I love making yogurt in my dehydrator… it is so easy, so fresh, and those live and active cultures are oh so good for your gut – seriously people! I get excited just thinking about those healthy cultures chillin in my gut!!! This fall after going through quite a bit of store-bought plain yogurt for breakfast I decided it’s time to create, and eliminate another processed food from Huz’s and my diet. So a quick call to Mom (who makes it occasionally) coupled with a quick “how to” Google search got me started. Now Huz and I are hooked on the good stuff! Again I cannot stress how much better this stuff is for you over the commercial brands. It has so much more flavor, so much less packaging waste, it is gluten free, and the best part of all… (seriously)…(wait for it)… it has TRUE probiotics – 100% gut approved! Let’s get to it…
- 1 or 2 or 3 quarts of Whole Milk – whole is best, the thinner the milk the runnier the yogurt, so don’t go below 2% but really whole is the best.
- 1/4 or 1/2 cup plain yogurt – either from a plain yogurt you buy at the store or reusing from the last batch. (See tips below for using a culture starter pack)
- A dehydrator, yogurt maker, or some way to keep your yogurt at a constant temp of about 110-115 degrees for 6-12 hours. For this blog I will be using my dehydrator.
- A thermometer, I just use my candy thermometer, but any quick read one should do the trick.
Measure out the amount of milk you want to make into yogurt dump into a large sauce pan and turn on the heat to low/medium-low, I usually make 2 or 3 quarts worth. The time I made this batch Huz was home for Thanksgiving break so I made a 3 quart batch. Picture below.
While this is slowly coming up to 185 degrees and you are stirring occasionally, I wash and sanitize my jars. Due to our love of beer brewing we have Star-San in the house, an acid based sanitizer that I spray my jars with. If you do not have this, just make sure you give your jars a good wash and rinse well in hot water (that is all my Mom ever did). Then turn them over to dry until ready to use. Here is a picture of my station all set up.
Over the low heat, bring the temperature of the milk up to 185 degrees. You will start to see the milk get a bit foamy as it reaches this point. Once it reaches 185 (or right around there) remove from heat and cool back down to 115 degrees. If you want to move the process along an ice bath works nicely. See my ice bath below, just be-careful not to get any water in there. You are working with bacteria and you do not want to introduce other bacteria friends to your yogurt makin’ party.
Once the temperature is down to 115, remove from ice bath. Add your starter, the plain yogurt you saved from your last batch or you got from the store. See below a picture of my starter about to go in, then I gently whisk it around. No need to beat it to death, just introduce those yummy live cultures and they will do the rest while cooking.
Once the starter is gently mixed into your milk, pour into jars.
Once you have filled your jars, place them in your dehydrator, yogurt maker, cooler, or however you intent to keep them warm. Keep them at about 115 degrees for 6-12 hours. I usually cook them about 10 hours. The longer they cook, the tangier the yogurt, this also depends on the strain of bacteria you use and how many times you have used it. See below for a few shots of the dehydrator cooking away. Side note: I keep a thermometer in mine as my dehydrator tends to run a bit hot.
10 hours later – DONE! You can do this over night, or start it in the morning and cook all day. It is easy, and oh so good for you!
- This will keep an easy 2 or 3 weeks in your fridge, maybe even longer, it usually does not last that long here.
- Delicious mixed honey, or homemade jam ( strawberry, peach, cherry, elderberry, peach/raspberry or any other kind you have in your freezer we have tried them all).
- Even goes great with cranberry sauce.
- Remember those frozen blueberries we froze earlier this year, toss those in with a bowl. It is delicious, or use canned peaches, or fresh fruit. YUM
- For the extra crunch add some homemade granola (my next post)!
Other Tips/Notes/Nutritional Facts:
- Only reuse a batch about 3 or 4 times, then refresh with a fresh strand of starter either from a plain yogurt from the store or from a culture packet from a home-brew supply store…
- Below is one culture we have been using from Siciliano’s, it has more bacteria cultures in it than the commercial brands, thus better for your gut!
- SWEET CULTURE INCLUDES: Lactose, Dry milk powder, (ST) Streptococcus thermophilus, (LB) Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus, (LA) Lactobacillus acidophilus, (LBL) Lactobacillus lactis, Bifidobacterium lactis, autolyzed yeast
- Lastly here are the nutritional facts using whole milk (thanks to my sister in law for this ability now on my blog)! This is estimated off of 1 cup of yogurt – thus 1 quart would serve 4 people. I just wish this would show all those live active cultures, they are so good for you!
Please let me know if you have any comments or questions! Enjoy ~ Megan