But this year - this year was going to be different. This year I was going to make yogurt! Well, technically, I've been making yogurt for a while now, but most of it ends up in a smoothie or made into salad dressing or dumped into some sort of dinner or dessert concoction. You see, I'm a yogurt snob. The "regular" store bought stuff is the thinnest I'd consider eating "as is". I like my yogurt THICK, like in Greek-Style, like in you can hold the jar upside down and nothing drips out kind'a yogurt.
Is it so wrong to want to be able to duplicate that in my own kitchen? Will I have to add gobs of carrageenan or corn starch or gleatin to get it to firm up like that? It may come to that. And although I suppose it's not the end of the world if I have to resort to an additional thickening agent, I had lofty hopes of just adding a bit of leftover homemade yogurt or freeze-dried culture to my fresh-otta-the-goat milk, shaking the jar up a bit, then leaving it in a warm spot for 12 hours or so.
Not so much.
I've tried straight-from-the-goat milk. I tried two-day old milk. Raw milk. Pasteurized milk. I heated up the milk. I let the milk cool on it's own. I helped the milk cool quickly by immersing it in a sink full of ice water. I used Dannon unflavored, unsweetened yogurt as a starter. I used the store brand plain yogurt as a starter. I used little freeze-dried packets of L.bulgaricus, L.acidophilus and S.thermophilus.
I incubated at temperatures ranging from 108 degrees all the way up to 125 degrees. For six hours up to 24 hours. Used a homemade yogurt maker using a small Igloo cooler with hot water and towels around it. Put it in a pre-warmed oven overnight. I even bought a "real" yogurt maker this past week:
|Found this on the local online trading post for $25 and|
it was still in the unopened, original box...what a deal!
Candy C. over at Lazy J Bar C Farm recently did a post showing off her yogurt parfait glasses (filled with non-runny looking yogurt) so I asked her how she made yogurt and she gladly posted her recipe for me. So that same morning I went out to milk the goats, strained the milk, then put what I needed for another batch of yogurt to the side and put the rest to cool in the freezer.
I did deviate a bit from Candy's recipe as I didn't want a sweet yogurt to start with, so I didn't add the vanilla or sugar. And I didn't have any greek-style yogurt on hand so I just used a bunch from my last batch. Hmmm. So actually, I didn't follow Candy's recipe much at all, did I? But I did add the 1/2 cup of powdered milk and used the still warm, raw milk like she does. So I kind'a used her recipe. I put 5 cups of straight-from-the-goat milk into a 1/2 gallon jar, dumped 6 oz. of the last batch of runny yogurt in there along with the 1/2 cup of powdered milk and shook the heck out of it. Poured it into the little jars and turned the EuroCuisine switch to the "On" position.
And then I kind'a forgot about it. Like I let it sit in the incubator for twenty hours forgot about it. I figured that maybe, just maybe, that the additional time and warmth would give the little yogurt bacteria guys more time to multiply and maybe thicken. But as usual, I was wrong. The only thing it did was slow-cook a wee bit of yogurt on the bottom of the jars. And it still didn't set up anywhere near the consistency of store-bought yogurt, even after being in the fridge for half a day. And boy, was it tangy!
So when I finally made it to town, I stopped in the grocery store to buy some Greek-Style yogurt, but they only had honey flavored. Oh well; I bought it anyhow. So now I followed Candy's directions exactly (well, except for the honey flavored part) and had another go at it. I put it in the EuroYogurtThingy for eight hours. There were parts that were thick, parts that were really runny, but it was still thicker than anything I've yet to make. I put it in the fridge to cool hoping it would thicken up a bit more, but it didn't.
I strained it through some cheesecloth in a sieve overnight in the fridge. Come morning, about half of the whey had drained and I was left with some of the most delicious tasting yogurt I've ever made!
|Thick, yummy, homemade goat milk yogurt!!!|
Thank goodness we're flush with goat milk so I can freely experiment. Although I have had to make some changes when cooking or baking lately; namely using all that experimental yogurt in everything I cook!