Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Making Homemade Yogurt!

My little boy is a yogurt addict. We used to purchase over two dozen cups a month, maybe more. But then, I always thought the ones being sold in supermarkets (at least the flavored ones) were too sweet. My uncle makes his own yogurt at home and once, during a meeting a few years back, he told us how relatively easy it was to make your own. So, last year, I decided to get on Google to see if I can make some for RL. Apparently, most sites call for a candy thermometer. I had planned on getting one, until I stumbled upon one of those how-to videos on Youtube that claimed you can actually gauge by touch. Also, if you were to use Ultra-Pasteurized, UHT or milk that wasn't raw, then there really is no need to boil your milk to a specific degree.

Websites with homemade yogurt tutorials will tell you not to use UHT or store-bought milk because apparently, UHT milk won't set into yogurt. However, I've read on other forums, especially ones based here, that you can make yogurt with the boxed kind, even powdered full cream milk, and hello, let's consider availability. Let's be practical.  Admit it, we don't really have good milk in Supermarkets. And I don't want to have to go to Tagaytay or Market, Market, etc just to find good milk for my yogurt. My goal was to make one with less sugar. And who knows what kind of milk commercially-made yogurts have in it anyway? 

So I went ahead and tried to make a batch. I took pictures of that first batch but they are now buried somewhere among the 6,000 photos on my iPhone. So a couple of weeks ago, when we made our nth batch, I decided to take photos again for this post.

The key to good Yogurt is good milk (how bad for us, no? LOL) and starter. So far, I've made milk from whole milk - both the ones available in Supermarkets (Hacienda Macalauan, California Sunshine, etc) and the ones being sold by suppliers (Mr. Moo, Milk Man, etc). When I don't have access to good milk, then I make from boxed "fresh" milk. LOL! The batch I made for these photos, I used boxed Cowhead milk (not powdered). Apparently, according to Chef in Disguise, Sawsan, and one of her readers, you can make yogurt from all sorts of milk, even soy milk (but not almond milk)! I love this blog of hers, by the way.

Anyway, here's a step-by-step guide on how I made my yogurt.

To make about a liter of yogurt, you're going to need the following:

1 Liter Milk
1/4 Cup Starter (yogurt with live bacteria)
1/4 Cup Powdered Milk

When I don't have old yogurt to start my process, I just toss in the whole container of store-bought yogurt.

Sauce pan to heat your milk
Jar or Container for your yogurt

Step 1: Heat your milk in a pot. You must boil first if you are using fresh/ raw milk, then cool it down to about 40°C. But if using UHT or store-bought milk that has gone through sterilization, then you only need to heat until it is40°C. If you don't have a candy thermometer, you want it to be warm to the touch.

Using a pasta pot to heat my milk. 

Step 2: Transfer milk to container. You can check if milk is warm to the touch or too hot by dipping a clean finger for a few seconds. The temperature must be warm enough, but should not feel like you are burning the tip of your finger. If too hot or scalding, cool down first. You will kill the live bacteria in your starter if your milk is too hot.

You can use an ice bath or a cold water bath to cool down your milk if you've heated it too much.

Step 3: When your milk is at the right temperature, add 1/4 cup of powdered milk. Carefully mix it in. NOTE: You should only do this if you want yogurt of thicker and creamier consistency. I used Birch Tree Full Cream Powdered Milk as it was the only thing available at home. 

Step 4: Add 1/4 cup of starter. Most recipes call for 1 tablespoon, but if you want your yogurt to be a tad sour, use more. I usually just pour in the whole small container of store-bought yogurt, if I don't have old homemade yogurt to use as starter. It doesn't matter if you are using a flavored starter, the flavor will be mild, you won't notice the taste in your homemade yogurt anyway. You just need to make sure your starter has LIVE MICROORGANISMS. Or you won't get your yogurt. And yes, you can use Yakult! Also, keep in mind that your starter MUST NOT be cold. You need it at room temperature to get those live bacteria going. Mix into the milk with slow upwards strokes (please don't ask why, I just followed one of those how-tos I watched, haha).

TIP: I usually take the starter out of the refrigerator right when I'm about to make a batch. It should warm down enough to the right temperature when you're about to pour it in. 

Step 5: Cover container. In order for your milk to turn into yogurt, you need to keep it covered in a warm place. You must put it in your "incubator" (for lack of an appropriate word!) for it to set properly. Some people put their yogurt in an oven or a cooler. I usually just wrap the jar or container in a blanket, place it in a large pot and forget about it for about 6 hours or more.

The longer that incubation period, the thicker the consistency of your yogurt and the more sour it will be.

I usually just use the same pasta pot to incubate my yogurt. I wash it first, of course. LOL!

I used RL's Mickey blanket (as it is small enough to wrap the jar and fit in the pot) as a jar warmer.

After about 4 hours (and since it is warm in the Philippines), you can check on your yogurt. If it is warm enough, it would have set already. We like our yogurt tart, so we make our yogurt late at night, and leave it incubating 'til morning (about 8 hours). Usually, the right consistency and taste is achieved after letting it set for 6 hours. But really, it depends on you and your taste buds. 

Photo of a different batch. Checking after 4 hours if yogurt is ready.
Powdered milk means less whey on top. 

Et voila! Homemade yogurt! 

Yay! Homemade yogurt! In my beautiful Ball jar from Paper Chic Studio.

You would want to keep about 1/4 cup of yogurt as you make a batch - to use as starter for your next batch. Homemade yogurt can keep to about 2 weeks (sometimes more) when kept in a cold refrigerator.

I must warn you though. This is plain yogurt. You can sweeten with fresh fruits or honey. Or even sugar (at least, in your desired amount!). My son loves strawberry yogurt, but the fresh ones don't really sweeten the yogurt the way he wants it to taste like (sobrang nasanay sa store-bought ones, haay), so I use Smucker's Strawberry Squeeze. Yum! 

You guys should try Smucker's Squeeze!
Available in leading supermarkets, in Strawberry Fruit Spread or Grape Jelly.
Also in Reduced Sugar Strawberry.  

I love how I can control portions and how sweet I want his yogurt to be. I, however, eat my yogurt plain as a topping for cereals, instead of milk. Sometimes, I add a teaspoon of honey. Basta, it's good, and way, way better than store-bought.

Yogurt with fresh Philippine mangoes! Nom!

Also, I've recently discovered that you can make sour cream from your homemade yogurt by mixing in lemon juice (or calamansi) and letting it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours. I've used this as a dip for chips, too (I actually didn't wait for two hours, more like two minutes, haha)!

Homemade yogurt, anyone?

11 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this very healthy homemade and easy to find ingredients for yogurt.

    Stumbled here thru Mr. Google and I am glad that I thru my Mr. G query I was able to touch bases with fellow Pinay Mommy blogger.

    I know this will be my last visit

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  2. This is great and looks easy to make. I will def try this.

    btw,great blog!

    kristine1219.blogspot.com

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  3. Galing! Did this recipe twice. My favorite is mixing it with mashed ripe mangoes with a teaspoon on honey. My son's fav is mixing it with Mountain Maid strawberry preserve (cut the strawberries first with same spoon). My daughter naman mixed with jellybelly syrup topper. This discovery will put our Yakult Lady out of business.

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    Replies
    1. Aw... Mommy Jazz! It's been so long! Thank you for visiting, and I am glad this yogurt recipe worked for you!

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  4. hi. what's the yield if you use 1L milk? about 400mL of yogurt? what size was the mason jar used in the photo?
    is there a difference if you put in the powder while heating up the milk instead of mixing it after?

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    Replies
    1. 1L of milk will give you about a liter of yogurt. The mason jar in the photo is quart size. I'm not quite sure about mixing the powder while heating the milk. I've always read that this should be mixed right the milk is already at the right temperature - right before mixing in your starter.

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  5. Hi! Is it possible to use low-fat milk from cartons (like Nestle) as well as low-fat yogurt starter and nonfat powdered milk? I am going to try and use this for my baking...

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    Replies
    1. Yes, that should work. Make sure the yogurt you use as starter has live microorganisms. :)

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  6. Well, this milk never fails me to get a healthier body.. For my work and for my family.. This is the best milk that gives me energy and healthy bones as well.. I love this milk that is incomparable to others This milk never fails to let me see what I have to see... taste so good and nothing can beat its magic... Awesome flavor to input in it as well and looking for strawberry flavor... for that very reason I always a lot of these online at Goods.ph with their nice quality service that made it possible thank you for sharing your greatness to the Filipino people...

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