Greek Yogurt Homemade from Scratch {Creamy pots of Greek yogurt with strawberries, honey and chia seeds}

 

Yogurt - Pots ready to enjoy

Yogurt - Pots

Yogurt -

There is so much to say about this post! First, I want to encourage you to make your own yogurt and de-mistify the whole process. Secondly, if you don’t feel that way inclined, you can simply take your favorite plain yogurt and add fresh stewed strawberries (at their peak now where we live in Florida) with local raw honey and chia seeds. Amazing way to start your day or to finish it off. Who says yogurt is just for breakfast, right? Anyway … I digress. I have been trying different methods of yogurt making over the last year or so and this is hands down my favorite recipe both in terms of ease of making and taste. Two things that make it a success: The original culture (see my notes on cultures further down) and making it a large pot and then jarring it rather than making yogurt in the posts to begin with.

There are two methods of yogurt making:

Thermophilic: Used with heat-loving cultures where milk is heated and then incubated at around 110°F-112°F for 5 to 18 hours. This is my preferred method as it produces a thicker yogurt than using the room temperature incubating method (next).

Mesophilic:  This method utilizes a starter culture that is medium  heat-loving where milk is incubated at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours at around 70°F to 77°F. There is no need to preheat the milk. The culture is simply added to cold milk. You will obtain a thinner yogurt than if you used a more heat-loving culture.

There are also two main types of starter cultures:

Using an existing yogurt to start your culture is the most popular way though I found that when using store purchased yogurt for this purpose, the quality varied immensely and I did not obtain consistently good yogurt. For the cost and quality of results, you might as well purchase a specific starter. That way you get to choose the strain and to a certain extent the quality. And then you can use your new yogurt as a starter for future batches. However, to propagate from an existing batch you have to ensure the variety you use can be propagated. Some cultures are for single use only.

Powder starters are my favorite method. There are lots of individual yogurt cultures produced specifically for yogurt-making that yield different flavors and benefits. Take a look at this site here. They have a plethora of different starters to chose from including those which can be used to make yogurt at room temperature, no heating appliance required! Think about it …  after all, yogurt was even before refrigeration even existed!

For this recipe, I used this starter. Mainly because I got it from Amazon before I knew about Cultures for Health. Having said that, it always gives me excellent results and I will continue to use it. Their yogurt maker is not needed. Some people think it’s quite tart but I like it. As I say, look into a strain you will like.

A note about milk:

I prefer to use raw whole milk but you can use any type. Whole milk will produce better flavor and a thicker consistency (yogurt is traditionally made from full-fat milk). This makes yogurt-making easier but you can use any milk. Pasteurized or not. Whole milk or not. Your choice.

A note about boiling milk (only if using thermophilic method):

The most common method of yogurt making is to boil your milk to around 160°F then cooling the milk down to 110ºF, before adding the starter culture.

I use raw milk and I have made yogurt in two ways: boiling it to 150-160°F and then cooling it down before adding the culture and just brining it up to 110°F and then adding the culture. The results were pretty much the same so do as you please. Some of you may prefer to keep the benefits of raw milk (like myself) and others may feel safer boiling milk. And of course, you can use store-purchased pasteurized whole milk (preferably from grass-fed cows) and again, you will obtain a very good result also. I am not a patient person, so mainly not having to boil my milk high and then wait for it to cool just suits me fine. Some people find they obtain a better consistency when the milk is boiled but as we are straining ours, it really doesn’t matter.

To obtain greek yogurt consistency, there is  no other consistent way but to strain the yogurt through a cheesecloth. It’s really not that messy and not a big deal. I was a bit put off by this step at first but really, there is no other fail-safe way to obtain nice thick yogurt. Also, that way you get the consistency you desire.

Tools you will need:

• Heavy, large cooking pot
• Cooking thermometer
• Large and small bowls
• Whisk
• Ladle
• Cheesecloth
• Colander
• Storage jars or glass bowl with cover
• Your heating element of choice (I use my SousVide which is essentially a warm water bath)

Ways to incubate your yogurt cultures without a yogurt maker:

SousVide: (my preferred choice) Preheat the water temperature to 110°F and keep your milk in a glass or ceramic bowl/pot immersed in the SousVide with water surrounding the container as high as you can without letting any water into your container or letting it float.

Food Dehydrator: A large food dehydrator, without shelves works well to maintain the required temperature.

The Folding Proofer or electric blanket:  can be set to the temperature you want.

Oven:  If your oven will go as low as 110°F great! Mine won’t but some have a proofing setting. Or test to see whether your oven light keep your oven warm enough to culture thermophilic yogurt.

Thermos: This type of insulated container or the YogoTherm can maintain the temperature of its contents for a long time. Remember though that the outside temperature can have an effect on the culturing process so in cold weather, wrap thermos or Yogotherm with a warmed towel or blanket. This method works great!

Crockpot or slow cooker:  This method had never worked for me; it cooked the yogurt but I know others have had great success with it. I must depend on the type of crockpot you have.

Insulated Cooler: Place yogurt jars in an insulated cooler. Pour warm water on top of about 115°F to about ¾ of the way up the jars. Close lid tightly and cover the cooler with towels or blankets.

GREEK YOGURT POTS MADE FROM SCRATCH WITH STRAWBERRIES, HONEY AND CHIA SEEDS

  • Time: Make 20 minutes + Incubate up to 24 hours
  • Difficulty: Not as hard as you think
  • Print

In this recipe I use a SousVide machine and Euro-Cuisine starter culture. I have highlighted in the rest of this post other suitable alternatives for this recipe. I have also used raw milk but again, you can use pasteurized if you wish.

I found  42 oz of milk yielded 3 8oz jars. Your results will vary depending on how thick you want your yogurt and of course, take into account whether you put fruit at the bottom like I have.

Ingredients:
42 oz of raw milk – see my Tampa Resources Page
1 5 gram packet Euro-Cuisine starter
1 lb of fresh strawberries (preferably organic – no nasty pesticides)
1 tbsp of chia seeds
1 tbsp of raw honey (or adjust to taste) – I love the orange blossom raw honey from South Tampa Farm

Instructions:
Fill the vessel in which you will incubate your milk in with 42 fl oz of water (ensure it fits inside the SousVide) – I used the same pot I heated the milk in
Then place this vessel into the SousVide and fill up with enough water to go a good ⅔ of the way up the pot but just below the point at which the pot will float.
Remove the vessel, empty its contents and dry.
Now heat the water inside the SousVide to 110°F.
Add milk to the vessel or pot and heat it to 110°F
Add the starter culture and whisk
Now transfer the whole pot with the milk and place it inside the SousVide or transfer the milk to your chosen vessel that will fit into the SousVide
Cover lightly with plastic wrap to keep the condensation from dropping into your yogurt – I changed my wrap twice
Incubate for around 8 to 12 hours – The longer you leave it the more acid the yogurt will become but also the firmer it will be
Now make your strawberries, chia and honey stew (instructions below)
When you have made your strawberry stew, evenly distribute it into 4 8oz jars and set aside
When the yogurt has incubated to your desired taste and chosen time, line your colander with cheesecloth and set over a bowl
Tip the contents of your yogurt into the cheesecloth colander
Strain for about 30 minutes or until you reach the desired consistency
Keep the whey (liquid residue) to one side
Tip your yogurt into a clean bowl and whisk lightly
If it’s too grainy, whisk some more or if it’s too think, add back some of that way you strained
When you have reached the consistency you like, fill up the remainder of your jars with your freshly made yogurt and refrigerate
Alternatively, simply cover and refrigerate

To make the Strawberry filling:
Take 1 lb of fresh strawberries, wash and quarter each one – you can use a packet of frozen strawberries instead
Put them in a pan and on low heat, covered, let them stew until they soften
When they are done, let them cool down
Add 1 tbsp of chia seeds
Add 1 tbsp of raw honey (or adjust to your own taste)
Evenly distribute the strawberry mixture into 4 8oz jars (sterilized of course by heating for 20 minutes in the oven at 275°F) ready to be topped up with yogurt

© 2014-2015 Caroline’s Family Kitchen and CarolinesFamilyKitchen.com

Comments

Be the first to comment.

Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> <li itemprop="">