Making Homemade Yogurt

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How to make Homemade Yogurt. It's easy and doesn't take any special equipment to make delicious healthy yogurt at home. Here's how.
Equipment needed:

  • 8 - 8 ounces jelly jars with lids (these usually come in a box of a dozen - save the divider tray)
  • Double boiler & large pot it will fit in (I use a universal double boiler that is wide at the top and round and smaller at the bottom with a handle that hooks over the edge of the pot.)
  • Another pot the double boiler will fit in (for the quick chill stage)
  • Accurate candy thermometer (Wilton makes a good one)
  • Incubator -- This is where you might have to improvise. I use my electric turkey-roaster which is a bonus that I have found a use for it other than once a year. But for those who don't have one of these marvelous appliances, a large Styrofoam cooler and a heating pad will do the same thing.
  • Small saucepan
  • Measuring cup
  • tablespoon
  • Whisk

yogurt, making homemade yogurtIngredients to make 8 one-cup jars:

  • 1 quart half & half (32 ounces)
  • 1 pint heavy cream (16 ounces)
  • 1 cup vanilla sugarfree syrup (8 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
  • 3 tablespoons unflavored, unsweetened whey protein isolate*
  • 2 heaping tablespoons unsweetened plain yogurt with live active cultures (I use Dannon)

* The whey protein isolate is available at Walmart in different flavors, although I buy mine at a health food store because I prefer the unsweetened, unflavored variety.

Step 1
Before you begin, sterilize your jars and lids the first time you use them by washing them in hot soapy water, and let them sit in a big pot of boiling water for five minutes. Use tongs to remove jars from the hot water and dry thoroughly. Afterwards wash in a standard home dishwasher that has a heat/dry function -- then replacing the lids should be enough to keep them sterile if you clean immediately after use. But to be safe or when in question, re-sterilize each time.

Assemble all your utensils (make sure they are clean as well) and ingredients and make sure you have a nice, quiet place for your incubator away from drafts or air vents.

One of the most important things to remember is that the yogurt cultures are a bit nervous and do not like to be disturbed while they are incubating. If your bacilli are moved or jostled they might stop working before the process is complete. Figure out where you are going to put your incubator and plug in the heating pad or roaster.

yogurt, amking homemade yogurtIMPORTANT:
the temperature should not exceed 100 degrees F; higher than this might kill the bacilli. Heating pads often have safety shut-off functions and this is okay as long as it is in a container that will hold the heat after it shuts down.

Place your open jars, lids ready to use, convenient to the range top so that you can work efficiently. If you have the divider box tray the jars were packaged in, have it ready to put the filled jars in.

Step 2
Start heating the water in your large pot.

While this is underway, mix the Whey Protein Isolate in 2 cups of the half & half. In order to avoid little un-dissolved clumps, the best way to accomplish this is to use a blender. Also using the blender adds volume to the half & half (more about that later.)

Step 3
Sprinkle the gelatin over the Sugarfree Syrup in a small saucepan. Let stand for five minutes then heat until the gelatin is dissolved. Set aside.

Step 4
Pour the remaining 2 cups of half & half, the blended half & half/whey, and the pint of cream into the double boiler and set it over the boiling water. Put thermometer in place and keep a watch on the mixture and the temperature. Once it reaches 120°F you can whisk in the heated gelatin/syrup.

Step 5
Heat the mixture to 180°F. Remove from heat and place the double boiler in another pot that is half filled with ice -water. Chill the mixture to 110°F. Quickly but gently whisk in the yogurt. Note: if your double boiler doesn't have a notch for pouring on the top edge, you can transfer the hot mixture to another container that fits in the pot of ice water. You will need to be able to easily pour the mixture into the jars once it is chilled.

Step 6
Quickly fill the jars and replace the lids. If you have the divider tray the jars came in, you can place them in the tray and then the tray in the incubator.

Step 7
Give the bacilli eight - ten hours to work, remove the jars from the incubator, then chill and store in the refrigerator. I have been told they will be good for upwards to a month if kept refrigerated but frankly, I've not been able to test this. They disappear too fast.

Additional Notes:

  • The purpose for the Whey Protein is to add back in the protein that is removed by using heavy cream instead of skim milk.
  • The purpose for the gelatin is to add additional protein and firmness.
  • If you have done the math you will see that the ingredients do not add up to eight cups. This is something of a mystery because I always end up with eight cups of yogurt from this recipe. I suspect blending the first two cups of half & half with the whey apparently adds air, thus volume. Trust me, I'm not complaining.
  • You do not have to use the Sugarfree Syrup but it is a great, subtle addition and it is the best means for adding in the gelatin. If you wish to omit it, soften the gelatin over a cup of the half & half, heat it just until the gelatin is dissolved and add it to the remaining mixture at the 120° stage. Leaving out the syrup will decrease the volume yielding only seven cups and thus increasing the carbs.
  • If you think the carb count is high per serving, remember this: the serving size is a FULL eight ounces. Commercially made yogurt comes in four-six ounce servings.
Total Carbs = 49.26 (worst case scenario)
Per 1 cup (8 ounces serving) = 6.158 carbs/ 4.88 gm protein

For Low Carb Recipes Using Meema's Homemade Whole Yogurt, see recipe links below

Servings Suggestions:
Yogurt with Strawberries, Maple Walnut Yogurt


April S. Fields is the author of 101 Low-Carb & Sugarfree Dessert Recipes (2002,Authorhouse)

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