A healthy and tasty milk product to devour, yogurt needs no introduction for people who include dairy-based food in the regular diet plan. It is sold in the dairy section of any grocery store, but you can also try making it on your own by inducing bacterial fermentation of milk. The only requirement for making homemade yogurt is introducing bacterial culture (Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. bulgaricusor Streptococcus thermophilis) to the chosen milk, which brings about the fermentation part. Of course, you need to maintain favorable conditions for fermentation process to take place.
Tips to Make Yogurt at Home
Before we jump to the steps of making yogurt, let's see what happens in liquid milk that result in custard like yogurt. During the fermentation process, the milk sugar (lactose) gets converted to lactic acid due to bacterial action. The mild lactic acid after combining with various milk proteins imparts a tangy taste and pudding like texture to the yogurt. While all these steps sound difficult for a newbie, they are natural processes that occur on their own. There are many ways to make yogurt; you can use existing yogurt or freeze-dried bacteria as live bacterial cultures. The following info will guide you with the easiest method to prepare yogurt at home.
For making yogurt, the main yogurt ingredients are milk and active bacterial cultures. If available, a large-sized double broiler will help in easy warming of milk to the required temperature without burning. Also, be ready with large spoons, candy thermometer, incubator, jars, and airtight containers.
Selecting milk for making yogurt is not a concern as you can use any type of milk. The options are whole milk, skimmed milk, and even dry milk powder (after mixing with water to a desired thickness). Or else, you can mix liquid milk with dry milk powder for added nutrition. Store sold yogurt is basically based on cow's milk and goat's milk.
The first step for easy homemade yogurt recipe is warming milk to about 185° F. Pour 1 quart milk in the double broiler and heat over medium low setting. If you don't have a broiler, create one by using two pots, of which one can fit inside the other. Last choice is to heat directly in a saucepan, and stir continuously to avoid burning.
Remove milk from heat as soon as the candy thermometer reading matches with the required temperature. Place the broiler or pan in a cold water bath, and wait till it cools down to 110° F (or anything between 90 - 120° F) will do. If you have time, keep it in kitchen counter and allow it to cool down in the room temperature setting.
If you are using dry milk powder, stir in ¼ - ½ cup powder to the warmed milk. Considering that existing yogurt is not very cold, add 2 tablespoons of this in the milk base. Over here, the yogurt serves as a bacterial culture for initiating fermentation. Stir lightly, and pour in jars having airtight lids. Or you can use normal containers and cover them with aluminum foil.
Coming to the last step of preparing homemade yogurt, you can either keep the containers containing yogurt in a warm place or in an oven with a temperature setting of about 100° F. For the former case, you will need 12 hours of incubation (or more) to get yogurt, while yogurt will be ready within 7 hours with the latter option.
Once you are done with the above step, spend some effort for making Greek yogurt at home. All you need is pour yogurt in a muslin cloth bag, close it and allow it drain by placing over a bowl. Check after half an hour and see if watery whey still drips from the yogurt or not. If no, you are done with homemade Greek yogurt preparation.
Whether you have made regular yogurt or Greek yogurt, refrigerate immediately to preserve its desired taste. Remember that the longer you keep it in room temperature, the more tangier you yogurt will taste. In refrigerator setting (40° F), it stays for about 10 days. Before you use it for serving, keep some homemade yogurt from this batch and use as live bacterial culture for the next batch. That way, you can continue preparing yogurt in batches, and include this healthy treat in the regular diet plan.
As you now know how to make yogurt at home, try to incorporate this low-calorie dairy product in breakfast, main meal, or in between snacks. Yogurt benefits health in many ways, like balancing the probiotic population in the body, reducing allergic reactions, and improving digestive health. A delicious way to enjoy yogurt is add chopped, fresh fruits in it, and serve with honey.