I love my new yogurt maker. I’ve been experimenting with different kinds of milk (including coconut) and all kinds of recipes and thickeners. The recipe that I’m now most happy with (mostly because it’s really, really easy, but still creates a thick, greek-type yogurt) is by using half-and-half. That makes the fat content a bit higher, but I don’t mind a little fat.
I also have an ice-cream maker, which I’ve had for years, and it’s also a Cuisinart. I love making my own ice cream, and a couple weeks back, we had a very short heat wave, which caused me to break it out.
Strawberries should be in the farmer’s markets soon. We had to use the sad ones from California, although frozen, thawed strawberries would also be fine.
I love this recipe because it’s so simple. There’s no custard involved, and as a mom, I love that it’s entirely naturally sweetened. I added a touch of balsamic vinegar to create a depth of flavour, as well.
My young sous chef really rocked this one!
1.5 cups of strawberries (fresh or frozen)
1.5 cups greek yogurt
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (strawberry flavoured if possible)
1/2 tsp vanilla or vanilla beans
If you are using fresh strawberries, wash them well and de-stem them, then cut into halves or quarters. Puree them in a blender. You can leave them chunky if you like little bits of strawberries in your frozen yogurt, or puree them smooth if you want a smoother texture.
In a large bowl, using a whisk, mix the yogurt and the berry puree well. Add the balsamic vinegar and the vanilla or vanilla beans, and mix again.
Freeze according to your ice-cream maker manufacture’s directions.
A couple weeks back, I got a skookum Cuisinart Yogurt Maker from the nice people at London Drugs. I’ve been having tons of fun making yogurt over the last couple of weeks, and I think I finally have my yogurt exactly how I want it.
Even better, I have the boy on board! Every morning when he gets up, now, he asks for yogurt with fruit and honey. Win!!
I doubt I’ll ever need to buy yogurt again. It’s really convenient to throw a batch in the yogurt maker, and have it ready for the next day. I’ve been having lots of fun experimenting with different recipes as well–tzatziki, raita, and flavours. I’ll no doubt attempt frozen yogurt in the summer, and who knows what else?
But in the mean time, here’s the basic recipe. It requires two things: milk and culture.
There are two tips I’ve discovered, to getting the yogurt to the consistency (thicker) that I want. First, you need to use whole milk. When you start to use lower-fat milks, you will probably have to use some kind of thickener, like agar-agar. Second, cooking the milk before you put it into the yogurt maker creates a much thicker, creamier result.
If you want a true, thick, greek-style yogurt, you’ll need to put it in a sieve lined with cheesecloth over a bowl, and allow it to drain for a few hours. This works beautifully, and creates a thick, almost whipped-cream like texture.
1 litre whole milk
1 package yogurt culture
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk up to 160-180 degrees fahrenheit. I use my candy thermometer for this.
Remove from the heat, and pour into a large bowl. Allow to cool for about 20 minutes, until the temperature reads 110 degrees fahrenheit. Add in the culture and stir well, to make sure it is all incorporated.
Pour the warm milk into the bowl of the yogurt maker, place the top on, and put it inside the maker. Put the top on. Set the timer for 7 hours.
After the yogurt is done, place in the fridge. It will thicken more as it cools. If you want it really thick, line a sieve with two layers of cheesecloth. Place it over a bowl, and put the yogurt inside the sieve. Return it to the fridge for 4-6 hrs, or until it’s your desired thickness. The water will drip out of the yogurt into the bowl, leaving the lovely thick yogurt in the sieve.