Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Greeks invented yogurt!

I can't think of Greek Yogurt without quoting My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Is that bad? I wonder if that pisses Greek people off. I hope not, because I enjoy doing it.

So, I've been experimenting with making Greek yogurt because,
A, we eat a ton of it
B, it's hard to find the full fat/high protein kind, because this country's obsession with low-fat-ness is crazy bananas.
C, I'm a control freak who insists on controlling yogurt ingredients

...and all ingredients

...and all things pertaining to most things.

Hello, nice to meet you. Please don't judge me.

So, I pinned all sorts of yogurty pins and combined multiple methods to start my first experiment. It came out really yummy, but the protein content wasn't high and the carbs were higher than I wanted. I noticed that Fage Full Fat Greek Yogurt is magically higher in protein than the others...or other, as it were. Low and behold, their ingredients said milk AND cream, not just milk. Mystery solved. Hooray. Also, I've heard from others that their homemade stuff comes out really thin or tangy, which is not the case with this one. I attribute that to the cream, powdered WHOLE milk, and the cultures I used. The max ratio of cream:milk is 1:1, but decreasing the cream may be the way to go next time, only for caloric concerns. Not taste. Oh, no no no. It's tasty.

So, I bring you yogurt that's full of good fat and protein and it's freaking delicious and creamy and not too tangy and amazing and I want to bathe in it.

Yella's Yogurt:

4c Heavy Whipping Cream (preferably carageenan free)
4c Whole milk
1/4 Powdered Whole Milk (amazon)
A packet of yogurt culture/starter*

A big pot with a lid, a foodish type thermometer (candy thermometer), a big towel

* I ordered a Yogurt starter on amazon, but you can also use existing yogurt you have in the fridge or whatever. I think it's 1/4c added at the same time you'd add the cultures (temper it with the milk before you add it to be safe)

** I used organic milk and cream. Not sure if it makes a difference. The whole powdered milk may be substituted for non fat powdered milk, which you can buy at the grocery. Might not matter? Haven't tested it.

Heat your milk and cream in your big pot over medium heat to 185.
Stir, don't let it burn.

Once it's at 185, turn off the heat and cool to 112 (105-112 is the range I think).

Stir in powdered milk.

Add your cultures/starter/yogurt. Mine needed 2 minutes to rehydrate before I gave it a stir.


Put a lid on it.

Wrap your pot up in a towel like a newborn baby yogurt.

Stick your yogurt baby in the oven (it's off, don't worry you didn't miss a step) with the oven light turned on.

Leave it alone for 8-12 hours. Seriously. Leave it the eff alone, no peeking. I do it at night, and I do it for 12-14 hours. The longer it sits, the thicker it gets.

Cool in fridge for awhile.

For Greek style yogurt, put a mesh strainer over a deep bowl, line the strainer with cheesecloth, pour in your yogurt, and let it rest and cool for like 4 or more hours.
Greek Yogurt.

The Greek stuff measures out to about 5 cups.

You can flavor it however you'd like, of course, but it's best to make it plain and then start flavoring when you're done. I add some liquid flavored stevia (vanilla, lemon, english toffee and some chopped apples and cinnamon, coconut and fresh I still in parenthesis) and sugar free jam. Nature's Hollow makes a good one that's crap-free and sweetened with xylitol (a natural sugar alcohol). It's also stupid expensive, so I make my own, either with xylitol and fruit pectin (easy) or chia (even easier). I've also add peanut butter and cocoa powder with some vanilla stevia and it's effing delicious.

If your worried about fat and calories and what not this is not for you, my friend. I only avoid starches and sugars, but fat is welcome at my yogurt party. Which is good, because have you had fat lately? It's fantastic. Next batch I may try a different cream:milk ratio to see how that works. Evidently all sorts of other things start with this method of yogurt making. Sour cream, cheese...hmmm, other stuff? I don't know. It escapes me at the moment, but you know, stuff.

Use it in dressings. Use it as sour cream. Use it in smoothies.


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