Greek Yogurt

Greek Style Yogurt

So a couple of months ago I got very excited about making my own yogurt at home. Not just any old yogurt of course, I wanted greek yogurt! Amy & I discovered Fage Yogurt a few years ago and have gone through stages where we were actually buying it by the case from a local natural foods store. The stuff is awesome. However, we’ve also noticed that along with it appearing in more places  (i.e. the regular grocery store) the price was also climbing up…and it was expensive to begin with. In the Providence area Fage is now at least $1.99 per 6oz cup. Which doesn’t seem like a lot until you factor in that we were eating 10 or more per week.

So I google “homemade yogurt” and there are tons of sites that will show you how to do it at home with very little equipment. I tried several different methods…with only occasional success! Yogurt made in a cooler, yogurt made with a hot pad, etc. I just wasn’t having much luck.

I finally ended up buying a yogurt maker from Amazon called the “Euro Cuisine YM100”. It still took quite a bit of tinkering, but I finally have it down! I purchased the YM100 which comes with 7 jars and lids, I also bought an extra box of jars, and the “Euro Cuisine Yogurt Starter” packets.  There is a booklet that comes with the yogurt maker, but you really have to just play with it until you find the right recipe to suit your tastes.

Mike’s Greek Yogurt:

5.5 jars of 2% milk (I use good, fresh, organic milk)

1.5 jars of half & half

1 packet of starter (or 1 jar/serving of yogurt with active cultures)

4 T of non-fat powdered milk

Directions:

1. Combine the milk and half & half in a sauce pan and heat until it’s warm. About 105 degrees I guess. Warm to the touch, but not hot. If it’s too hot you will kill the yogurt culture.

2. Wisk in the powdered milk & starter

3. pour into the jars, place in the machine, and set it for 9 hours (perfect sourness for me…go 10 if you like it more sour, 8 or 8.5 for less sour).

Greek Yogurt Ready To Eat

Greek Yogurt Ready To Eat

Secrets I’ve learned:

Make sure not to jostle the yogurt maker while it’s working. Otherwise the yogurt won’t be smooth.

Don’t go overboard with the powdered milk. 3 -4 T is really all you need.

When the yogurt is finished, put it in the fridge for at least 3 – 4 hours to set. THEN, loosen the lids and store the jars on their sides and place them on paper towels. This strains the yogurt and makes it more in the style of Fage.  Whey will separate out over the course of 24 hrs or so, just pour it out and keep the jar on it’s side until the  yogurt is as thick as you’d like it! When properly thick, tighten the lid and store it upright.

It took quite a bit of practice but I’m at the point now where I can consistently make good, thick yogurt. It’s nice and rich, has the perfect tangyness, and will get as thick as you need it to. It’s still not as cheap as the low budget yogurts, but it’s much more wholesome, and it’s fun to make! Even with the starter and organic milk I think it ends up costing about $1. per jar or so.

One more tip: If you dump the jar of finished yogurt into a paper towel (or cheese cloth if you have it) and put that in a strainer overnight in the refrigerator you will end up with a product very much like cream cheese…only much healthier!

Give it shot!

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