Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Greek Style Yogurt

So this is the sound of silence, huh? I so apologize for being so long without posting anything. Thanks to Rachel for not making January a totally quiet month! The good news is that I have been cooking and taking pictures all along. I just have not been able to get posts written and put up. Anyway, let's get this ball rolling again.

Looks like an egg, doesn't it?
If you’ve lived in a developing country for any length of time, you may have at least once considered how people make yogurt. I’m a weirdo so I’ve researched and dabbled in yogurt making with varying degrees of success for years. Sometimes it’s easier to settle for just okay yogurt rather than doing it yourself. Recently, my body has been in a rebellion against sugar and sweets so I have been on a quest to find a yogurt that is somewhere between the super sweet local yogurt and its super sour watery counterpart. Over the years, I’ve also tried a number of different incubation methods, but think I finally found one that is pretty brilliant—the hot case for tortillas and roti! Easy yogurt that only takes about 10 minutes of hands on time and won’t give you diabetes or a sour puss face. Make this about midday or in the morning so you can pop it in the fridge before bed to have it cold for breakfast. Just pick up a little cup of sweetened or unsweetened yogurt from your local dairy to get you started.

Greek Style Yogurt
1 liter milk
1 heaping Tablespoon yogurt
2 heaping Tablespoons powdered milk

Heat milk to a boil. Switch the heat to low and let it boil for about 5 minutes. This ensures the milk reaches at least 200F so the proteins in the milk begin to denature. You don’t want to drink milk that has been pasteurized like that, but it is perfect for yogurt. Allow the milk to cool, stirring to avoid hot spots, until you can stick your pinky in and still feel it warm, but not too hot. Try to keep it in for about 10 seconds without it burning you, and that is the right temp. So technical! Place the scoop of yogurt and powdered milk into the hot case. Pour in the warm milk and stir to dissolve the milk powder. Cover the mixture and place in a warm area where it will not get jostled. I then put a hot water bottle on top of the hot case. Give the yogurt a taste test around the 4-6 hour mark, looking for coagulation and how tart you like it. 

Yogurt Making Tips: An oven or microwave is a good spot to park your yogurt during incubation because they are less drafty than the counter. Less time incubating equals sweeter yogurt, but you need enough time for it to solidify. This time of year it takes about 6 hours to reach the flavor I like. Drain the yogurt for several hours over cheesecloth or a towel in the fridge to enjoy a nice thick yogurt. Use a whisk to whip the yogurt to a smooth consistency, and dump off any whey that comes to the top. Flavor your yogurt with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup and some fruit.

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