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I have a new love, yogurt! At last I can make awesome yogurt and it is easy.
I have made some concessions to raw milk, I have found that those who say the milk must be heated beyond pasteurization have the truth of it. I struggled trying to get decent texture without going over 115 degrees and failed. Now I can't get enough of it, I use it in so many things as well as eat it.
I am fortunate enough to have a 1932 OKeefe and Merritt gas stove which has pilot lights. This makes the off temperature of my oven 112 degrees, perfect for incubating. I have a SS 1 gallon stock pot that I heat my milk to 186 degrees. Then I pull it off the fire and let it cool to 115 - 110 degrees. Then I add 1/4 tsp. of culture and 3/4 cup sugar, stirring well before setting it covered into my oven for 12 hours.
If I want Greek style I strain it for a few hours in muslin before refrigerating.
Everyone loves it, even my DH who isn't a yogurt fan. My youngest makes special trips home to pick up quarts so he can make smoothies all week.
I make mine with a tablespoon of FAGE yougrt and a tablespoon of plain Dannon mixed together before adding to the cooled milk. It then goes into half pint canning jars and to the bottom of my Excalibur dehydrator set to ~ 110-115ºF.
I'd seriously be willing to maim someone for a decent gas stove!
I only heat my milk to 115 before adding the starter. I just use a couple TBSP of Dannon plain yogurt. I incubate it in an ice chest with jars of hot water. I have a gas stove but no gas hookup. I keep it in storage in case we move to a place with a gas line. I can always dream.
I add sugar because one of the articles I read in a homesteading magazine suggested that it would help feed the bacteria increasing their numbers and making a thicker yogurt. I find it seems the same thickness with 1/2 cup per gallon. Yes it makes it a tiny bit sweet but not nearly so much as commercial yogurts. And I find I prefer it to one that has no sweetener at all.
I never got as good results with using commercial yogurts as starter as I do with the dehydrated culture.
Several articles state that heating the milk that high helps reform the molecules so that they will clump. Not a scientific explanation but I am on my IPad and don't have the articles in front of me ah here it is:
At that temp, the whey proteins will denature and coagulate to enhance the viscosity and texture.
Caj, we are on propane, we have a big tank now but when we first moved to the farm we used smaller bottles. We did have the stove reworked for propane, I have no idea what that involved, when we had bought the stove it needed some TLC and we had a professional handle everything.
I have not used any of my yogurt to inoculate the next batch. It would work like any other, maybe better since there isn't any of the extra stuff in it. For .20 I get 4 quarts of Greek yogurt. I am trying to get everything right because we are working on getting our license to make the goats pay their way.
I have ordered from several different sites but I will say that Dairy Connection is by far the most personable and helpful one I have ever used. They have my loyalty. I know once I spent over 30 minutes asking questions over the phone and they were patient, gave suggestions, and even called me back telling me that the culture (for Swiss) was close to the expiration date, was I sure I wanted it. When I said yes, they gave me a discount. Not that anyone else was rude but being in a customer service field myself, I appreciate and reward that extra little bit. It is a dying art.
I keep my cultures in the freezer, their suggestion, and haven't had any problems, BTW.
I use New England Cheesemaking Supply for my dehydrated cultures. I can use the yogurt to make the next batch 3 or 4 times with good results. It has been so hot here that I just put my 1 qt covered glass loaf pans in a ice chest with extra padding around them and in 8 hours I have more yogurt. I do add 1/2 cup powdered milk to each 1/2 gallon of milk to thicken the yogurt up. I found glass loaf pans at the grocery that had two tops - one is glass with a silicone ring around it where it touches the bottom pan and then there is a plastic, snap on cover that I use in the fridge. Each pan holds a quart of milk and work perfectly for me - the best part - they rang up at a higher price than the shelf tag, so I got one for free!
So funny I should happen upon this thread again, as I just made yogurt for the first time in a long time! I'd gotten 4 gallons of raw cow milk a couple of weekends ago. I drank most of one and used one and the leftovers of the other to make my yogurt. I also add dry milk powder but I found whole milk powder on Amazon, so use that. I use Y5 cultures from New England Cheesemaking Supply and I just LOVE it! It's a much sweeter yogurt and makes wonderful yogurt cheese. I put my inoculated milk in canning jars and put them in my canning pot, fill with warm water up to the threads of the jars and use a temperature controller to keep the water around 110-112. This time I also used a small fountain pump to keep the water circulating. I didn't find that step made any difference though.
With the other 2 gallons, I tried Queso Fresco cheese for the first time. I don't think it came out like it was supposed to! It has a sour bite to it. I think my mesophilic cultures are several years old. I also keep all my cultures in the freezer. Anyway, we ate some of the cheese and I'm praying we don't get sick! Anyone have experience making this cheese?
Glad you started us up again, Joy! I'll bring some of my yogurts (I have 2 other cultures too) to the roundup and you have some of yours and we can do taste tests :)
Haven't made queso fresco in a while, although my chèvre can be a lot like it. It is supposed to be a bit tart or sour rather than rich or buttery. I was planning on having some of my hard cheeses at the RU. I only have a couple young Swisses and Jacks and Cheddars.
Yogurt cheese is made from a yogurt base. It is one cheese that I haven't tried yet because I like my yogurt too much but i don't like the idea of putting powdered milk in my fresh yogurt, that is why I am glad I found a way to make it without it.
Yeah, the powdered milk is optional. And yogurt cheese is just drained yogurt but you drain it longer than Greek, like 24 hours. It's very thick, spreadable and you can eat as is or mix with savory or sweet things. My hubby made me a special large drainer from some stainless steel sheeting I bought from some company in California--about the same as a permanent coffee filter. Here's a pic!
I am trying a recipe for Custardy Yocheesecake today. I didn't have quite enough yochee so added one pack of neufchatel. It's baked in a springform pan. I also made it sugar free so instead of using the honey called for, I substituted a mix of sugar free almond and raspberry syrups (Monin), a dropperful of vanilla stevia, and about 12 drops of liquid sucralose (I know, evil sweetener for some... :) I'll let ya know how it comes out!
I use my chèvre when I make my cheesecakes. I find that when I split it 50/50 with cream cheese the cheesecake is much denser than with just chèvre. The answer for me comes from the obvious differences in amount it takes to make the weight. My chèvre, even my wet versions, is lighter. Eggs play a part as well, cheesecake is really a custard so eggs play an important part I holding the structure together while maintaining the creaminess.
I have lost count of the recipes for cheesecakes I have, but the funny part is that they are tremendously different yet all produce a good result.
I have a batch of yogurt incubating in my electric roaster. I've never done it that way before. I usually put it in an ice chest with jars of hot water. I hope this works. I fiddled with it until I figured out where 100 degrees is on the dial and marked it. I am a bit worried because the milk was "blinky". That's a local term for starting to turn. If it doesn't make into yogurt, I'll reheat it and try making cheese from it. If it does make yogurt, then I'll strain some into yogurt cheese.
Hey, that fresh cheese I made with the meso buggies, queso fresco, is really good now! Maybe it just needed to sit in the frig awhile. I'm really glad it's good because I have tons of packs of meso. If anyone needs any, D-mail me with how many packs and your address. Hopefully, they'll survive mailing.