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Homemade Greek Yogurt

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.

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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.

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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.

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Greek Yogurt

Ingredients

  • 1 litre whole milk
  • 1 package yogurt culture

Method

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk up to 160-180 degrees fahrenheit. I use my candy thermometer for this.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Making Yogurt in the Cuisinart Yogurt Maker

UPDATED TO INCLUDE THE RECIPE AT THE END. PLEASE WATCH THE VIDEO FOR THE “HOW-TO”

Yogurt. I’m a fan. I have this weird yeast imbalance thing that I’ve been dealing with off and on for years, and so for me, that means three important rules in my diet: don’t eat tons of yeast, don’t eat tons of sugar (sugar feeds the yeast) and restock the good bacteria. Most yogurt contains “good” bacteria, or probiotics, like acidophilus. This stuff helps to keep you.. ahem… regular, but it also supports your immune system. I’ve managed to remain relatively cold-free by dosing myself regularly with probiotics.

yogurt

I like yogurt for breakfast, usually with granola and honey. I also like a spoonful or two in my smoothie every day to boost up the protein, add the probiotics, and make it creamy. But I’m not a huge fan of commercial yogurt. Many of the fat-free or lower-fat varieties have tons of additives–like aspartame or one of those other fake sweeteners which I generally avoid, or they have to add in thickeners to make up for the fat they’ve taken out. I’m more concerned about additives than I am about naturally-occurring fats, so I decided I’d try making my own yogurt.

Meet the Cuisinart Yogurt Maker. Now, I own several Cuisinart kitchen appliances already, and I gotta say, I’m a fan. It promises to be really simple: you put in the three ingredients, set it, and 8 hours later, you have yogurt! What I love about this appliance is how slim it is. Probably many of you, like me, have a bit of an appliance obsession, but lack the space to store them. This is so small–I could easily store it away in the cupboard, and pull it out once a week or so to make up a fresh batch. In addition, it was so easy to use–literally, you whisk up the three ingredients, pour them in, turn it on, and 8 hours later, you have fresh yogurt. Oh–and did I mention how quiet it was? You wouldn’t even know it was there. The best thing about it, though is the built-in cooling feature. I started my batch of yogurt in the late evening, and it would have been finished sometime in the middle of the night while I was asleep. But it refrigerates the finished yogurt until you can get to it and put it in the fridge. How brilliant is that?? http://youtu.be/h2_voYsvaJQ I wasn’t 100% happy with the yogurt I made on my first try, but that didn’t have anything to do with the yogurt maker, but rather to do with the ingredients I chose. I used a lower-fat milk (because it was what I had on hand), and the result was runnier and waterier than what I’d like it to be. When I was in Greece, every day for breakfast, we had this beautiful, thick yogurt, sweetened with honey. I need to experiment with more recipes and figure out how to get it to that consistency. My guess is, I need to use a higher-fat milk. It also has the ability to make non-diary yogurt with soy or rice milk, and I definitely want to try doing that as well. I will experiment some more and get back to you, but I gotta say, I’m really happy with how the machine performed. Now, if I could just figure out how to spell ‘yogurt…’ Disclaimer: I received the Cuisinart in exchange for this review thanks to London Drugs. All opinions and recipes are my own.

Homemade Yogurt

Ingredients

  • 4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup skim milk powder
  • 1 package yogourt starter (I use Yogourmet–from Whole Foods)

Method

Watch the video above. Times and procedures may vary slightly if you have a different kind of yogurt maker.