Homemade Yogurt - The Persian Method, Greek-Style, Thick Yogurt Without a Yogurt Maker. Velvety thick, as tart (or not) as you like it. Get the full recipe & extra notes at http://www.cookingcompaniontv.com/yogurt
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To get started, you’ll need the best quality milk you can find: organic, non-homogenized whole fat milk. And you’ll need a probiotic starter. You can buy the bacteria or you can use a few tablespoons of store-bought plain yogurt. Make sure it has no added sugar and only live cultures - they have to be alive to work. You can use regular yogurt, but Greek yogurt gives a more tart result.
Start by slowly heating the milk on the stovetop. Use a low medium heat, so set your dial to medium, then a touch lower. As it heats, you’ll notice slight movement in the milk and then a skin forming on top. Leave it there. Basically don’t touch it for 45 minutes. It should take about 45 minutes for the milk to reach the point we’re going for. Some recipes will say to reach 180 degrees, but I just wait for the milk to nearly bubble over the edge of the pot. The slower the milk reaches this point, the more velvety your yogurt.
Then turn off the heat and start pulling back the skin to release the heat as it cools.
About this time, I’ll also turn on my stove to its lowest heat setting which is 170 degrees.
We’re going to let the milk cool until the tip of your pinky finger can stay in the milk for 3 seconds without burning. Other recipes will say the milk should cool to about 105-115 degrees.
Now it’s time to mix in the probiotic or the yogurt starter.
For half a gallon of milk, 4-5 tablespoons of yogurt work for me. I usually save some yogurt from my previous batch and freeze it. It should be good for a couple months like that. Stir in a little hot milk into a separate bowl with the yogurt. Then pour the little mixture into the rest of the milk.
Transfer everything to a bowl or storage container that holds heat well. We want to create an environment that holds a low level of heat for the bacteria to feed and grow but we don’t want to cook the milk anymore because that will pretty much kill the bacteria.
So use a ceramic or even glass bowl, I use my enamel-coated aluminum stock pot for this part. And find a warm place in your home or just use a warm oven. The ultra traditional way of making the yogurt is to coddle your container with a blanket - so literally covering the container and then wrapping it with a blanket, leaving it in a warm spot in the house, like in front of a heater, for 8-10 hours. Or, use a warm stove and leave the light on. Turn off the oven when you put in the yogurt.
Your yogurt should get as much sleep as you do, so 8-10 hours.
Now pull it out of the oven. It should smell like yogurt and the yogurt should pull away from the side of your bowl.
I scoop off the cream layer on top because it's very lumpy, but you don't have to.
Now move it to the fridge to stop the bacteria from growing but to continue setting the yogurt. After 12 hours or so, you can strain it to make thick yogurt, what we know as Greek yogurt.
To strain, set a colander over a bowl, and line it with a double layer of cheesecloth. Pour in the yogurt and let the liquid whey drip out overnight. Set a plate on top of the yogurt while it drips overnight or 10-12 hours.
Keep the liquid whey. It's is the original probiotic drink - zero calories with tons of protein and calcium. They call it “nature’s gatorade.”
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