Monday, February 27, 2017

DIY Yogurt: The Prologue

Much like my pizza dough quest (which I feel quite confident has come to a glorious conclusion), I'm now going to try my hand at making my own yogurt.

My mother-in-law in India makes yogurt every day, has a nice little system of one day old, two day old, etc, it's a constant cycle from one batch to the next. And she's doing so without a yogurt maker or even a slow cooker (like I have) and surely, I can do this, right? RIGHT?

Anyway, I've searched around for a few recipes to get an idea, and since it's just me and the Maharajah, I'm not going to make a big-assed batch. He's going through a Nounos kick, and at $2.50 a 6 oz jar, the costs rachet up pretty quick, especially if we BOTH eat yogurt.

This weekend, I bought six jars (thereabouts) to hold us for a while (and for me to be in possession of those great little jars, which I can see fitting nicely in my electric pressure cooker), and have been thinking on the topic for a while.

This afternoon, I went to Whole Paycheck to pick up a few items (and somehow got out of there having spent less than $20--I did not even know THIS was possible!), and got a quart of skim milk.  I have some pouches of dry milk powder which I plan on adding some to the first batch, just to get an idea of texture etc, and will tweak things in subsequent batches, as I do with everything else I do.

This "tweaking" I do, my cousin refers to as "Maven-ing," as I find it next to impossible to follow a recipe verbatim. But the first time out the gate, I'll try to stay as close to a formula.

Anyway, I've divided things in half, and will start my first batch as a half batch of another recipe. 

The ingredients list is quite short:

4 C milk (cost: Stay tuned... my receipt is in the fridge!)
1/4 c plain yogurt (cost: $0--I have a couple cups of Siggi's in the fridge)

Optional ingredients:
1/4 C dry milk powder
1/4 tsp xanthan gum powder ($13 a pound, but I have had it on hand for years--cost $0)

My approach is going to be:

Put milk in slow cooker for 2.5 hours. Leave lid on and let sit for 3 hours. Then mix in the 1/4 C plain yogurt. At this point, I'm going to try adding 1/4 C powdered milk (to boost protein) and perhaps xanthan powder, to improve texture as the yogurt sets up, and blasting it with an immersion blender to make sure everything gets dissolved. I will probably put the yogurt in the clean glass jars, and then let them sit in still warm slow cooker (turned off) for at least 8 hours. 

My timetable (if I do this tonight) will be:

7:30     Put milk in slow cooker for 2.5 hours
10:00   Turn off cooker. *I might put milk powder in and blast this with the immersion blender--as to do it at 1 a.m. might be too noisy for my neighbors.
1 a.m. (before I go to bed) Put 1/4 Cup Yogurt and xanthan gum powder in the warm, cooked milk. Portion into jars, and place back in cooker.  

Before portioning into jars, I'll put some Dalmatia Fig Spread in 1 or 2; and in the remaining jars, I'll put some elderberry syrup and a few blue berries and hope for the best.

Knowing me, I'm lazy and rushed in the mornings, so it's not outlandish to think I'll forget to put the yogurt in the fridge before heading to work--and I suspect the additional time at room temp can only assist the yogurt to do its thing. So at this rate, I won't know until Tuesday night or Wednesday how successful the first batch will be.  

This, of course, is assuming I get off my duff and do this. I'd have to set this up right before I start setting up for dinner tonight.  

Stay tuned.

Also: Stay tuned for the cost calculations--whenever THAT happens!

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