Yogurt Making for the Thinking Impaired

My husband is usually in charge of making yogurt, but as he is completely overloaded with responsibilities, I am attempting to take over that job. I am replacing the single serving yogurt containers I have been purchasing to augment the kids’ lunches with homemade yogurt that I can either send in one of the smaller containers that is part of their bento boxes or use in a smoothie recipe that fits in their thermoses.  Either way, making yogurt will need to be a more regular undertaking if we are to accommodate lunch appetites.

Our family has taken baby steps to arrive at this change.  Our kids have moved from Go-gurts to Yoplait to Brown Cow to homemade, slowly losing their taste for sugar.  I have traded convenient packaging and flavor variety for significant savings at the cash register and creative recipes. My husband has been pushing us to make this change for years, but it is only now finally happening thanks to our family’s investment in nutrition, variety, creativity and time with the reintroduction of bento boxes to the kids’ school lunches.  In other words this is a positive result of my brain injury.

I have found yogurt making challenging, even when assisted by my husband, actually more so when assisted by my husband.  His method is the result of research and trial and error and makes a great product, but he is not patient and tires of repeating instructions.  He keeps reminding me that it is a very simple process, but I have trouble remembering and following directions so making the yogurt feels stressful.   To remedy this, I have taken my husband’s rather general and confusing oral tutorial and written down the specific steps I followed on my first successful solo yogurt making attempt using such methods.  Today I followed those instructions to see if my results could be reproduced.  I won’t know if my process proved scientific until morning, but if you are reading this, my yogurt was a success.

Whole Milk Organic Yogurt

You will need:

1 gallon organic whole milk (I use Farmers brand in returnable jugs from Sprouts)

8 T. organic whole milk yogurt (I use Stoneyfield from Sprouts)

double boiler

mesh strainer

whisk

candy thermometer

digital temperature controller for brewing

2-1/2 gallon sterile jars and 1 quart jar with lids

large insulated cooler

Spoon yogurt into bowl and set aide. Pour milk into double boiler and heat on high using whisk to remove congealed protein as needed.  Use candy thermometer to track when temperature reaches 220 degrees. Hold  heat for 1 hour continuing to skim.  (The purpose of the high heat is to kill native bacteria that might compete with introduced bacteria and to alter the structure of the milk protein)  Remove the milk from heat and place on trivet in ice bath to cool.  Whisk congealed protein as needed.   Continue cooling until milk reaches 120  degrees.  (The milk must be cool before the starter is introduced to avoid killing the yogurt bacteria)  Pour through strainer twice. Mix yogurt with a small about of the cooled milk and then return mixture to pan.  Whisk gently for 30 seconds.  Pour into jars and seal with lids.  Place jars into bottom of double boiler and fill with hot tap water. Place in insulated cooler.  Fill cooler with hot tap water.  Place temperature sensor of digital temperature controller in pan.  Add hot water or ice as necessary so that water in pan is 110 degrees. (The  typical bacteria that turn milk to yogurt  are active at elevated temperatures)  Shut cooler and allow to incubate for 8 hours.

Success!  Yogurt is perfect and ready to refrigerate.

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