Ok ok cats have nothing to do with yogurt, but I needed more in here than just my blathering. Besides, you guys did ask for more cat pictures, remember? I’m just giving you what you want.
You also asked for more Kitchen Challenges. Despite the fact that I sometimes feel like I’m completely alone in challenging myself, I’ve gotten so many positive comments about them in our reader survey, so I figured after a 2 month break it was time to do another. So what if Kitchen Challenges have officially become seasonal. Does that make me a slacker? I went from monthly, to biomonthly, and now quarterly.
It seems most of our past challenges fall into one of 3 categories:
This time we’re diving into the later, and making our own homemade yogurt, which seems to fall somewhere between ricotta and mozzarella in terms of easiness.
All the recipes I found are *basically* the same. Take milk, heat it to a specific temperature. Add a bit of yogurt. Let sit in a warm spot overnight. Could it really be that easy? We shall see. The thought of leaving milk out overnight kind of makes me shudder, but I guess it needs warmer temperatures in order to ferment. Nobody go dying on me now, ok?
- Temperature. The temperature to which you bring your milk seems like the key factor in producing homemade yogurt. Might I recommend making sure your thermometer is properly calibrated before you begin? The temperature at which the milk ferments is also important. Most recipes just call for “a warm place” but some have more precise instructions. Especially this time of year when your home is probably anything but warm, it might be tricky to find a spot that fits the requirements.
- Culture. Cultures are what make yogurt, well, yogurt… but where do you get them? Turns out there’s an easy answer: go buy some yogurt. Any yogurt with active cultures listed in the ingredients will work for this experiment, just match it to whatever dairy you are using (whole, skim, soy, etc).
- Dairy. You really want to use high-quality dairy here, as it’ll make all the difference. Same for your yogurt, splurge on the good stuff. Apparently this will work with any dairy, whether it be whole milk, skim milk, or even soy milk. Just make sure whatever yogurt you buy for your starter matches your dairy.
- Flavor. Once you’ve made your basic yogurt, the only question then is, what will you add to it? Fruit? Honey? Nuts? Chocolate? Eat it straight up or use it as part of a grander scheme? This is where our creativity comes in!
Resources & Recipes:
- Yes, It’s Worth It To Make Your Own Yogurt. We shall see!
- My go to, America’s Test Kitchen, has a very thorough step-by-step method for making homemade yogurt. Their warm spot is your oven, heat off with light on. This is my go-to method for proofing bread in colder months, so I guess it’d work just as well for this too! (Note recipe requires login to view, although it is free).
- A basic homemade yogurt recipe from Bon Appetit.
- Alton Brown’s recipe is a bit different in that it calls for powdered milk (for thickening I assume?) as well as a heating pad for a very precise fermentation temperature.
- If you’re a fan of Greek yogurt, here’s a recipe from Serious Eats. The main difference is the yogurt is strained after fermenting to give it a nice, thick texture. The technique here is also slightly different, letting the yogurt ferment in a cooler of warm water instead of at room temperature, resulting in a quicker fermentation.
- Last fall I was introduced to Vietnamese yogurt, made with sweetened condensed milk. And it was amazing. Todd & Diane have a recipe on their site and I can’t WAIT to try making it myself.
Accept the challenge, make some yogurt (or yoghurt, whatever), and submit it by Wednesday, April 1st (no joke!) I’ll post about my own experience the following week along with a roundup of everyone who tackled this challenge with me.
What is the Kitchen Challenge?
The Kitchen Challenge series is simply about getting in the kitchen and challenging yourself to make something new; you aren’t required to have a blog to participate, nor are you required to post about it if you do. However, if you do have a blog and post about the challenge, you are more than welcome to use the above graphic.