Friday, February 20, 2009

Yogurt Update

I've enjoyed hearing that some of you have successfully made your own yogurt!

One reader shared with me a book on yogurt. I wasn't sure how anyone could fill over 300 pages on yogurt but I did learn some things from the book and gain some new ideas on yogurt's uses.

Here, in no particular order, is some answers to questions I have received and some of the new tips , information, and uses I've learned about yogurt! If you wish to read the original recipe I shared several months ago, go here.

If you've never tried making homemade yogurt, now is a great time! We all can use some extra probiotics during the winter!

  • The fresher your yogurt, the higher the population of good bacteria. Older yogurt may taste fine but will be much less effective therapeutically then fresh yogurt with all it's good bacteria “alive and hopping”. Check the expiration date on your yogurt container – or make your own!
  • When making yogurt regularly (about twice a week), begin with a new yogurt starter once a month. Even if your yogurt is stilling turning out well, it may not be fresh enough to be as healthy to the body.
  • Is commercial yogurt a “natural food”? Read the back of the container! Like other processed foods, the more ingredients that you don't understand or can't pronounce, the greater the chances that it can hardly be called “natural”. Many have numerous additives to thicken, stabilize, preserve, add flavor and color, and even to keep the fruit evenly mixed in the yogurt! Whole milk yogurt often needs less additives to give the thick rich flavor that low fat yogurt tries to imitate. It isn't a hard decision, at least for me, to make my own yogurt and then I know what is in it!
  • Yogurt helps to tenderize meat. Mix up a marinade of yogurt, lemon juice, salt, and other seasonings for a meat marinade.
  • If your homemade yogurt seems too tart, it may be that you are stirring to vigorously before incubation or incubating too long. For a mild yogurt, stir your starter into the milk gently and incubate for a shorter time.
  • If your homemade yogurt forms a “watery whey” on top, it may be that your incubation temperature was too high, or the incubation was too long, or used to much starter. Don't throw out the batch, either pour off the whey, or stir the whey in, and it will be fine to eat, though a little less thick. It can also be used as a starter for your next batch.
  • Rarely, can you actually completely botch a batch of yogurt. I've probably made every mistake imaginable and only once did it completely fail. If during incubation, the temperature drops too low, just heat it back up and continue with the incubation.

  • Use yogurt on baked potatoes instead of sour cream with a little chives.
  • Replace all or some of the mayonnaise in chicken salad with yogurt.
  • Replace sour cream, milk, or cream with yogurt in baked goods such as pancakes, biscuits, waffles, cakes, and muffins. You may need to thin the yogurt with a little milk, though I don't usually. Some people add ½ tsp of baking soda for each cup of yogurt used. Try it the next time you make chocolate cake and you may have your family wondering what was the secret ingredient to your awesome cake!
  • Add yogurt to scrambled eggs (½ T per egg) or quiche!
  • I've heard of yogurt being used to begin a sour dough starter but haven't attempted it.
  • Drain your yogurt in a cheese cloth or muslin to make “yogurt cheese”. Flavor with salt, herbs, and spices and use for a dip or spread. As the yogurt cheese ages it will become more tart.
  • Puree strawberries, mix with plain yogurt and a little sugar or honey for a yummy fruit dip!

One of the things I want to try next is to make frozen yogurt, but that might wait until summer! Have any of you tried it?

I've began making a new (for me) cultured dairy product this winter that is even more healthy and simpler to make then yogurt! I'll share about it sometime in the coming weeks, so check back!


  1. I have never made it in a crock pot, I have read about it but have yet to try it.

    I just made yogurt this morning. I love it. It is very easy, I usually put it in a thermal lunch pail with a quart of boiling water right next to it. It just went into the fridge a minute ago. It is delicious!

  2. Hi Gina! I am a fairly new follower of you blog and have been been reading the past issues. I like the way you promote healthy eating. I am fascinated with the idea of using yogurt as a marinade. Have you tried it? If so, would you post the recipe? Thanks! ~Carolyn


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