If you are interested in giving it a try, you can see my blog.
I've been making yogurt for a few years for my boys (they have it every day) - it is very easy and they have even said before that they like the "mamma yogurt" better than the store bought! We've done many variations and have had much fun with it with different flavors, textures, and thicknesses. I did buy a yogurt machine because I like having the big batches and containers (less cumbersome than the crock pot and a bit more consistent). Not that I am an expert but if you ever have questions please ask - we love talking yogurt over here :)
Have anyone tried to make soy yogurt before (we have milk allergies over here) ? We tried making regular yogurt once but my husband accidentally unplugged the yogurt machine without me knowing, so that batch was a flop - and then we figured out about all the allergies, so we didn't try again. Care to share some recipes? Our kids prefer thicker, creamier yogurt, but I'll take what you give me!
there are a few tricks to making it thicker - when I heat my milk I hold it at a high temp (not boiling) for 15-20 minutes before putting it into my yogurt machine. From what I understand adding the powdered milk also helps with this - I do that to boost the calcium too. Another thing I do is add unflavored gelatin to my milk - I think this is actually what they use in some of the kids yogurts out there (I think some vegetarians have qualms with this but we aren't in that crowd so it works for us). This has been especially helpful when my littles are learning to feed themselves - it really cuts down on the mess! I'll be glad to give more detail if anyone wants. Thanks Karen for the website I'll be checking that out for new ideas!
Hi...wow...this is something I really want to do. For those who have used a yogurt "machine", which one is good? Can you get the machine and cultures off Amazon?
Also..I am really wanting to do Sourdough bread, anyone have an easy way of doing that?
Thanks...I haven't posted in awhile, think I might be heading back to the SCM way!!
We've been making yogurt a lot lately too and I've worked out a procedure that has been consistently producing nice thick and flavorful yogurt.
I make it in a large roaster oven so I can load it full of pint jars. Ours roaster easily holds eight to twelve jars.
The key is to get the temperature just right. I use a digital thermometer with a probe and an alarm. Heather, you mentioned yours being a bit runny and that may be a temperature issue. A crock pot on low actually gets too hot for the yogurt bacteria and can kill them. The ideal is between 110 and 120 degrees F.
We started with a good quality Greek yogurt that didn't have a bunch of extras in the ingredients. Greek yogurt usually contains five cultures instead of just L. Acidophilus. It has a creamier texture and less tartness. Of course, we just use our own yogurt as a starter now.
Each jar gets filled with skim milk and maybe a quarter cup of yogurt as a starter. I put lids on them, load them into the roaster, and fill the pan with water to help keep the temperature steady. I crank up the heat and set my alarm for 110 degrees. When it reaches that temperature I turn off the heat because it will continue to climb a bit. I then set my alarm for 118 just in case it climbs too high. If it does, I just dip out some of the warm water and replace it with cool.
It usually takes about four hours but I let it go longer if the yogurt isn't as thick as I'd like. I do check now and then to see if the temperature drops below 110. If it does I just apply a little more heat as before.
We have two digital thermometers that we use - one came with my Yogourmet yogurt maker (it is a Yogourmet brand), the other was a TruTemp we got for around $12 at Target. They are both very consistent. The one that came with the yogurt maker has a clip on it that you could clip to the side of the pot, that is nice for yogurt or candy. The other is a probe and we use it for meat, bread, and anything else. Both have held up for a couple of years with no problems, so that's pretty good in my book. Neither have an alarm, that would be nice, but my house is small so I am pretty close to it the whole time anyway and keep an eye on it. I don't know if Amazon has either of those but they have worked well for us.
The thermometer I use is made by Pyrex. I can't find that one for sale anymore but this one looks just like it even though it's a different brand. Here's another one that looks like a decent choice too.
I'm going to make another batch of yogurt today. Maybe I should take some pictures or record video and then blog it.
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