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Posted: 10/28/2009 2:46:09 PM EST
In an effort to start eating healthier, I have been eating quite a bit of yogurt lately. Much like my waist line, my sweet tooth is a bit over developed. To combat that I have been using yogurt as part of my new eating plan. When I was growing up, yogurt was a treat as my parents always said it was expensive, and to some extent is still is, both a treat AND expensive. With my new Excalibur dehydrator came a fairly brief users manual and recipe guide. There is the "Living Foods" portion is a recipe for making your own yogurt. In typical survival forum fashion, I then scoured the interwebs and found articles on yogurt making as well as several Youtube videos.

For the most part I followed the Excalibur guide, but added a twist or two. The ingredients are simple:

1Cup powdered milk.
1 Half Gallon Milk
any "Active culture" yogurt, vanilla flavored or plain. I used western family Vanilla. The recipe says to use a couple table spoons, but I figured that I was basically Innoculating a culture and if given the right odds (think safety in numbers) more bacteria that I want will overpower the bacteria that I don't.

First heat your milk to 185 degrees F. I am a geek and kept stirring mine, remembering the ghastly times as a kid when I made Hot chocolate in a pan and scalded it to the bottom.
Let your pan of milk sit and return to a temp of 110. Supposedly, Lactobacillus like the temp between 105 F and 120 F.
Inoculate with your yogurt. Here, I added the whole 6oz cup. Be Fruitful and Multiply, says I.
Stir gently and pour into sealable containers. I used some 16oz tupperware type things.
Put these containers into a heated area that will maintain a temp around 115 F. The Excalibur has an adjustable thermostat, but I have heard ovens that can maintain a temp that low. However, be careful and set it at 100, some ovens have a cyclic .. well, heating cycle. If you set it to 115 F it would go as high as 125 then shut off till it cools past 110 F to maintain an average. The 125 would supposedly harm the happily fed bacteria you are trying to encourage. When set at 100 F the temp goes to say 110 F then back down. These numbers aren't exact, just something "I read in the internet".
Ignore them for 5-12 hours.
Chill and enjoy.

A few interesting things I have learned.
How yogurt does it's thing. The lactobacillus digests the lactose (something we find hard to digest) and makes it into lactic acid (something we CAN digest). This creates an acidic solution, and as such causes the milk to then basically curdle or thicken, much like cheese. The more fat in your milk, the thicker your yogurt.
The longer you let your culture do it's thing, the more acidic it gets, and as such the tangier it is. Like it mild? Try 4 hours, Like it closer to greek style yogurt? Try 12.

Don't sweeten your yogurt with Honey if you want it to have active cultures. Honey is a natural antibiotic, it WILL kill your bacteria.

You can use any left over yogurt for your next culture.

What I did was I added 32 oz of Half and Half to mine and it's almost as thick as that custard style stuff from Dannon. I also incubated it for 5.5 hours. It was a little tangy, but not too much. I took one 16 oz container and added 2 Splenda, and one cap Vanilla extract, and man was it good. I'm not sure what I will do to the rest, flavor wise, but it won;t last long.

I am hopeful that you found this informative. I am sorry that I didn't get pics, but I will try to when I do my next batch, likely this weekend.

If you have any questions, shoot away.

jim

Link Posted: 10/28/2009 2:53:55 PM EST
Very tasty sounding, and not that complicated. Thanks for posting.
Link Posted: 10/28/2009 3:52:49 PM EST
home made yogurt is good stuff

some things of note:

- you can slow the rate at which the bacteria grow in the 'fridge (kind of a no brainer, but you'd be surprised). It will still get progressively more tart, it'll just last longer.

- it doesn't take much starter to get a new batch working.. when I constantly had a batch going I only used just a big spoonful. If your previous batch gets too tart you can save enough to start a new batch and toss the old stuff (unless you're in survival mode, in which you can choke it down if that's your deal).

- you can also thicken your yogurt by putting it in cheesecloth (or a fine sieve) and letting the water drain out of it. The resulting "yogurt cheese" is spreadable and yummy (you can also add fruit or whatever to it before eating/spreading). You don't have to use cream or whatever (though that's good stuff too).

-some folks prefer to actually scald the milk a little (especially Indian folks, who make their own yogurt at a crazy pace). Just remember if you get the milk too hot you'll kill your culture, so let it cool before you add the bugs. They do the same when they make "paneer" (an indian cheese, where lemon juice is used to make the scalded milk separate). NOTE: I just liked to get mine good and hot to kill any unwanted bugs before I got my culture going.

Link Posted: 10/28/2009 4:22:02 PM EST
We use only honey to sweeten ours, 1/2 cup per batch. A batch is 6 quarts, with the last quart being not quite full. We have had no issues with starting our next batch from the previous one.
Link Posted: 10/28/2009 6:31:36 PM EST
For those that don't have a dehydrator, experiment w/ your crock pot. Put the milk in jars, and an inch or so of water in the bottom. Some have a "keep warm" option that does about right, though you may have to take the lid off.

As far as honey, I think it is only an issue if 1, you are using raw honey, and 2, and if you mix it in well ahead of time. It is easy to mix in when you eat it. If I heard right, you can boil honey to kill it's anti-microbial property, as it is no longer raw.
Link Posted: 10/28/2009 7:22:34 PM EST
Can anyone comment on McDonalds yogurt (as in their yogurt parfait). It's the bomb. They will not provide any info.......
Link Posted: 10/29/2009 6:44:46 AM EST
How do you start your own w/o using a previous batch or when no other yogurt is available?
Link Posted: 10/29/2009 9:21:26 AM EST
Originally Posted By KillyMcGee:
How do you start your own w/o using a previous batch or when no other yogurt is available?


you'd have to isolate and grow your own bugs, which I wouldn't recommend... just go to the store and get some plain yogurt with live cultures and use that. If you go to an Indian grocery store, you can probably choose from a variety of different cultures from different regions (I can't tell the difference, but they swear by that stuff).

Link Posted: 10/29/2009 11:57:59 AM EST
Originally Posted By MR_JOSHUA:
Can anyone comment on McDonalds yogurt (as in their yogurt parfait). It's the bomb. They will not provide any info.......


There are several recipes on the web.

Some claim that they use Dannon yogurt.

I don't see any regarding making the yogurt from scratch, but again, most folks say it's Dannon.

I don't really like tart yogurt, so I buy Giant brand vanilla and have it every AM at work with granola and cut fruit.

Unfortunately, the vanilla yogurt has either 23 grams of sugar or 32 per serving (don't recall which it is).
Link Posted: 10/29/2009 2:47:08 PM EST
I just use yogormet starter and a yogurt maker. If you can boil water, you can make yogurt.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 4:44:57 AM EST
Originally Posted By TxRabbitBane:
Originally Posted By KillyMcGee:
How do you start your own w/o using a previous batch or when no other yogurt is available?


you'd have to isolate and grow your own bugs, which I wouldn't recommend... just go to the store and get some plain yogurt with live cultures and use that. If you go to an Indian grocery store, you can probably choose from a variety of different cultures from different regions (I can't tell the difference, but they swear by that stuff).


Just wondering in a SHTF kinda thing, I love my yogurt now, but when big chain store isn't there, how I make a new batch.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 9:37:54 AM EST
Originally Posted By KillyMcGee:
Originally Posted By TxRabbitBane:
Originally Posted By KillyMcGee:
How do you start your own w/o using a previous batch or when no other yogurt is available?


you'd have to isolate and grow your own bugs, which I wouldn't recommend... just go to the store and get some plain yogurt with live cultures and use that. If you go to an Indian grocery store, you can probably choose from a variety of different cultures from different regions (I can't tell the difference, but they swear by that stuff).


Just wondering in a SHTF kinda thing, I love my yogurt now, but when big chain store isn't there, how I make a new batch.


Just do like the Indian folk do: keep making yogurt, and never let your culture die... that way you always have some to make more yogurt.

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