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Sunday, August 01, 2010
It's All Greek To Me
Have you tried Greek yogurt yet?  I love it.  I love how thick and rich it tastes.  I love it with honey, fruit, & granola.  I even love it plain.  What I don't love, though, is the price, so I went searching for a recipe to make it myself.

When I was a teenager, I remember receiving a Salton yogurt maker for Christmas.  I've been a food nerd for a very long time. I remember it as being fairly easy to make, but deciding that it was too much work when I could buy it so cheaply.

Fast forward a few years.  Okay, okay, more than a few, and I've changed my mind.  I will admit that it's easier to pay $.50 for the yogurt sale of the week, but Greek-style yogurt is more like $2.00.  Plus, I kind of like the idea of controlling what goes in it myself.  I haven't experimented with organic milk yet because it has to be done differently.  That will be my next goal.  For now, I'm just using regular milk.

I've made one batch so far and will make another tomorrow.  I plan to start making it weekly. Maybe I'll even get pictures some time.

Greek-style Yogurt
Adapted from Salad in a Jar

2 qts milk
1-2 t yogurt with active cultures (you may use your own once you've made a batch)
1/2 c non-fat milk powder, approximately

Optional Flavorings:
vanilla
honey
flavored syrups (ie. Torani)
fruit jellies, preserves, butters
fresh fruit
your imagination

Pour milk in microwave/oven-safe bowl.  Microwave on high for 6 minutes.  Stir to prevent skin from forming and check temperature with an instant-read thermometer. You want to get the milk to 175º-180°.

Now allow the milk to cool back down between 110º-120°, and stir in the yogurt starter and the powdered milk.  If the milk is hotter, it will kill the active culture and your yogurt will fail. The powdered milk will help give the thicker Greek consistency, and it will increase the protein level as well.  I've read anywhere from 1/4 c to 1 c per 2 qts of milk.  I used 1/2 c.

Cover your bowl and place it in warm area.  It needs to maintain a temperature of 100º-110°. I followed the directions to preheat my oven for only one minute and then left my bowl in the oven with the light on.  This seemed to maintain the temp.  I also wrapped my bowl in a towel.  If you have a newer oven or crockpot that maintains at that temperature level, you can set it and not have to keep checking like I did.

The time it takes to become yogurt can vary.  I checked after 5 hours, and it wasn't ready yet.  I then had to run errands so didn't check it again until 8 hours passed.  At 8 hours, the bowl contents had become gelatinous and you could see the whey, a yellowish liquid, forming, around the edges.

At this point, you have yogurt.  To continue on with Greek-style, you need to strain the excess whey.  Line a colander with cheesecloth or coffee filters or use a fine mesh strainer.  Gently pour your yogurt into the colander, and set over a bowl.  Allow the whey to drain.  The longer you let it drain, the thicker your yogurt will be.  Leave it too long, and you'll have yogurt cheese.

Mine sat for about 2  hours.  It was thick, but I'll let it go a little longer next time.

Once the yogurt has drained, pour it back into a large bowl and whisk it to get the right consistency.  You can also add flavorings at this point.  Chill and enjoy!

I made 6 one-cup portions, plus a little extra from 2 qts of milk.  The milk cost $1.98.  The initial yogurt to get a starter cost $2.00.  And the box of powdered milk cost around $2.00.

Even if I'm generous and charge myself $.50 for the yogurt and powdered milk, making this yogurt cost around $2.50.  Six containers of Greek-style yogurt would have cost $12.00.  Quite a savings.  The process is lengthy, but it's really easy.  You're just checking temps, and then whisking and adding flavors.  I've been eating it with a spoonful of my cherry preseves and some granola for breakfast.  It's awesome and, with the extra protein, very filling.

Be sure to go to Salad in a Jar's website and read her directions and comments for a lot more ideas.

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