Sunday, February 27, 2011

Time to Make Yogurt

I had never liked eating yogurt until our first trip to Europe. While we were in Sweden visiting family, I discovered that it tasted great on my morning cereal. In the years following that trip, I bought small containers of fruit-flavored sugar-free yogurt at the grocery store every week. One shelf in the door of our refrigerator was reserved for these small items.

In 2007, during a stay at Cedar Breaks National Monument in Utah, I was talking to the campground host. They tried to drive to the grocery store no more often than once a month. I think I replied that I could never wait that long because I didn't have space in the refrigerator for all the yogurt I would need in that period of time. "Oh, I make my own yogurt," she said. I immediately followed her to their RV to get the recipe. And I have been making my own ever since. The commercial yogurt I used to love is now way too sweet for my taste buds.

This week it was time to make my supply for the next couple of weeks. All I need is a box of non-fat dry milk powder, water, five small glass jars and about 2 to 3 tablespoons of yogurt from the last batch as a starter. I mix:
7 cups of water
2 1/3 cups dry milk powder
and cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat till the mixture reaches 180° for 60 seconds.

After cooling the mixture to between 115° and 120°, I stir in a small amount of yogurt from the previous batch. This is just like using a sourdough starter for bread or pancakes.

These are the jars I use for the yogurt.

I fill them with the hot milk mixture and screw on the covers.

Then I heat one jar of water to boiling in the microwave. This hot water is the heat source to "cook" the yogurt for 9 to 12 hours.

I place all of the jars in a foil-lined insulated cooler.

Then I set it in a corner of the kitchen counter all day or overnight. On cooler days, I reheat the one jar of water after a couple of hours so the milk mixture cools down more slowly.

That's all there is to it. The jars then go into the refrigerator. Each one provides three servings for my morning raisin bran breakfast.

I don't know that I save any money. Powdered milk isn't cheap. But I only have to plan ahead 12 hours to have a steady supply for breakfast. No inventory to take each grocery shopping day. And it is much lower in sugar and calories (or Weight Watcher© points) than even the light commercial yogurt.

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