. With some herbs it make a great dip. Add it to smoothies. You might even be able to make some frozen yogurt when the weather warms up.