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Yogurt making is a fun and creative experience and an excellent quality yogurt may easily be made at home at a great savings over store bought.
Any kind of yogurt containing live active cultures may be used as a starter, such as ACTIVIA®, DANACTIVE®, Greek Yogurts, Kefir, etc. Try different brands to suit your needs and to find those that yield the best results.
In making yogurt, it's especially important that all utensils and equipment be scrupulously clean to create a friendly environment for the yogurt culture to thrive without competition.
1 quart milk
1/4 to 1/2 cup non-fat dry milk powder
1/2 cup plain unflavored yogurt (such as ACTIVIA®)
2 tablespoons cream (optional)
In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients except yogurt. Two tablespoons of cream (or more) may be added to the basic recipe for a richer, creamier dessert yogurt or frozen yogurts. For everyday yogurt or yogurt that is to be used in baking, the extra richness is not needed.
Heat milk, uncovered, over low heat, gradually bringing it nearly to a boil. Tiny bubbles will form around the edges of the pan; the milk should reach a temperature between 185-190°F.
If the milk is brought up to temperature too quickly, the bottom of the pan is likely to scald. It is important not to allow the milk to boil. Remove any milk which forms a skin on the surface.
Remove from heat and allow milk to cool for about 20 minutes, or until the milk reaches a temperature of between 100-110°F. Stir in approximately 1/2 cup of active live culture yogurt or yogurt starter.
Transfer the yogurt mixture to a good quality thermos or a yogurt maker and maintain the temperature of about 100°F for 4-10 hours. A longer fermentation period will yield a more tart yogurt. Leave the yogurt undisturbed or it will not thicken well, and keep it free from drafts.
Refrigerate until ready to use. Flavor as desired, adding crushed, dried or fresh fruit or fruit cocktail, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, Grape-Nuts, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, etc.
Use homemade yogurt for baking in any recipe calling for buttermilk, sour cream or yogurt; it adds wonderful flavor and nutrition to quick breads, muffins, pancakes and yeast breads.
Another useful purpose for homemade yogurt is yogurt cheese. To make yogurt cheese, drain freshly made yogurt in a cheesecloth hung in a cool place; this can be used in many recipes as a healthy substitute for cream cheese.
Save half a cup of the unflavored yogurt as a starter for making the next batch.
This yogurt is an economical way to produce quality yogurt for diet plans which include daily consumption. The starter only needs to be purchased infrequently in small amounts, and the yogurt strain can often be maintained indefinitely if you make yogurt often. Use each batch of reserved starter within 5 days or start again with fresh starter.
It's a good plan to purchase an 8 oz. container of yogurt for a new starter once every 1 or 2 months, or when your own strain seems to be getting weaker (the yogurt will not thicken as well). Dried active culture is also available in packets and may be kept on the shelf in case you run out of fresh starter.
Ball 1/2 pint can or freeze jars, either plastic or glass, make excellent single serve containers for storage. Some yogurt makers come with glass storage containers; others make 1 quart batches rather than single serve portions.
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