|Homemade yogurt and mother|
© L. Kathryn Grace
We're pitching the plastic yogurt tubs at last
Finally! No more plastic yogurt tubs coming into the house. I know, this may seem a little odd after extolling the (relative) virtues of the Stonyfield multipacks made from corn the other day, but it was in researching that post that I found the first easy recipe for delicious (and hopefully no-fail) yogurt.
For months I've experimented with various homemade yogurt schemes, with more and less success. Mostly less. Today, near perfect yogurt, super easy, no mess, no fuss, and no special equipment.
Sure, here in the Bay Area we can buy the very mild St. Benoit yogurt in returnable glass jars--when we can get it. Cost is about the same as a quart of raw milk, but it's not always available. About half the time we have to choose between not having yogurt on hand or buying it in plastic tubs. What's more, St. Benoit is made from pasteurized, albeit local, organic milk. We wanted to take advantage of the raw milk available to us from locally-pastured cows, and I like my yogurt on the tangy side, something St. Benoit doesn't do.
I needed a dependable homemade yogurt alternative, one I could share with others trying to reduce their plastic use as well. So when Beth Terry at Fake Plastic Fish included her homemade yogurt recipe in her post about Stonyfield Farms new PLA cups the other day, I decided to give it a try.
Greek or plain yogurt, it's all good
Beth got her recipe from Melanie Rinner of Bean Sprouts, whose method is for Greek yogurt, but the culturing process is the same either way. Because the yogurt I had on hand was almost a week old, I used a commercial culture I bought a while back as a backup. The brand is Yogourmet. They expect you to use it in their yogurt maker, which I did not want to buy. It's made of plastic.
For a year or two now, I've hunted for an incubator like the one I had when my babies were little--a stainless steel tub that held six pints, or three quart jars, and kept an even temperature perfect for culturing yogurt. Nowhere to be found. All yogurt makers I found on the market are made of plastic, even the versions clad in stainless steel to match your trendy kitchen decor.
Sans easy-to-use maker, I experimented with the cooler-covered-in-blankets method. Every time, the yogurt turned out runny. Fine if you like Kefir-style, drinkable yogurt, but we prefer a creamy, custardy texture. Plus, this is a time-consuming process. I didn't like the bulky mess in my bedroom, which was the only place in the house with room for the container to sit undisturbed.
|Cooler with yogurt-filled jars in warm water bath|
© L. Kathryn Grace
|Cooler covered in three layers of blankets|
© L. Kathryn Grace
Yesterday, thanks to Beth and Melanie, I finally found the right combination of culture and method. What's more, it's easy-peasy. Incubate in a thermos, transfer to glass jars when the yogurt is the consistency you like, refrigerate to chill, and enjoy.
Worked like magic. I heated the milk to barely boiling, cooled it to just under 122 degrees F, stirred in the yogurt culture according to instructions, and poured it all into my faithful stainless steel, wide mouth Stanley thermos. Eight hours later, I popped the lid to check, and we had beautiful, creamy yogurt at exactly the texture we like.
I scooped the yogurt into two glass jars, one to save the mother culture for the next batch, the other to eat, and popped them into the refrigerator to chill. The transfer from thermos to jar for chilling did change the consistency. Disturbing the yogurt before it is chilled causes it to curdle a bit.
Next morning, we couldn't wait to strain for Greek yogurt. We gobbled nearly the whole pint for breakfast. The taste is marvelous--tangy, with a hint of citrus.This is the first yogurt I have ever enjoyed straight from the jar with no honey, no fruit, no sweetener of any kind. Delicious! Today I'll pick up more raw milk and make another batch. I'll let you know how it goes.
That's my conscious living tip for the day, part of our personal household zero waste challenge. What are you up to this week? Do you make your own yogurt? Have you found an easy recipe you like? I invite you to share it here or post a link to your recipe page.
Disclosure: If you follow the Amazon link above and purchase something, it is possible I will earn a few pennies. What a thrill that would be.
We make peace in a million small ways every day.
All text and images, unless otherwise noted, copyright L. Kathryn Grace. All rights reserved.