Welcome to Food Friday, and let me begin by saying that I hate greek yogurt. It's thick, it tastes weird, and I'm not one to quickly join a fad. However, I love what it has given me. It is the perfect food. This one recipe gives me homemade yogurt, sour cream, cream cheese, whey, and a healthier home.
Making my own yogurt allows me to choose the fat content and guarantee that my family is getting pure food without the chemicals, preservatives, and general gunk that companies put in our food. And it is WAY cheaper!
To make your own yogurt all you need is a crock-pot, milk, a start, a bath towel, cheese cloth, and an oven.
A quick note about the start. Buy a full fat, plain greek yogurt- this will be the last time you buy yogurt or sour cream of any kind (as long as you remember to save a start from your own yogurt to use for your next batch). Get ready to save lots of money!
1- Measure milk (I usually do 8 cups, but for your first time start with a smaller batch to practice) into crock-pot.
2- Turn to low and set timer (important: I never use times when I cook because I just watch the clock, but things happen and earlier this week I forgot my yogurt and went to bed without going to the next step. Ruining a half gallon of milk) for 3 hours.
3- Turn off pot and set timer for 3 more hours so your milk can cool. If you don't let it cool it will kill all the good bacteria in your yogurt and you will just end up with funny smelling milk (has also happened to me because I'm impatient).
4- Whisk in start**.For 4 cup batch use AT LEAST 1/4 cup start. Basic rule of thumb is 1 Tbs start:Cup milk.
5- Pre-heat oven to lowest setting, mine is 170* F. IMPORTANT it must be below 180*!
6- Turn off oven, wrap your yogurt pot in the towel to insulate its remaining heat and place in warm oven (THAT IS TURNED OFF).
7- DOUBLE CHECK that oven is off.
8- Leave overnight or 10 hours.
9- Whisk your new yogurt and place in fridge for 4 hours to continue thickening.
10- Whisk. Now comes the harder part, straining. Pour your yogurt into your cheese cloth/muslin/tea towel and strain over a large bowl while covered in the fridge. Depending on how thick you want it this could take 1-6 hours.
**For a smoother texture, remove 2 Cups of Milk and whisk in start, return to pot, and whisk in.
A word on whey - keep it, refridgerate it, and use it anywhere you would use water or milk. In baking or cooking. My favorite is to use it to mix Hobbit Jo's oatmeal because it gives her a lot of extra nutrients and extra flavor. If you plan on keeping and using it - make sure during the straining process that all yogurt stays out of the whey.
1- After you are done with the yogurt process, continue straining and squeezing out whey. It will take another 10-12 hours, but it is worth it!!!
This cheese works in almost every instance that you would use cream cheese; be it frosting, bagels, etc.
However, from my experience, it does NOT melt well. So, if you were wanting the classic cream cheese eggs (recipe to follow) it does not work. Which is a shame because it is what we use cream cheese for most at Bag End.
Cream Cheese Eggs
1- Scramble eggs in frying pan until cooked but still shiny.
3- Season as usual.
2- Put in softening cream cheese is chunks (1 Tbs:Egg).
3- Mix and melt cheese among eggs to make a creamy, delicious treat.
*This is one of Mr. Sam's favorites!
Enjoy your healthier, cheaper, and happier yogurt!