Homemade Yogurt

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05 Feb Homemade Yogurt

DSC09816.JPGMy supermarket infuriates me. I’d just recently given them a brownie point for finally stocking locally grown garlic instead of the ubiquitous, dried out, flavourless bulbs from China.

And now I’m taking it right back again for never having my favourite plain organic yogurt in stock.

Trip after trip, I encounter shelf upon refrigerated shelf of every yogurt imaginable: Mediterranean, zero fat, French vanilla, fruit bottom, Swiss style and — a great big gap where my product of choice should be.

So, I took control of the situation and bought myself a yogurt maker. If I run out of yogurt, I’ll have no one to blame but me, which means the chances are about 50-50 I’ll be hopping mad over fermented dairy by month’s end. But that beats the 80-20 odds at Zehrs.

Man, homemade granola AND homemade organic yogurt? What’s next, a macramé headband and chickens in the backyard?

Fortunately, Omega-3 eggs are readily available. The neighbours and the fashion-sensitive are safe for a while longer.

Now before you go out and buy a maker to thwart the local grocery store, there are a few things you should know. First, ignore the pretty picture on the box with the rainbow of fruit yogurts sitting in the maker. You have to make plain yogurt first. Fruit yogurts require a second step. And that’s too much for me, so I just dump plain yogurt on fresh berries (or at this time of year, frozen berries) and build breakfast from there.

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Second, yogurt maker prices vary widely. I looked at high-end makers with plastic jars that cost $85, mid-range versions whose plastic jars come in varying sizes, but ended up buying a $32 Deni that makes 6 perfectly-sized portions in glass jars. I went for glass because heating plastic, even food grade, makes me nervous. The fact this model cost the least is a bonus.

Third, you need to factor in about 24 hours between making your yogurt and eating it. It has to incubate for 10 to 12 hours and then chill. The instruction booklet says to chill 3 to 4 hours, but overnight is best.

Have I scared you off? Come back! Despite the day delay, homemade yogurt takes only about 10 minutes of your time. And, if you follow a few guidelines, the results are just as good, if not better, than store bought. Without any additives.

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Ah, but what are those guidelines? Food writer, Stephanie Stiavetti, recently posted a very thorough homemade yogurt how-to on her blog, Wasabimon. In fact, when my first batch was runny (and I followed the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter), her post provided me with the temperature control tips that made the batch pictured here turn out so well.

Great. Now I’m hungry.

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Before I go, am I the only one who gets so ticked off at the grocery store they took matters into their own hands? Is there a product you love that you can’t get? If so, what did you do about it?

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No Comments
  • Stephanie
    Posted at 15:45h, 05 February Reply

    Yay! I love making yogurt, and I’m so glad that you’re doing it too. We will take back our food culture, dammit. 😉

  • Roving Lemon
    Posted at 16:18h, 05 February Reply

    Hiya! I’ve been lurking on your blog for a while (from 5 second rule) but can’t remember if I’ve commented before….Nice post! I’ve learned to make a lot of things myself over the last few years because of lame supermarket selections, but the granddaddy of my DIY efforts was salsa. When I was living in the UK, the salsas available at my local Sainsbury’s were overpriced AND nasty–what a combo! Thus I learned how delicious (and easy) homemade salsa could be.

  • cheryl
    Posted at 16:46h, 05 February Reply

    Ah, Roving Lemon came over! Lucky you, she’s great.

    Colin and I regularly made our own yogurt when we lived in Africa, and we didn’t have any special machines. Just stirred a bit of old yogurt (as a starter, I guess) into warmish milk and let it sit overnight. At least, I think that’s all we did. It was so good that we’d regularly say, “This is so easy, so tasty, and so cheap, we’re going to make our own yogurt for the rest of our lives!”

    That was almost 11 years ago, and we haven’t made it again since.

    Brava to you. Your yogurt looks great. Take THAT, Zehrs!

  • Christie's Corner
    Posted at 17:10h, 05 February Reply

    Stephanie, thanks for the vote of support, but I might have to draw the line at homemade phyllo pastry :-)

    Roving Lemon, great name! Thanks for coming out of hiding. I see you have great taste in blogs, coming from 5 Second Rule. I haven’t made my own salsa in years. Hmm…I might have to amend that situation.

    Cheryl, you’re right. You don’t need a yogurt maker if you live in a warm climate, but winter in Canada? The milk is more likely to be frozen than fermented. There’s a method where you incubate the milk overnight in your stove, but mine is so poorly insulated I won’t try it.

  • Dana McCauley
    Posted at 18:47h, 05 February Reply

    You are very funny! Good luck becoming a more cultured woman!

  • Carolyn Erickson
    Posted at 01:30h, 06 February Reply

    Ah, homemade yogurt! Mmm, homemade granola. And OH BOY, homemade raw salsa!

    I make all of those, but not because my supermarket doesn’t have good choices. (In fact, they do.)But I feel so pioneering when I make my own, to purchase them feels like defeat.

    I haven’t invested in a yogurt-maker yet, though. I use a 1 qt. glass jar and heat the milk to precise temperatures, stir in the room temperature starter, put a lid on it and tuck it away in a plastic beverage cooler (or should I call it a warmer)for several hours.

    Can’t wait for summer.

  • Hillary
    Posted at 11:24h, 06 February Reply

    Nice idea to make it yourself – looks very good! Love the add ins of berry and granola as well.

  • Christie's Corner
    Posted at 19:33h, 06 February Reply

    Dana, I’m surprised I didn’t come up with that pun myself. Well played.

    Carolyn, I love that you make your yogurt in a cool chest. And raw salsa? Let me know if you share the recipe on your blog (hint, hint).

    Hillary, thanks for posting a comment. Yogurt, berries and granola are “The Holy Trinity” of my morning breakfast.

  • Janine
    Posted at 21:07h, 06 February Reply

    This is about the 5th post I’ve read about making your own yogurt. It looks really good! I want to try this for myself but since I’m not sure how often I’ll make it [depends on how many times I end up dumping my mistake and trying again :)] I don’t want to purchase a yogurt maker. Could someone please explain EXACTLY what I need to do to make it in my oven? I live in Florida and don’t have a problem with horribly low temperatures very often! I can’t wait to try this!!

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 21:29h, 06 February Reply

    Zehrs has stopped selling our favourite frozen “no name” fruit( even though they are currently promoting all their no name products!)The large bag of frozen blueberries , blackberries and raspberies were enjoyed every day by myself and husband -at a reasonable cost of 12.99. Now they have introduced “President’s Choice” that includes a large portion of stawberries ( yech) Costco does sell the “old” fruit but has raised the price to almost $16.00 per bag-up from 9.99! Sobey’s sells a similar product -but like Zehrs and the yougurt-they never have it in stock!

  • Christie's Corner
    Posted at 22:36h, 06 February Reply

    Anonymous, I feel your pain. I’m not sure where you live, but I buy my frozen fruit from MacMillans. I buy the raspberries and wild blueberries separately (2 kg bags of each) and mix them together myself. They’re reasonably priced and very good. And yes, it’s worth the drive to just outside Acton. (Local joke, but true.)

    Janine, I have only ever made yogurt in an electric, temperature controlled yogurt maker. However, as some readers suggested, other methods work quite successfully. The link below describes several methods, including an oven version. Since you live in Florida, the sun might be all you need.

    http://homecooking.about.com/od/dairyrecipes/r/bldairy9.htm

    If you try homemade yogurt, I’d love to hear how it works out. Cheryl had success in a warm climate without a yogurt maker, so maybe you will too!

  • chuck
    Posted at 01:16h, 07 February Reply

    I’m ashamed to admit I have never made yogurt in my life. It’s on my 101 food things to do before I die list. I guess that doesn’t count hey!

    Love the photos, just beautiful!

  • katie
    Posted at 14:23h, 07 February Reply

    I am so jealous!! I have had so many fights with my (multiple) grocery stores the last few weeks because they haven’t had my yogurt. Chnage is hard-yogurt is very personal apparently.

  • Christie's Corner
    Posted at 15:52h, 07 February Reply

    Chuck, making yogurt is easy. I’m curious about your other 100 items. And thanks for the compliments on the photos. I popped by your blog, The Knead for Bread, and given the caliber of your photography, that’s high praise!

    Katie, I’m so glad I’m not the only one who gets all het up about something like yogurt. If you decide to make your own, let me know how it goes!

  • Kris Bordessa
    Posted at 11:55h, 09 February Reply

    With chickens in my backyard, I daresay I’m worried that macramé is next! I make my yogurt without a yogurt maker, but have wondered if I’d be better about doing it regularly if I had a maker. Hm.

  • About the book
    Posted at 13:04h, 09 February Reply

    I just made my first batch yesterday so this post is very timely!! I used raw milk and I set the jars in the oven, wrapped with towels and rubber banded together. It worked! It’s perfect. And among my new year’s resolutions is to make our family’s yogurt, we eat a lot of it. I’ve been making the granola for almost a year now. But there’s no macrame in my future!!

  • Christie's Corner
    Posted at 17:56h, 09 February Reply

    Kris, I find the convenience and control of a yogurt maker handy, but running out of yogurt is also a good incentive. :-)

    About the Book, wonderful to hear the oven method worked!

  • Chez US
    Posted at 11:50h, 13 February Reply

    We love making homemade yogurt & it is so much easier then everyone thinks. As well you can become so creative with the flavorings.

    We even created a how to video to show everyone, just how easy it is!

  • Homemade-Yogurt
    Posted at 09:58h, 27 February Reply

    Welcome to the ranks homemade yogurt makers! I have been making it for years, without any special equipment (except the thermometer), and maintain a website dedicated to homemade yogurt that you and your readers might like:

    http://www.makeyourownyogurt.com/

    Practically every day, I hear from a new user that has “discovered” homemade yogurt, and will never again have store-bought. So not only are they getting a healthier experience, they will produce no more non-recyclable yogurt containers!

  • Christie's Corner
    Posted at 10:23h, 27 February Reply

    Homemade-Yogurt, fascinating site! And you make a very valid point about not creating any more plastic containers. If my yogurt maker dies, I’ll give your heating pad method a try.

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