For the past few months I have been making Greek-Style Yogurt at home. Inspired by Paula @Salad in a Jar, it took a few batches before I found what worked for me. Because John is a huge fan of this thick, creamy, tangy and pricey yogurt, he encouraged me to keep trying. He remembered that I frequently made yogurt when our children were little using a convenient yogurt maker. That was back in the day when I pureed cooked veggies and fruits in a small grinder to feed our babies along with sterilizing every bottle and item that touched their sweet little lips!
Though time consuming, making yogurt at home isn't hard and most of the time required is the incubation period. Paula has an excellent and detailed tutorial with an instructional video on her blog, using the oven to keep a constant incubation temperature. I ran into a problem because, even though my oven has a temperature setting of 100 degrees which is ideal for incubation, it is actually hotter than the setting. I found that if I preheat the oven for just 1 minute, turn it off and keep the oven light on during an 8-10 hour incubation period, the yogurt comes out perfect.
Here is what I do:
Pour 2 quarts of milk (I used 2%) into a large glass container.
Microwave, stirring several times, to a temperature of 180 degrees. (It takes about 15 minutes in my microwave)
Allow the milk to cool to 110 degrees.
Pour a small amount of the cooled milk into a small bowl and whisk in 2 tsps. Greek Yogurt starter that you have purchased or saved from a previous batch.
Whisk into the large container of milk.
Cover with a lid. Wrap the container of yogurt in a thick blanket or quilt. Preheat oven to 350 degrees for one (1) minute and turn off. Turn on the oven light. Place the wrapped container of yogurt in the back corner of oven near the light bulb. Close oven door and allow yogurt to do its thing.
I wait 10 hours. Remove yogurt container from oven. It will be thick with some liquid puddling on top. This is whey that will be strained off to create a thick Greek-Style product. I gently pour off the whey and then carefully pour the yogurt into a colander that has been lined with several coffee filters. Allow the yogurt to drain for several hours in the refrigerator or even over night.
Discard whey and whisk the yogurt until creamy. If desired, add vanilla extract and sweetener. Personally, I prefer mine a little sweet but John likes his with just vanilla.
Be sure to set aside a couple teaspoons before adding vanilla or sweetener as a starter for your next batch.
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