Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Greek Yogurt Experiment...

The other day my sister and I were talking about making yogurt and I remembered my grandmother giving me a Salton yogurt maker when I was in college. It had little individual cups that looked like a glass version of the plastic cups store bought yogurt comes in. The yogurt I made back then wasn’t particularly good…sort of runny, a little too bitter and I had no clue how to add any flavor without further goofing up the consistency, so after lots of years and lots of moves and the little cups being mostly gone, the remains were given to the thrift store.
Well by now my sister and I have become fairly reasonable cooks and I enjoy the brainstorming sessions we have about how to concoct things that we really don’t know how to make. And between the two of us we’ve done pretty well…like the time we tried to dissect the ingredients for the Millet Muffins from CafĂ© Fanny in Berkley. They were clearly our own version, but they were darn close and really yummy! So that’s how it went with the yogurt discussion…vanilla sugar to get a little vanilla sweetness – rather than adding liquid vanilla and risk making the whole thing runny? cooking down some fruit puree so that it was quite thick and adding it at the end?…again that consistency thing… then once my little wheels were turning, I did some internet research and of course found a plethora of information! So I decided to make Greek yogurt, in the oven, no machine, unflavored, to be served with honey.
I began with two quarts of nonfat, local, organic milk and heated it to the recommended 175-180 degrees. I made a make-shift double boiler so that the milk wouldn’t burn if I didn’t stir it constantly and I also have a wonderful Tru-temp thermometer that can be set to sound an alarm when the desired temp is reached. Step 1 – success…I then removed the pot of hot milk to the counter and let it cool to 110-120 degrees, at which point I whisked in ½ cup non fat dry milk and 2 teaspoons plain nonfat, local, organic yogurt. Step 2 – check…Then I poured the whole thing into a glass jar that I set in my oven with just the pilot light on – about 100 degrees – for eight hours. Step 3 – complete… At this point it was definitely yogurt, but I wanted that extra thick variety, so I dumped the contents of the jar into a large strainer lined with cheese cloth and let it drain for 2 more hours. This gets all the whey out of the yogurt and leaves it very creamy. Step 4…this now required a taste to see how I did…voila! It’s totally Greek yogurt and very yummy! I know it sounds like a very time consuming task for something you could pick up at the market, but most of the time is not hands on and it is actually lots less expensive than the store bought, if that is a motivation. So now I am on the yogurt making band wagon and will be trying flavors, different amounts of yogurt ‘starter’ vs. powdered milk and eventually perfect my craft!


  1. Hi Janet,
    I just heard about your blog this morning and thought I would check it out. You are AMAZING. Homemade Greek yogurt by 10AM on a saturday morning...? That's awesome!! Any bees yet?!
    Amy and girls

  2. Great blog, Janet! I can't wait to hear how it went with the bees!