My friend, Kelly, from the blog, Running Blonde, is sharing a guest post today for an amazing recipe for homemade greek yogurt. Take it away, Kelly!
Hi! I’m Kelly from the blog, Running Blonde. As a physician and an athlete, I’m always looking for ways to make my life both simpler and healthier. One step I've taken is to make more food at home from scratch. Not only is it satisfying to cook at home, it allows you to understand what goes in your food. Corn syrup? No thank you!
The trick to delicious homemade yogurt is starting out with good ingredients. You only need two things – milk and a yogurt starter. I use organic whole milk to ensure I am making a high quality product. Whole milk makes the yogurt thicker and so much more decadent, but you can also use low-fat milk. You should choose a yogurt that tastes good to you, as it will determine how your final product will taste. Make sure your yogurt has live active cultures and is unsweetened.
For me, the trickiest thing about making homemade yogurt is that I have to be home for at least five hours to control the temperature! Luckily, yogurt is very forgiving. To keep the mixture at the required 110-115 degrees, I put it in a crockpot with the lid off on the “warm” setting and perch a thermometer on the edge. When it starts to get too hot, I just turn the crockpot off. It’s important to not move or stir the yogurt while it is incubating, as this can interrupt the process. Because I usually start when I get home from work, I leave the mixture in the crockpot overnight and then put it in the fridge when I wake up in the morning. Because the yogurt lasts for two weeks in the fridge, I usually make a larger batch using a gallon of milk.
Greek yogurt is special because it is strained to remove the whey. This makes it thicker and creamier! There are many different ways to strain the yogurt without having to buy special equipment. I talk more about that below.
Homemade Greek Yogurt
This recipe will make about 3 cups.
You will need:
4 c. milk
3 T. unsweetened yogurt with live active cultures
Mesh strainer, cheesecloth or paper coffee filters
1. In a large pot, heat the milk until it reaches at least 180° F, stirring occasionally.
2. Once the mixture reaches 180° F, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool to 110° to 115° F. You can speed the cooling process by plunging it into an ice bath - I use my sink.
3. Combine one cup of warmed milk with your yogurt and stir gently to combine. Add this mixture back to the large batch of heated milk.
4. For the next 5 to 10 hours, depending on desired flavor and consistency, keep the yogurt between 110° and 115° F. You can get creative with how you do this. As I mentioned above, I use a crock-pot with the thermometer tucked along the side. You could also use a thermos or an oven with just the pilot light on. The key is to check it often. The longer you incubate the yogurt, the thicker and tarter it becomes. Do not stir the yogurt during incubation.
5. Cover the yogurt and refrigerate at least two hours before eating or straining to make Greek yogurt. If whey (liquid milk protein) separates out, just drain it off or stir it back in before eating.
6. Straining the yogurt: Greek yogurt is thicker and creamier because the whey is removed before eating. This can be accomplished in a number of ways. I have a fine mesh strainer that I load up over a mixing bowl in the fridge overnight. You can also strain it through a couple layers of cheesecloth or even two paper coffee filters taped over a small bowl! No fancy equipment needed!
You can add just about anything to your yogurt to suit your preferences. For me, a drizzle of honey with some almonds and berries is the perfect finish. You could also try to add a few spoonfuls of your favorite jam.
For healthy recipes that use yogurt, check out my blog: Running Blonde.