Sure, it's easy to go to the nearest supermarket and throw a cup of yogurt into your shopping cart, but have you ever been delighted to cook yogurt on your own? Yogurt made with good bacteria boosts your digestion, improves the immune system and prevents allergic reactions. Let’s learn how to cook natural yogurt in your kitchen right away!
- milk : 950 ml (if you use ultra-high pasteurized milk, then you can skip step one, as it has already been heated to the required temperature before the pack was sealed)
- dry milk : 0.5 cup (optional)
- sugar : 1 Tbsp
- salt : 1 pinch
- yogurt : 2 Tbsp (the one with live cultures or you can use freeze-dried bacteria instead)
Stages of cooking
Heat the milk to 85ºC (185ºF). Stir the milk all the time, while it is heating to prevent it from burning. If you do not have a thermometer, 85ºC (185ºF) is the temperature, at which milk starts frothing. If you plan to cook yogurt on a regular basis, it is highly recommended that you get a thermometer in the range of 100 - 212ºF.
Cool the milk to 43ºC (110ºF). The best way to do this is with a cold water bath. This will quickly lower the temperature, and does not require frequent stirring. If cooling at room temperature, or in the fridge, you must stir it more frequently. Don't proceed cooking yogurt until the milk is below 49ºC (120ºF), and don't allow it to go below 32ºC (90ºF). The optimal variant is 43ºC (110ºF).
Take the yogurt or the starter (this is the bacteria you add to the milk to cook your own yogurt) and warm it at room temperature. When buying the starter, make sure it contains active cultures. This is specified on the label. Plus, make sure the starter is fresh and does not contain any flavors or additives. Add nonfat, reduced fat, or whole dehydrated milk, if you wish. Adding about 0.5 cup of dry milk will increase the nutritional content of the yogurt. The yogurt will also be denser. This is important when you use nonfat milk.
Add 2 tablespoons of the starter or yogurt to the milk and stir or whisk the mass in a blender. This is needed to evenly distribute the bacteria throughout the milk.
Pour the mixture you have got into plastic or glass food containers. Pour water into the pot of your slow cooker (around ¼ of it) and put the containers into the water. Set the required regime (this should be specified in the user manual of your slow cooker) and keep cooking until you hear the signal. It may take up to 7-8 hours for your yogurt to incubate depending upon the type, model and power of your slow cooker. The longer you cook the yogurt, the denser it will be.
Remove the containers from the slow cooker, check the condition and consistency of the yogurt you have cooked, let it cool down and put the containers into the fridge, where you can store them for up to 2 weeks. Add berries, jam or other additives before tasting the readymade home yogurt and enjoy this healthy dessert!