Daniel Catalaa

Yogurt

Ingredients

Please note that the yogurt listed among the ingredients must contain live bacterial cultures. The label should say 'contains' live cultures, rather than 'made' with live cultures.

  • Milk, whole organic, 2 quarts
  • Agave, organic raw blue, (or honey), 4 Tbs
  • Yogurt, organic plain whole, 1/2 Lb = 1 cup
    I used the brand name Danone that contais these four active cultures:
    L. acidophilus, L. bulgaricus, S. thermophilus, bifidobacterium lactis

Special equipment

You will need a thermometer that can measure temperatures in the 100 to 130 F range and an electrical heating pad to maintain a steady temperature.

Instructions

  1. Wake up the bacteria: Remove yogurt from fridge and allow it to come up to room temperature
  2. Offset tanginess with sweetner: Place milk into a large pot and mix into it the sweetner (agave or honey)
  3. Bring milk up to temperature: Heat milk up to 120 F, then allow it to cool back down to 115 F.
  4. Inoculate milk: Mix 1 cup of the warm milk into the yogurt in a clean bowl to loosen it up and make it easier to pour. Pour the yogurt+milk slurry back into the pot.
  5. Set incubation temperature: Place the covered pot over a heating pad set to the setting (typically 'low' or 'medium') that will maintain a temperature of 115 F. Consider the use of a programmable digital heating pad.
  6. Monitor fermentation temperature: Monitor the temperature during the next 6 hours to make sure it is at 115 F. There is not a lot of leeway temperature-wise: Temperatures above 120 F kill the needed bacteria, temperatures below 110 F puts the bacteria to sleep and inactivates them.
  7. Stop at the right consistency: When desired consistency is achieved place pot into fridge to stop the bacterial fermentation of the milk into yogurt. Note that the yogurt will firm up a little more once cooled down. The longer the incubation (e.g. 12 hours) the more acidic and firm, while the shorter the incubation (e.g. 3 hours) the less acidic and more runny the yogurt will be.
  8. Set aside innoculum: Set aside 1/2 cup of the yogurt in a separate, clean container. This reserved portion can be used to innoculate the milk of your next batch of yogurt
  9. Date and store: Date the yogurt and store in your refrigerator. It should be good to eat for up to 3 weeks from when you made it. As you serve yourself you will notice a clear liquid accumulate on top of the yogurt. This is whey. Mix it in for a creamier/runnier texture or pour it off to preserve the current texture.