Okay you guys, let's live for ever. How to make yogurt
So, I have recently learned that there are a crazy amount of people over 100 years of age who live in Bulgaria. Many Bulgarians attribute this to the fact that they eat lots of yogurt. So, in my never ending journey to LIVE FOREVER AT ALL COSTS, I have learned to make yogurt. So if you want to live forever and love good yogurt, this is for you.
- •Gather your nick nacksYou do need a one piece of specialized equipment for this. Yogurt incubators are only good for one thing, but they do that job really well so I recommend getting one if you get serious about yogurt making. I got mine off craigslist for $12 still in its new packaging. You will also need a whisk, measuring cup, some PLAIN yogurt with live cultures, a pot and some milk. I like 2% because it makes a nice rich and creamy yogurt, but you can use any kind of milk.
- •Measure out your milkFor five cups of milk, you will need about 1/2 cup of plain yogurt culture, so have that ready on the side. Yogurt makers vary in size. Mine has a 6 cup capacity, but since yogurt can expand during incubation, you don't want to fill it the whole way.
- •Warm it up to 160You need to warm the milk to 160 degrees with out burning the milk. You don't want to turn the heat above like 3 out of 10 and stir regularly. This will help keep the milk from burning on the bottom of the pot. When it reaches 160, take it of the heat and let it cool.
- •Do choresWhile it cools, maybe fold laundry or clean the apartment a little. This dude won't help though.
- •Is it 110?When it hits 110 degrees, it is time to get serious. It is time to culture the yogurt. Also, this is the temperature the incubator will keep the yogurt. Some of the bacteria in yogurt are thermophilic, which means they need to be warm to work.
- •Pour in the previous yogurtAdd in the last of the previous yogurt batch or a scoop of some store bought stuff. At least 1/2 cup. I am using a reculturable "heirloom" Bulgarian yogurt culture that I bought from "cultures for health." Make sure you stir it in very well. I recommend whisking for like at least a minute. Also, if you are going to reculture your yogurt, be sure you are using a reculturable strain. Store bought yogurt will die after a few batches. The culture I bought can be recultured indefinitely.
- •Yogurt bed timeTime to tuck your yogurt into it's little incubator and put it to bed. I then like to read my yogurt some Doctor Seuss or maybe "Where The Wild Things Are" before I go to sleep. Ohh I didn't mention that I did this at night? My bad. You need to incubate this yogurt for like 8-10 hours, so I start it at night so it is ready in the morning. Some incubators have timers on them, like the Dash Greek Yogurt Maker I have, but many others don't have timers and it's on you turn it off after 8-10 hours.
- •ITS ALIVE!!!!The many bacterial cultures have done there job. Yogurt has been created. The bubbly foam is from all the stirring and it totally normal. I actually have a coworker who makes her yogurt extra foamy because it is actually quite tasty. You can see the milk solids have separated from the whey, which looks like yellowish water. At this point, you can stir it all together if you like a thinner yogurt and you are done, but if you want thick Greek style yogurt, it is time to strain this thang.
- •Easy. EASY DOES IT!!!Carefully spoon the yogurt from the incubator into a yogurt strainer. My maker came with a great one, but you can also buy yogurt strainers separately. The whey will drain and the yogurt will be left in the strainer. I usually like to keep my whey to use as a starter for vegetable fermentation. You will probably be able to pour a lot of whey out of the strainer right away, but the longer the strain, the thicker the yogurt. Experiment. You can leave it in your fridge or on the counter.
- •TOO MUCH!!!!Whoa!!!! It is super thick. At this point it is basically Lebne, or yogurt cheese. That can be a dice spreadable treat on a bagel or an interesting addition to a cheese plate if you mix in fresh herbs or some confit Garlic. I will do a list on that soon, btw. If the yogurt has drained too much, FEAR NOT intrepid li.st peeps. Just add some whey back to it and mix it. Add a little more whey at a time till it is the way you like it.
- •The elixir of LIFE!!!Yogurt has tons of health benefits. It's high in protein and probiotics for a start, which help build muscle and helps bolster the immune system. So while it won't make you an immortal, it does make a great addition to a healthy diet.