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Relax. Take it easy. An electrical device called the yogurt maker will remove all intimidating thoughts about making yogurt. Here you will learn how to create fabulously delicious yogurts in a machine in as little as 2 hours (see note immediately below) without the hassle of having to work with ovens that don't have low enough settings or pouring boiling water into your ice chest to keep things warm enough in the bottles to make the yogurt.
- And if you follow these simple steps and you can turn out fantastic yogurt each and every time with no failures!
- Please, read all instructions before actually trying this process. Beware of shortcuts - you are working with yogurt cultures which must be kept alive and thriving. But the following steps will provide you with a risk-free procedure to get you your yogurt each and every time.
- Note: the clock starts once the jars are placed in the yogurt machine. And you can let the yogurt continue in your yogurt maker for 12 hours or longer - it will just get more tart. (For those lactose intolerant folks, longer periods in the yogurt maker will allow the yogurt cultures enough time to make the yogurt tolerable.
- After finding out how much milk - whether whole, 2%, 1% or skim - your yogurt maker will hold, heat that amount of milk (with 1/4 cup powdered, dry milk for each quart) in a crockpot on low overnight. You can do the same thing on your stove in a double-boiler - bring it to the froth stage or between 180 - 200F. Keep it at this temperature for at least 10 minutes. Optionally, for every gallon of milk you can add a cup of sugar and a pinch of salt - this helps the bacteria work and improves the taste of the resulting yogurt without decreasing it's nutritional value. Additional sweeter in the form of Splenda can be use to sweeten the yogurt even more - but do not use any more salt.
- Cool the milk to just under 120F. Yes, you do need a thermometer to do this as temperatures are important. This milk now is referred to as tempered milk.
- Take part of the warm, tempered milk together with at least 2 tablespoons of your yogurt culture and using a blender, blend the culture and milk together for at least 10 seconds. The culture can be from store-bought plain yogurt (it must have LIVE CULTURES in it), from packets of yogurt culture bought online or at your local health food store or even from prior yogurt you have made and kept refrigerated or frozen. This step is extremely important as the culture has literally billions of bacteria in it that you need to get evenly distributed throughout the yogurt. Oh, and you can use flavored yogurt - the final yogurt may taste faintly of the flavor you use. Keep the amount of any store-bought yogurt culture you use to under 5 tablespoons or you will risk curdling the milk before it starts to turn to yogurt. Yogurt has acid in it which can curdle milk.
- Pour the blended milk into the rest of the tempered milk and stir for at least 10 seconds with a whisk.
- Pour the milk into clean jars or containers and put them in your yogurt maker.
- Follow the instructions from your yogurt maker to start it going.
- To find out if your yogurt is ready, after 2 hours, slightly jiggle one of the jars to see if it is firm. If it is, it is ready... but you may want to let it go longer - up to 12 hours or more to increase the cultures in the yogurt and make it more tart.
- When you are ready, take the jars out and put them in the refrigerator to cool and set further. At this point you can add flavorings, fruit and other items like granola.
- Save part of the yogurt for the next batch. After 5 or so batches, you may want to start fresh to ensure the cultures don't degrade.
- Thermometers are an essential part of yogurt making - they are your friend and they will keep you out of trouble.
- Don't worry if the milk boils. It will turn out great yogurt just the same.
- You can use milk combinations like 1 part whole milk to 2 parts milk made from dry, powdered milk.
- If in doubt, throw it out. If you detect any off colors, strange smells or have any reason to doubt the yogurt is safe to eat, toss it. But just remember, if you followed the steps above, then the chance and risk of compromising your yogurt is almost non-existent.
- If you are using liquids other than cow's milk, you may find that the yogurt turns out thinner than typical yogurt. And certain products like ultra high pasturized milk can present a real problem in trying to make yogurt out of it.
- Each yogurt maker brand has it's own idiosyncrasies so you need to know how it works and the temperatures it uses.
- Temperatures are important and up to a certain point (around 125F) the hotter the process, the faster it goes.
- A section from How to Make Yogurt in 10 Easy Steps, written by the author of this wikihow, about yogurt making machines is found below for your convenience.
Some folks prefer using a yogurt maker that can supply heat for the yogurt making process by using electricity:
- The containers of the cooled, tempered dairy product (usually plain milk), also containing yogurt bacteria, are placed into the yogurt maker.
- A cover is supplied to keep in the heat and that maintains the containers at a temperature which, hopefully, allows the bacteria in the tempered dairy product in the containers go grow and thrive to make yogurt.
- In due time - depending on bacterial strain(s) used, temperature and food available in the dairy product - the dairy product will firm up to a yogurt consistency. This can take as little as 2 hours and can last 12 hours or longer. The shorter times usually result in less tart yogurts and longer times provide completion of the bacterial growth. For those lactose intolerant folks, the longer times may produce a more digestible yogurt.
- Once the yogurt has gotten to the consistency and time desired, the containers are removed from the yogurt maker and placed in a refrigerator to cool for storage until consumption. The containers, which may be supplied with the yogurt maker, can be small cups so that the user can eat the yogurt right out of the cups. Containers as large as a gallon or more can be held by some yogurt makers for those who need large amounts of yogurt on a regular basis.
There are 3 major categories of retail yogurt makers available today:
1. The untimed, resistance heated yogurt makers are in the first category and are generally popular because of their low cost. They tend to be less expensive because they are designed with no control over the temperatures needed to properly incubate the yogurt bacterial culture(s) in the dairy product used. They are designed for average home temperatures but higher or lower environmental temperatures can change the time it takes to make the yogurt and quality of the yogurt produced. They generally come with smaller cups and must be used repeatedly throughout each week to provide for daily consumption of yogurt. With larger families, they can become impractical because of the time it takes to make a given quantity of yogurt.
2. The temperature regulating yogurt makers are in the second category. And these are more expensive as they require more electronic components to be able to maintain temperature settings. There are two types within this category:
- The user can adjust the temperature setting of the yogurt maker to maintain the proper temperatures associated with the bacterial strain(s) used in the culturing of the yogurt. Once set, they will maintain the setting, retardless of how warm or cold your home or kitchen may be.
- Another type has an (optimal) factory temperature setting which is maintained regardless of environment. You cannot adjust the temperature setting in this type.
3. Yogurt makers which allow the user to set the amount of time the yogurt maker applies heat to the containers are in the third category. While this time setting may be handy should you need to leave the yogurt maker unattended, it is suggested the user remain in the general area (home) so that if anything should go wrong (like the unit failing to shut off) - granted a rare occurance - may deal with the situation. Now there are yogurt makers which combine some of the features found in some of the above categories. For example, one yogurt maker provides a factory set regulated temperature with a time - display and cut-off feature. This unit is capable of producing a quality yogurt result in as little as 2 hours as the temperature setting is well above popular home yogurt culturing temperatures. It allows the user to use more than cup-sized containers, although they are supplied in several sizes with the yogurt maker. You can use a gallon size container or 4 wide-mouth quart containers to make as much as a gallon at a time. However, with the taller jars, either a larger cover may be needed or towels may be used to cover the gap between the supplied cover and bottom (heating and control) unit. It has been suggested that users of the smaller, restrictive yogurt makers tend to make yogurt for only a short while after purchasing the yogurt maker and then storing it away in the attic. It seems that they are not able to easily keep up with the demand for yogurt and require too much work for the amount of yogurt made at one time. The larger, more flexible and temperature regulated yogurt makers are heavily used and are capable of keeping up with the demands of even a large family. The only hitch is that you need more cold storage room to hold the greater amount of yogurt made at once... not a great problem for most. Just about all yogurt makers require you to add water to the bottom unit so the heat is easily conveyed to the containers. Follow the instructions provided with your yogurt maker. How can you tell if your yogurt is ready? Try gently jiggling one of the containers - the yogurt will not move if it is ready and you can take it from the yogurt maker and put it in the refrigerator then. Or you can wait and let it get more tart for 12 hours or more.
Suggestions and Ideas
- If you are in the market for a yogurt making machine and rarely expect to be making yogurt, perhaps either purchasing the least expensive yogurt maker you can find or making it manually using the 10 steps found in the referenced wikihow would be the way to go.
- If you plan to regularly make yogurt for you and your family, a larger unit is suggested. The one shown in the image above can be adapted to make as much as a gallon of yogurt at once... the author and his wife do that weekly and sometime twice a week. It all depends on how much yogurt you consume.
- Check out online sources of yogurt cultures - the Y1, Y4 and Y5 from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company are great and produce very tasty yogurts.
- Maintain a "yogurt bank" of cultures in your freezer. The author takes freshly made yogurt and places tablespoons of it (or freshly opened store-bought yogurt) in plastic sandwich bags and freezes them. Be sure your freezer is set below 0F to make sure it will freeze quickly and keep well for as long as 6 months to a year or more.
- Keep freeze dried packets of yogurt cultures in your freezer where they will last indefinitely.
Sources and Citations
- Various manuals, instructions and websites were consulted for information concerning yogurt making. The author, in addition, has experience in using a Waring Pro Yogurt Maker and has made various kinds of yogurt for almost a year. He estimates he is approaching 100 gallons of yogurt made at this time.The author also is webmaster for: http://mryogurt.info/
Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Make Yogurt By Machine. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.