Making my own yogurt

Making my own yogurt

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I made my own yogurt! How cool is that?

I didn’t finish it in time for Tummy Tuesday but I’m still pretty puffed about it.

I had almost a full container of whole milk and it was getting old.  I don’t even know why I bought it as I usually buy fat-free or 2% .  So what to do?  Then when I was browsing Bluprint classes, I saw one class had a lesson on how to make yogurt.  Alana Chernila teaches a cool class on “The From Scratch Kitchen” where you learn how to make your own granola, yogurt, refrigerator jam, chocolate hazelnut butter and more.

Making yogurt was surprisingly easy — a good thing for me.   You slowly heat up milk to 180 degrees. Then you let the yogurt cool to 110 degrees. After it’s cooled you add yogurt with live yogurt culture.  I stirred in a couple spoonfulls of Greek yogurt I had just bought.  Then you keep the yogurt warm for 12-24 hours.  I wrapped my pan in towels and put it in the oven overnight.

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making yogurt, photo by M. LaFreniere, all rights reserved, Cactus Catz
making yogurt, pan wrapped in towels to keep it warm

She warned not to use ultrapasteurized milk and of course mine was. Oh! That’s why the milk has lasted so long. Ultrapasteurized milk can last 30-90 days unopened but it’s still 10 days opened like regular milk. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as ultrapasteurized milk or that I’d bought one. So I was a little worried that the yogut wouldn’t turn out so I left it for 24 hours. Yay! When I checked on it, I had yogurt. It was like magic. It was a little runny at first which she warned us about with ultrapasteurized milk but I gave it a little extra time and that fixed it for me.

successfully made yogurt, photo by M. LaFreniere, all rights reserved, Cactus Catz
Yay! We made yogurt, lotsa, lotsa yogurt.

Only problem is now I have tons of yogurt and my refrigerator is already full! I looked further in her lesson and she shows how to make flavored yogurt, greek yogurt and labneh. I’m might make the labneh because it sounded interesting and she said you can use the leftover whey in soup, adding a cheesy flavor to soup.


But for today, I’m a bit hungry. So I went to my Recipes1-2-3 book by Rozanne Gold. I love her book. Everything is … you guessed it only three ingredients. She has an easy chicken that you cover in plain yogurt and top it with onions. Bake it for 350 for 40 minutes, then set it back to broil the chicken without the cover to blacken the onions for five minutes and that’s all there is to it.

I’ve been taking that other class with the tomato soup as you know where Peter Besley teaches us to jazz up a recipe so I decide to jazz up this recipe. After I spooned the yogurt over the chicken thigh until the chicken was completely covered, I sprinkled garam masala over the yogurt, minced up red onion, cut some opal basil and tarragon, and then added a spring of tarragon for prettiness. Gold says remove the fat but I forgot to remove the skin.

chicken with yogurt to go into the oven, photo by M. LaFreniere, all rights reserved, Cactus Catz
Chicken thigh slathered with yogurt, red onions, basil and tarragon. Ready to go into the oven.

I covered the bowl with aluminum foil and stuck it in the oven. Cooking for one, I don’t see the point of making another pan to wash and beside the ceramic bowl not only looks pretty but it can take the heat.

It took me longer than the 40 minutes to cook my one chicken thigh, closer to 60 minutes. Since I left the skin on, there was a lot of liquid because the fat drained off into the yogurt. I hate to think of the calorie count. All that liquid too might have made it necessary to increase the cooking time. Next time, definitely no skin!

Chicken all finished, photo by M. LaFreniere, all rights reserved, Cactus Catz
All finished! Chicken is tender and yummy

The chicken was very tender, smelled good and the tarragon and basil added a touch of sweetness. The fat mixed with the yogurt made a lovely creamy sauce even if it was calorie heavy. A successful experiment. Yay!

I think for someone like me who is not a great cook having an easy base recipe without many ingredients like Gold’s yogurt chicken is great. You can make it the first time just following the recipe to see how the original is supposed to taste.

Then the second time, adding one or two things as an experiment just to see how different flavors work together helps build confidence but also you discover things you don’t realize. For example, I added tarragon and basil but no sugar or honey despite the slightly sour taste of the yogurt. The yogurt tenderized the chicken somehow but the the herbs along with the garam marsala gave it a light lovely aroma. Also since I’m not cooking with sugar or honey any more, I am finding the most suprising things like herbs which do not taste sweet if you on nibble them raw, actually add a little sweetness when cooked into a dish. Who knew?

For dessert, I made myself a fake mango lassi. I filled a glass half full of Odwalla’s Mango Tango, spooned in the yogurt, added honey and stirred. It was really good!

So that’s my dinner for today.

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14 Replies to “Making my own yogurt”

  1. hello cactus catz its dennis the vizsla dog hay mmm yogurt that sownds delishus!!! and i no my dada likes those mango lassis on akkownt of he has mayd them a fyoo times but he never mayd the yogurt i bet it taysts eeven better if yoo do it that way!!! not that i wood no sinse dada duznt shayr them with me!!! krool krool dada!!! ok bye

    1. awww, I’m sorry he doesn’t share the yogurt with you. Looks guiltily at Midnight and Pinkie. Shhhh. I don’t share with them either.

  2. I love Alana Chernila! Great looking food, I really liked how you got to use your old food and turned it into an interesting dinner!

    1. Chernila is cool! Yeah, I used to think cooking was really expensive because I’d look at a recipe, go out and buy all the ingredients and then make it. It sure added up. Now I’m trying the other way — what do I have? what can I make? So much cheaper and still tasty. I have to keep it simple though because otherwise my cooking experiments won’t work.

  3. I like yoghurt as a salad dressing, or to use instead of milk for scones or muffins, to mix with fresh fruit as a treat/dessert, or mix with spring onion and peppers as a spread.
    I usually drain some liquid off for the last one to make it thicker (a bag over a container – so I can use the liquid in cooking).
    having said that, I’m not a good cook, and I do these things because it’s easy and I’m lazy, but they still taste okay.

    1. You sound like a yogurt expert! I just found out with this lesson that the liquid in yogurt is called whey and you can use it in soup to give it a richer, bit of a cheese taste. I’d always heard of curds and whey but never realized it was yogurt (or cheese). Like you, I’ve used nonfat yogurt in muffins. It tastes rich and the muffins come out moist. I’ve never used yogurt as a salad dressing. Do you just use it straight or do you add something to it like chives or herbs?

      1. whatever takes my fancy, depending on the weather. My partner likes pineapple and gherkin, I like mango and lemon! and yes, chives or finly chopped green onions, or golden marjoram, or …

        1. sounds awesome! I do love summer foods. Yogurt and fresh fruit makes me think of summer. I’m not a big fan of the cold right now.

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