The other day, I was going through some cookbooks of mine, and came across one about making yogurt. I read it, and thought it didn't look that hard, so I'd give it a try.
Here's the recipe I used: 1-2/3 cup powdered milk
4 cups water
1 heaping tablespoon, plain yogurt that contains live bacteria
1/3 cup powdered milk
1/4-1/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract ( used powdered extract)
Strawberry preserves ( I used Smuckers)
6- 8 oz jelly jars, or some other kind of heat proof container with tight fitting lids
6 Qt. crock pot-heated on low
Pour boiling water in clean containers.
I mixed the first 2 ingredients together, and brought to 180 degrees to kill off any unwanted bacteria. I removed it from the heat, and set aside 1/2 cup and poured the rest into a bowl to cool down to 110 degrees.
I added the plain yogurt to the 1/2 cup milk that I had set aside. When the rest of the milk was 110 degrees,( You don't want to add the yogurt to the milk when it's hotter that 110 degrees because you will kill all the living bacteria) I added the sugar, vanilla, 1/3 cup powdered milk and stirred until the sugar was dissolved. Next I added the 1/2 cup milk, yogurt mixture and mixed well. Pour out the water from the containers.
I put about 1 heaping tablespoon, (not the measuring kind of spoon), strawberry preserves into the bottom of each 8 oz. jelly jar. Next, I poured the milk mixture into the jars and screwed on the lids.
I put the jars into my 6 qt. crock pot, and put the lid on, and turned off the heat. I let it sit for 35 minutes and then turned the heat on low for 15 minutes and turned it off for another 35 minutes. I did this for 3 hours. According to the recipe, it was suppose to have gotten thick, like custard. It didn't. This called for further research. I found several sites on the internet that said I could put the jars in my toaster oven if it had a setting for 100-110 degrees. I just happen to have one, so I set the temp for 105 and put the jars in, on a tray, for 1 hour. After the hour was up, it had thickened up, so I put it in the fridge.
This morning when I went to try it, it looked like yogurt, nice and thick. I stirred it to mix the fruit in the bottom, and it got thinner, like a thin milkshake. It tastes good, just thin.
I am going to add an 8 oz. jar of yogurt and some crushed ice and make a smoothie with my Magic Bullet. I might add more Strawberry preserves.
Next time I try making yogurt, I will just use the toaster oven and incubate the yogurt for about 4 hours and see how that works. I've read, that sometimes the most experienced yogurt makers sometimes end up with drinkable yogurt.
There are ways to incubate the yogurt overnight, but it makes tangier yogurt, but I don't really care for tangier yogurt. Also, some recipes called for 1/2 cup plain yogurt, instead of 1 tablespoon.
You are suppose to save 1 cup of your yogurt before you add any sugar or anything to it for your next batch of yogurt. You can also freeze the plain store bought yogurt in ice cube trays to use in your next batch. I'll have to try that.
I will use milk instead of powdered milk next time. I just didn't want to use up my weeks supply of milk. I'd have chocolate milk withdrawls if I did that, and I can't have that.
Once again, I think I have way too much time on my hands. I'm trying to get us eating healthier, and I'm trying to figure out how to be more self sufficient. Also, it's a 30 minute trip to the nearest small grocery store.
The experiments will continue on.