Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Homemade Greek Yogurt

This past weekend, I did a bit of Trim Healthy Mama cooking, prepping special agent brownies, chocolate baked oatmeal, kai si ming, and homemade yogurt. Even though I've blogged about homemade yogurt before, I'm gonna talk about it again today, since I've learned a few things about making it, and it's one of my favorite always-have-in-the-fridge-ready-to-grab food items. If you are following THM, this recipe is also FP, so you can eat it with any type of meal.

Just look at this yumminess:

I was really intimidated by making my own yogurt until I actually tried it, and now I think it's pretty easy. Here's what you need:
1/2 gallon of milk (I use fat-free to keep this recipe FP)
1/2 cup yogurt w/ active cultures (the starter, can be homemade or store-bought)
cooking thermometer (might be optional)
Here's the super-easy (but not quick) process:
First heat the milk to 180 degrees F (almost boiling), then let it cool to 115. This heats the milk enough to kill off the bad bacteria, then cools it to an optimal temperature for culturing. If you're in a hurry, set your pot of warm milk into a sinkful of ice to cool it more quickly, but don't be tempted to add the starter before the milk has cooled to somewhere between about 105 and 120 degrees F - hotter than that and you'll end up killing the bacteria in your starter and not getting any yogurt. Don't ask me how I know this. I now use a candy thermometer to make sure that my milk is within the temperature range I want it at.

If you don't have a cooking thermometer, you can make your yogurt in a crockpot, heating the milk in the crockpot on low for about 2.5 hours, then turning the crock off and letting it sit for about 3 hours. At that point it should be somewhere close to 115, and within the range for culture growth. Test is on your forearm, the way you would a baby's bottle, to make sure it's warm, but not hot.

Once your milk has cooled down to around 115, just add in the starter, wrap the crock in a towel, and set in a warm spot (in the oven with the light on, on the counter if it's a pleasantly warm day and you don't have AC, or even out in the garage if your AC keeps your house deliciously cool) for about 8 hours. Unwrap, and YUM!

You could just eat the yogurt straight from the crockpot, and it would be totally yummy. But to make it as THM-friendly as possible, there's an additional step, and that's to drain the yogurt to remove much of the whey (and the carbs), making it into Greek yogurt, and into a fabulous FP treat. I've tried this in a number of different ways, and I am convinced that the best way to do this is with a reusable coffee filter, like this one:

Set the filter over a container of your choice (I often just use an old yogurt container), ladle in the freshly made yogurt, and then stick it in the fridge to drain for a while. You can pretty much leave it however long you like in order to get the texture you want - a couple hours will make it nice and thick, but leaving it overnight will make it more like a soft, spreadable cheese, perfect to season and serve on sprouted grain bread for an E breakfast or snack.

You can use this yogurt on pancakes, with fruit, in a smoothie, or in any number of other creative and delicious ways.

I'm linking up to Trim Healthy Tuesday over at Gwen's Nest and Stacy Makes Cents - come on over and check out all the yummy treats to be found today!