It took two attempts to make delicious, perfectly creamy Greek-style yogurt. (I say Greek-style because obviously I'm not making this in Greece, but it is thick and creamy!) I followed this recipe from Happy Simple Living, a website/blog full of ideas on leading a fulfilled, yet simple life. (I really like how the author spelled out her top goals and priorities here. I may have to make my own list!)
On my first try I made two mistakes: 1. I bought ultra-pasteurized organic milk. 2. I somehow missed the part about preheating the oven to 150F before turning on the oven light. This batch of yogurt turned out very liquidy, almost like thick milk. It smelled and tasted like yogurt though so I used it up making smoothies. (These turned out delish but I learned that my blender is not the great smoothie-making machine I had hoped!)
Afterward, I did some reading on making yogurt on Chowhound.com (particularly this thread) and learned a lot more about making yogurt. One of the more fascinating bits I learned is that some people make their yogurt in the microwave - but this means you have to be in your house for about 12 hours to "man the microwave." I decided that I did not want to add powdered milk to my yogurt as suggested in the Chowhound thread and that instead, I would revisit the Happy Simple Living recipe. Off to the store I went to get my new supplies.
On my second try I decided to use Stoneyfield yogurt - I read that it contained the most live cultures (5) - as my starter instead of Chobani. I also bought regular 2% milk and read the instructions carefully (this is when I realized my previous mistake)! Instead of using some old cheesecloth that my husband found in the garage (I know, gross) I bought some new stuff. This time, my yogurt turned out perfect - but having used a half-gallon of milk I thought I would get more than 4 cups of yogurt! The basic process is this:
|After warming up your milk to 180 degrees, transfer it to a glass container and let it cool to 105-110 degrees|
|Warm your oven up to 150 degrees, cover and then wrap your container, and turn on your oven light. Wait for the magic to happen while you sleep.|
|This was about 12 hours later - yogurt! Now, put it in the fridge to cool for a few hours.|
|After it's cooled in the fridge, strain it through 4-layers of cheesecloth and put in the fridge again. Strain the whey and you are left with beautiful Greek yogurt!|
|What to do with all of this leftover whey?|
Will I make homemade Greek yogurt again? It took a chunk of time to warm the milk, watch the milk, and strain the milk and the end result was only 4 (wonderfully delicious) cups of yogurt. I suppose I could double the recipe or use the whey to make bread so that I feel like I got more product out of the process. I don't know... maybe I'll make it when we are having a special breakfast or as a fun science experiment with Sweet Pea, but I can't see making it every week to keep up with our consumption.