Thursday, April 8, 2010
Making Vanilla Yogurt
I've been making yogurt on and off for some years now. I would like to say I'm a pro at it, but I keep learning something new. So what's new now? I finally made a premixed flavored yogurt using a start other than plain yogurt. Now, normally I use plain yogurt as my start (with active cultures, of course) because that is what the recipe says to use. The grocery store that I currently shop at only carries plain yogurt in a large container. That sort of bugged me since all I really need is about 1/2 cup for a start. So, I got to thinking, why can't I get a small container of the flavored stuff and use it as a start?
Not only do most yogurt recipes say to use plain yogurt for a start, they also say to flavor the yogurt after it has incubated and then been refrigerated. Well, I really wanted to try to make a premixed yogurt just like you can get at the store. And, in short, I found that it can be done! My picture above is proof. It's vanilla yogurt with chopped strawberries.
First, I tried making vanilla yogurt with a vanilla yogurt start. It worked wonderfully. Then I got adventurous and used the vanilla start to make blueberry yogurt (using 1/4 cup crushed blueberries) and that turned out lovely! So, now I'm going crazy with yogurt experiments. There are plenty of yogurt lovers in the house, so this works for us.
Vanilla yogurt recipe:
3.5 cups milk (skim, 1%, 2% or whole)
1/3 cups powdered milk
1/4 cup sugar or other sweetener
1-2 teaspoons vanilla (depends on how much flavor you like)
1/2 cup yogurt (plain or any flavor, just has to have active cultures)
Combine milk, powdered milk, and sugar in a microwave safe container. Stir. Microwave on high for 7-9 minutes (depends on the microwave) until mixture is about 185 degrees (Fahrenheit). This doesn't have to be exact, but just has to be below 212 degrees (boiling point). Stir the mixture once half-way through heating. **It's pretty important when heating milk to stir it and make sure you don't let it get too hot. Once I took my hot milk out of the microwave after microwaving it a bit too long and put a spoon in it and the hot milk blew up at me and burned my hand. So please be careful!** Let mixture cool to 100-110 degrees. This takes about 15 minutes when I put it in a sink of cold water. I set the timer... if you let it get too cool, just stick in the microwave to get the temperature back up in the right place. In your yogurt container, stir in vanilla flavoring and yogurt start. Add a bit of warm milk, whisk away lumps and add the rest of the milk. Whisk until smooth. It's important make sure the yogurt is blended fully, no lumps. Now it's time to incubate. I have a Salton yogurt maker that I use. You can also use an oven at 100 degrees. There are other incubation methods too.