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Buried in the comments in mumtaznepal's diary about creating mobile farmers markets to serve food deserts, is mumtaznepal's diet. Lunch is yogurt, berries and maybe some walnuts or peanuts sprinkled on top.

Ah, yogurt. I like yogurt, but I don't eat it very often. It's rather expensive, and I'm rather cheap. Besides, yogurt making has a reputation for needing special equipment, has many steps that must be done on a specific time schedule, all things anathema to a lazy cook such as myself. Still, if illiterate Mongolian horsemen could make yogurt by carrying milk in their saddlebags (or was that cheese?) I guess I couldn't mess it up too badly.

Turns out making yogurt is ridiculously simple.

I made it in my oven. I need to mention that, because that's what made the process so simple. My oven runs on natural gas and has a mechanical thermostat. The dial has an "off" setting, then, starting about 1/4 turn around the dial, it has markings for 250 to 550 degrees, with a "warm" setting below 250 and a broil setting above 550. There is a lot of unmarked dial between "off" and "250."

Here is yogurt making in a nutshell:

(Step 1) Heat milk to 180° F and hold it there for a while to sterilze it.
(Step 2) Cool the milk to under 120°F (so you don't kill the yogurt culture) and add yogurt culture to the 120° F milk.
(Step 3) Hold the milk between 110° F and 120°F for several hours while the yogurt culture is fruitful and multiplies and turns the milk into yogurt and whey.
(Step 4, for high protein Greek yogurt) Strain the whey out and chill the yogurt.

The markings on my oven thermostat are too high to be of any use, besides, they aren't all that accurate. I do have an accurate meat thermometer, an inexpensive one with a thin metal probe and a dial at the end, marked from Zero to 220 degrees. I tested its accuracy in ice water (32°F), boiling water (212°F), and room temperature (I think it was in the 70s).

I set the oven to below 'warm' and checked it every now and then, making adjustments to the setting until the oven stabilized at 180°F on my accurate thermometer. I was ready to make yogurt.

I poured about 3 ½ cups of milk into a clean 1 quart glass jar and put it in the oven. Since the oven was at 180°F, eventually the milk in the jar would reach 180°F, as well. But I didn't have to worry about scorching the milk, or stirring it, either. Just let it warm up to the point where an hour or so at 180°F would kill any bacteria or other nasties in the milk, leaving me with sterile milk in a sterile jar. I suspended my thermometer in the milk so I could tell when it reached the proper temperature.

Since this was my first time making yogurt, I checked on it every hour or so. Next time I'll know to let it sit in the 180°F oven for five hours.

Then I moved on to the second step: I turned the thermostat down to what I hoped was around 120°F, and went to bed, leaving my sterile milk to cool in its sterile jar inside my sterile oven with a sterile thermometer suspended from a sterile slotted spoon (Next time I will poke a hole in the jar lid, and use that instead of the spoon.)

The milk was still a little too warm when I got up the next morning, so I turned the thermostat down just a bit, and an hour later the thermometer registered just under 120°F. To complete step 2, I opened a container of store bought Greek yogurt, stirred a heaping teaspoon's worth into the warm milk, and had the rest for breakfast, mixed with some strawberries and some peanuts.

I checked on the jar in the oven every hour or so, and after about six hours (I'll set a timer next time I do this) the milk had turned into yogurt with a bit of whey floating at the top. At this point, I have yogurt. If you like regular yogurt, stir the whey into the yogurt, and put the jar in the refrigerator to cool.

I wanted to make Greek yogurt, so I continued on to step 4. I lined a collander with cheesecloth, wetted it down, put the collander in a large bowl and dumped (this yogurt doesn't pour) the yogurt into the cheesecloth, helping it along with a large spoon. I put all this into the refrigerator to cool and strain. After about an hour, around ¾ of a cup of whey was in the bowl, and the yogurt was chilled. I left it for another hour, but only got a few more tablespoons of whey in the bowl.

I finished up by spooning the yogurt into three small jars, each jar filled with around 6 oz. of thick, smooth, mild and very delicious Greek yogurt. For about 30 cents a jar. I am definitely going to do this again.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Some things are just not as complicated (31+ / 0-)

    as they seem to be.

    "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

    by Orinoco on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 09:29:10 AM PDT

  •  I'll give it a try one of these days (4+ / 0-)

    THanks for the step by step.

    Barack Obama for President

    by looty on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 09:47:28 AM PDT

  •  Go to store, buy yogurt, come home, rip top off. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Orinoco, phonegery, nomandates, Linda1961

    Sorry, that's my easy. Of course they were out of yogurt, so I will have to wait a few days for them to re-stock.

    guns are fun v. hey buddy, watch what you are doing -- which side are you on?

    by 88kathy on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 09:50:50 AM PDT

    •  I understand perfectly (9+ / 0-)

      After all, that used to be my method.  ;^)

      But I never claimed this method was easy (although it is pretty easy), I claimed it was simple. Since it's a method for making yogurt, I compare it to yogurt making YouTube videos, with their cold water baths and constant stirring and special insulated containers...

      I pour milk into a jar and let it sit in the oven for a day, adjusting the temperature a couple of times, and stir in some left over yogurt.

      Did I mention I was cheap?

      "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

      by Orinoco on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 10:06:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually it is a weight issue for me. Milk is too (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Orinoco, viral, phonegery, nomandates

        heavy to carry home on the bus. Yogurt isn't much better but it is still lighter than milk.

        guns are fun v. hey buddy, watch what you are doing -- which side are you on?

        by 88kathy on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 10:14:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It seems easy to me & simple, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Orinoco

        it just takes a long time to make. But time isn't the problem for me, I'm not crazy about yogurt, but my daughter likes it. She will probably like trying to make it herself.

        •  It does take some time (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Linda1961

          but most of the time you aren't activly involved. I spent a lot more time checking temperatures than anything else, mainly because it was the first time I'd tried it, and I didn't know how long things would take. Next time, I'll just set a timer and forget about it until I hear the timer beeping.

          myeye, below, mentions a super simple yogurt culture, which takes two days to turn milk into yogurt. But all you actually do is stir in the culture, and let it sit somewhere out of the way until it's done.

          "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

          by Orinoco on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 11:40:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You might also consider (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Orinoco

            checking your local thrift store(s) for used yogurt makers. Once you've heated the milk, cooled it sufficiently so that you can add your yogurt culture, and then poured it into the yogurt maker cups, you can forget about it. No more fiddling with the oven temp.

            I was just about to say that the cost of homemade vs. store-bought is probably about equal, figuring the cost of purchased milk & the energy you use making the yogurt. But then I found this site which reminds me that not all costs of our food come straight out of our pockets. And that if we take the extra step of buying milk from a local, organically run dairy, the quality of our yogurt will be increased (and apparently cheaper than purchased organic yogurt).

            Anyway -- happy yogurting!

            Being the single intellectual in a village of 1,100 souls ain't much fun, especially when 1,099 of those don't think you're all that smart.--Lucy Marsden

            by Miniaussiefan on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 06:59:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Now that I know the thermostat settings (0+ / 0-)

              for 180° and 120°, and the times involved in each operation, I don't expect to be doing much fiddling on subsequent batches.

              Anyway, I looked up the cost to run a natural gas oven, and looked up the specs on an inexpensive electric yogurt maker. I estimate my method uses as much heat as a casserole baked at 350° for one hour, and I used the yogurt maker specifications (13 watts, 8 hour cycle time) to figure electric usage. Using current average Los Angeles utility costs, it comes to 12 cents a batch for the oven, and 2 ½ cents a batch for the electric yogurt maker.

              So my method produced yogurt for 35 cents a serving, rather than 30 cents, and an electric yogurt maker would save about 3 or 4 cents a serving. However, if I scale up to making 6 servings at a time, the electric method would only be 2 cents per serving cheaper.

              Local prices for a single serving container of yogurt at Sprout's Market were $5.00 for 5 sale ($1 each), $1.59, $1.79, 1.99 and 2.39 depending on the brand. Goat and sheep milk yogurt was available but significanly more expensive.

              Half a gallon of milk (to make 6 six ounce servings of yogurt) costs ranged from $1.99 for ordinary house brand milk to $7.99 for organic goat milk.  So a single serving incubated in the oven costs around 35 cents for ordinary Greek yogurt, to $1.35 for super fancy organic goat milk Greek yogurt. Knock 2 cents off the price for using an electric yogurt maker, and add 2 cents a serving back in for depreciation on the electric yogurt maker, which is warrenteed for three years. I think the oven/yogurt maker cost competition comes out a wash, or pretty close to it, and both are way cheaper than buying retail.

              "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

              by Orinoco on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 08:22:54 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  I've made yogurt (8+ / 0-)

    I don't have a problem heating up the milk  on the stove to 180 and letting it cool to 110 to 120.  I have a yogurt maker, but it uses 6 or 8 oz jars that are inconvenient to use because all the jars and lids need to be washed before and after.  The last time I made yogurt, I put the heated and cooled milk in a quart jar and left it overnight  in a cooler in which I put a heating pad on low.  Worked perfectly and temp was maintained at the optimal temperature all night.

    •  I too scrambled around trying to put together (6+ / 0-)

      a contraption that would keep a constant set temperature for the milk, when I realized I already had one built into my kitchen: the gas oven. That insight led to the thought that I could avoid the stove top part of the ordinary method by using the oven to sterilize the milk, too. I remember thinking, "All I really need is one glass jar and a thermometer! It couldn't possibly be that simple..."

      It was that simple.

      "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

      by Orinoco on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 10:24:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What kind of jars? (4+ / 0-)

    Special canning jars? The odd little canning jars? If so, now you're in for money and fuss with having lids on hand, sterilizing, etc. Do you need to heat seal or does the yogurt just keep for a few days with no fuss?

    Sounds like something I might like to try.

    To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. Roger Ebert

    by lexalou on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 10:18:32 AM PDT

    •  My incubating jar (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lexalou, phonegery, nomandates, Kevskos

      originally held sauercraut. The small, single serving jars used to hold mustard, if I recall correctly. I cook for one, and find having jars available for leftovers quite handy, so I save jars and lids.

      The small jars and lids were washed but not sterilized. The yogurt kept for a couple days with no fuss. I only made three servings, so it wasn't much of a test. I'm planning on making six servings next time, and sterilizing the small jars and lids by setting them in the back of the oven so they go through the 180° heating step.

      "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

      by Orinoco on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 10:38:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have a yogurt maker that came with (6+ / 0-)

    plastic jars.

    I've never used them to make yogurt.  I found out shortly after I took it out of the box that a Pyrex dish I have (with its own lid) fits exactly into the yogurt maker.  I make my yogurt a quart at a time - and I cheat.  I let a quart of half and half sit out till it's room temperature, then I put it in the bowl, mix in the culture and let it go for 8 hours.

    It's really good with a little buckwheat honey mixed in.

    Strength and dignity are her clothing, she rejoices at the days to come; She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the law of kindness is on her tongue.

    by loggersbrat on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 10:18:43 AM PDT

  •  More about food prep.... (8+ / 0-)

    Wind, Spice, and Smoke

    One of the challenges that humans have faced since they became meat-eaters was how to preserve their food. While Europeans were long accustomed to using salt as a preservative as they began to expand out and explore the world during the so-called Age of Discovery in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, they encountered people in other places who had developed other methods of food preservation.
    I just that the yogurt preparation was related, so I posted the link.

    Thanks for the interesting diary.

    •  It is related (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ojibwa

      You don't have the problem of preserving milk unless you have cows, sheep, goats or other domesticated milk producing mammals in your food chain.

      I like reading your diarys, Ojibwa.

      "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

      by Orinoco on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 10:50:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  plain yogurt- with maple syrup. (6+ / 0-)

    also bananas, raisins & sometimes walnuts.

    For myself and the grandchildren I buy Stonyfield Organic Wholemilk yogurt because it's the best thing around, and if I can find it I buy Butterworks' Jersey Milk Yogurt. It's thick and creamy, half-way between regular and Greek style.

    But I recently ran across a list of farms that sell milk, and I have an oven just like yours. If it's that easy, I can definitely make yogurt once a week. In the winter we make beef jerky over-night, too, as an excuse to keep the oven going when it's below zero out.

    Years ago- back when it was still spelled yoghurt sometimes, my Mother called me up one day ecstatic and joyful. She said that she was in her early 50's and yet for her whole life she had 'never felt good.' Bowels too soft, too hard, gas, indigestion. But she called to say she had seen a new doctor who told her to eat a container of yogurt for lunch nearly every day. The change that came over her was striking, and so I try to make sure that the grand-kids get high-quality yogurt every time they come over. Start 'em young, I say. And it seems to me that it makes a great early food.

    •  Oh! Maple syrup! (2+ / 0-)

      I hadn't thought of that, and I have some! Thank you!

      It is that easy. Shockingly so. I'm planning on adding an extra half gallon of milk to my weekly Trader Joe's run to use for a weeks worth of yogurt.

      "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

      by Orinoco on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 11:04:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Used to make a lot of yogurt. (7+ / 0-)

    Store-bought yogurt often has lots of stuff (sugar, thickening agents, coloring, etc.) in it that could be a problem for people with intolerances or sensitivities.

    Also, I like DIY as a general principle.

    •  With store bought (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DRo

      it seems the fewer ingredients, the higher the price. And even with the expensive brands, the fruit additions often come with lots of extra stuff other than fruit and sugar.  

      "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

      by Orinoco on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 11:09:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I avoid the fruit-laced yogurt. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Orinoco

        Too much sugar and other things that yogurt doesn't need (nor do I). And some fruit yogurt that's packed in six small cups  linked together (3 or 4 oz each, I think) has HFCS in it.

        Being the single intellectual in a village of 1,100 souls ain't much fun, especially when 1,099 of those don't think you're all that smart.--Lucy Marsden

        by Miniaussiefan on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 07:05:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  following nuclear winter solstice's recommendation (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Miniaussiefan

          I added a teaspoon of maple syrup and some walnut pieces to my breakfast serving of yogurt. It was delicious, and I'm not a big walnut fan.

          Grocery story HFCS content is like a pyramid: low levels near the periphery and mountain high levels in the center of the store. Shop the walls, not the aisles. (Doesn't work for yogurt, though, which is in the peripheral dairy case. Just have to keep reading those lables...)

          "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

          by Orinoco on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 08:33:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Easiest yogurt to make is (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nomandates, Orinoco, greengemini

    Matsoni yogurt.
    Starter + Milk + Time on Counter = Yogurt

  •  No need to buy starter. (5+ / 0-)

    Find a yogurt you like that is active, and use that as starter.

    •  Technically speaking (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      badger

      unless you get a yogurt making friend to give you some home made yogurt, that 'find a yogurt you like' still involves buying some yogurt to use as starter.

      But, and I think this is pigpaste's point: you don't have to buy expensive "Yogurt starter" or "Yogurt culture" kits since a couple of spoonfuls from any container of yogurt can be used to start a batch.  

      "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

      by Orinoco on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 11:30:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've wondered about greek-style yogurt. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Orinoco

        Is it greek-style because it's made with 1 part cream to 3 parts milk? Or because the whey is drained and the yogurt therefore thickened? Or is it the particular cultures that are used? I assume that if I wanted greek-style, I'd have to start with a portion of purchased g-s yogurt--correct?

        Being the single intellectual in a village of 1,100 souls ain't much fun, especially when 1,099 of those don't think you're all that smart.--Lucy Marsden

        by Miniaussiefan on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 07:14:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Greek style yogurt (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Miniaussiefan

          is also known as strained yogurt, so the important point is the whey is strained out which thickens the yogurt, removes some of the water soluble carbohydrates and concentrates the protein. (Your cat will thank you for putting the whey in her water dish.)

          I started my batch with a purchased greek style yogurt, but the regular yogurts would probably have worked just as well, since all the yogurts I can find in my area seem to use the same cultures.

          However, there might be different varieties of the same bacilli that could affect flavor, thickness, etc, which doesn't show up on the lables. I'd expect those to differ by manufacturer, though, rather than style of yogurt.

          "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

          by Orinoco on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 08:46:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Orinoco, greengemini, JonBarleycorn

    A couple of other points from my wife's yogurt making process:

    1. Safeway sells milk near it's expiration date for 50% off. Since you begin by sterilizing the milk, it doesn't have to be all that fresh (not spoiled, of course).

    2. With our electric oven, the oven light (the light bulb) provides enough heat for the yogurt bugs to do their work

    3. Any kind of milk from whole milk to skim (fat-free) will work fine.

    As with any home kitchen stuff, especially for food that won't be consumed immediately, cleanliness is important. We do a lot of food processing, from our own frozen french fries (baked, actually) and hash browns to Italian and breakfast sausage and granola. Friday we turned 72 lbs of sirloin tips into 35 lbs of burger (around 5% fat content), steaks and roasts. Everything for those jobs (except the food itself) gets washed in dish soap (we also make that), bleach and hot water - in the case of big jobs like grinding hamburger, multiple times throughout the day.

    That dries your hands, but my wife makes her own hand lotion from free organic beeswax a beekeeping friend gives us.

    Modern revolutions have succeeded because of solidarity, not force.

    by badger on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 12:22:55 PM PDT

    •  So if I had a Safeway nearby (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      badger, freesia, greengemini

      I could make yogurt for fifteen cents a serving instead of thirty. That has its appeal, even if shopping at a chain doesn't (did I mention I'm cheap?) I will take a look around. I don't think Trader Joe's milk stays on the shelf long enough to get anywhere near it's expiration date, but I have noticed sales bins at Sprouts, maybe they have something similar in their dairy department.

      My dream kitchen would have a permanently installed meat grinder, grain mill, oil press and stone mortar. And a smoke house in the back yard. And a nano-brewery. And a still. And a greenhouse full of herbs. And cast iron pots and pans hanging on the walls. ...

      : )

      "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

      by Orinoco on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 01:33:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We didn't shop at Safeway until recently (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Orinoco, greengemini, bluebrain

        but being sort of retired we've had to become more price conscious, and they are cheaper than Costco or our local grocer on some things. Plus our daughter and some of her friends use our club card or phone number to get "club prices", and that multiplies our "Gas Rewards" to where, last month, I bought 25 gallons of gas (car, tractor, chainsaws, etc) for $1 off per gallon. Their gasoline prices already match the lowest in town.

        Our KitchenAid mixer has a meat grinder attachment - doing hash browns, burger and sausage by hand would be quite a chore. We don't have an oil press, but we do have a freezer and pantry, so we can stock up on real food and at low prices. We have 10 whole chickens in the freezer right now - I buy 2 or 3 when they're under $1/lb. Just one chicken is one dinner, a few sandwiches for lunches, and then the rest of the carcass goes in the pot for soup (usually) or stock - all for a little more than $5.

        Thanks again for a really valuable diary.

        Modern revolutions have succeeded because of solidarity, not force.

        by badger on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 01:50:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  ... and a pantry (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          greengemini, badger, bluebrain

          full of home canned produce from the garden, and a freezer, and a pizza oven, and a hand cranked ice cream churn...

          Ah! ok, I'm back...

          Being sort of retired myself, I enjoy the hands-on aspect of grinding up or kneading or rolling out stuff to make food. I'm sure if I did something like raised goats, and had to milk them every day and then process the milk into cheese or kefir or something, it would quickly become a chore and I'd get all the labor saving appliances I could afford.

          But at present, doing this sort of thing is a choice, so it is play rather than work.

          "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

          by Orinoco on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 02:15:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's what we say too (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Orinoco

            Even without being cheap, or wanting to know what's in the food you eat to the extent that you ever can, it's just a lot of fun to figure out how to do something and spend the time doing it, and then (hopefully) do it even better next time. And eat it.

            The garden is the one thing we can't do - our local deer population is already extremely well-fed, and fencing out them and all the other little critters is just too much work and expense. Ultimately, it would probably need to be bear proof, too. The most we do is garlic, parsley and a few herbs. The deer even ate all of the strawberries - plants and all -  and most of the flowers in front of the house last summer.

            But we have friends in town who participate in a community farm that's too far away for us, but they don't can, and my wife does. She takes a cut of everything she cans, and then we have other friends who do organic orchards or other produce they sell at farmer's markets, and we get their culls free or a couple of bucks for 10 lbs of blemished tomatoes.

            Modern revolutions have succeeded because of solidarity, not force.

            by badger on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 03:32:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I make my own Kefir (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Orinoco, greengemini

    because I love it but it's absurdly expensive.

    I do the sterilization on the stove (I use whole milk) then when it's down to about 110 degrees I mix in a couple of spoons of Kefir, put the lid on and cover the whole thing with a blanket & leave it overnight.

    Now I'm in South Florida, so the apartment is warmer than might be typical up north, but for me this works fine.

    “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?” - Sherwood Rowland

    by jrooth on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 12:44:01 PM PDT

    •  I like kefir, too (0+ / 0-)

      but I didn't think you could culture it from left-over kefir, that you need something called 'kefir grains' that get strained out of the drinkable product.

      I read something about a kefir underground, people who make kefir grains and give them away to people living nearby.

      "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

      by Orinoco on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 01:38:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  well, I don't know ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Orinoco

        The stuff I make maybe doesn't taste exactly like the commercial product, but it's pretty good in my opinion.

        “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?” - Sherwood Rowland

        by jrooth on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 02:10:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, why is it so expensive? Crazy. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Orinoco
  •  Is yogurt any better for you than milk? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Orinoco

    we men are being told to avoid dairy because it may lead to prostate cancer, something a doctor at Sloan Kettering told me isn't true...he said it's the fat not the milk.

    •  Some of the benefits are the same (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greengemini

      yogurt is high in calcium, so is milk. Yogurt has protein, so does milk. One difference is that yogurt, especially the strained, Greek yogurt, is higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates than the original milk, since some of the carbs are strained out in the whey. Similar to bean sprouts having proportiionally more protein and less carbs than the beans that get sprouted.

      The big difference is in the bacteria in yogurt, that causes the milk to change into yogurt in the first place. These are called 'beneficial' bacteria, and are good for your digestive system when you eat a lot of them. nuclear winter solstice mentions (above) his mother overcoming a lifetime of digestive system problems when she began eating yogurt on a regular basis. These bacteria are also supposed to have a good effect on your immune system, too.

      You can use any kind of milk to make yogurt, so if your doctor recommends cutting down on milk fat, simply use low fat or non fat milk to make your yogurt.

       

      "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

      by Orinoco on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 01:58:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It might be cheaper to get a yogurt maker (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Orinoco

    I picked one up, barely used, at Goodwill for $5. It way more than paid for itself within the first two months.

    Yes, the small jars are a PITA, but only in a minor way. The method you use, while simple, keeps the oven running for many hours, heating that entire mass when all that really needs to be warmed is the yogurt container.

    My set came with a thermometer that has indications for both the target sterilization temperature and also the safe range for adding cultures. Mine makes a quart at a time. Since milk is less expensive by the 1/2 gallon, I generally make two batches at a time. I make the first, empty the jars into a quart tub after they've chilled, then start the second quart.

    I'm fortunate to be local to the Springfield Creamery who make Nancy's Yogurt - completely natural, no preservatives or other additives. I use that as my starter. My only problem has been that over time I start to notice fermentation in a batch and need to start over with fresh starter. I presume this is the result of impurities getting into the mix at some point. I generally have been able to make 3-4 gallons of yogurt before needing to refresh.

    I use the microwave to initially heat the milk in a 1 Qt. Pyrex measuring cup. In our older,  lower powered microwave it takes about 15 minutes on HIGH to achieve the required temperature. It then generally takes 1/2 hour or so for it to come down to the mixing range. I find I like it to let it incubate for 14 hours as opposed to the 10 hours they recommend with the maker. The yogurt ends up a bit thicker and more tart.

    Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

    by kbman on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 04:14:35 PM PDT

    •  That's a good point (0+ / 0-)

      I'm not factoring oven fuel into the cost for the yogurt. I will keep an eye on my gas bill, but I only get that every eight weeks, and it includes hot water, space heating and the stove. While the oven is on, the pilot light flame stays lit, but the main burner only comes on intermitenly, when the temperature drops, and goes off after a couple minutes when the temperature rises.

      I'd guess the burner is only on for 30 to 40 minutes during the time the yogurt is in the oven, and it's on a very low flame when it does come on, since the thermostat dial is set so low.

      On the other hand, I can scale up to making a gallon or two at a time, just by adding more incubating jars. Of course, I'd need more of the small jars, too, for the finished product, and I only have six of them, so I'm limited there to a half gallon at a time.

      My next batch is going to start with half a gallon of milk, and I think I'm going to let it incubate for 10 to 12 hours to see if it gets a bit more tart. My first batch was very mild.  

      "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

      by Orinoco on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 06:15:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for posting the recipe.. My Grandmother (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Orinoco

    used to make homemade Yogurt in the oven all of the time growing up, and that was what I had as "dessert" growing up.  

    Still love it "Plain"!

    "Don't Let Your Mouth Write A Check, That Your Butt Can't Cash."

    by LamontCranston on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 07:16:50 PM PDT

  •  I'm glad I wrote this diary. (0+ / 0-)

    I haven't written one in a while, and I missed the interaction with people who read and comment. Thank you all.

    Today was a good day. : )

    "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

    by Orinoco on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 12:15:32 AM PDT

  •  Greek / turkish yogurt (0+ / 0-)

    In Turkey we used to make 'ezme', which is like the greek yogurt you see now, only strained a bit longer.  It's nice because it will keep in the fridge for a really long time as long as you keep it contained.  So we would buy fresh yogurt at the weekly market, eat some, strain the rest for the rest of the week or month.  You can add water to thin it for sauces and stuff.

    If you don't want to make yogurt in the oven, use an electric heating pad, or one of those pet heating pad frizbee things that you can get at Petco.  I wonder how hot my rice cooker gets on 'warm'.

    For every vengeance there is an equal but opposite revengeance

    by mothnflame on Tue Apr 09, 2013 at 02:01:12 PM PDT

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