I have been victorious, my friends. Yes, indeed. I have not just conquered the temperamental beast, but I have made the best darn creamy thick yogurt I’ve ever tasted. And yes, Dad, it was from goat milk. Now, lest you run in fear of ‘goaty’ flavor, there is no hint of it in this marvel of delectableness. But I leap too far foward. Let me begin from the inception of my heroic idea to bring my combatant to its knees. Yes, to its knees.
Sorry, I was feeling a bit ‘knightly’ just then. Disregard any big words you may have experienced thus far, and please continue.
“Let me ‘splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.” (Inigo Montoyo, Princess Bride)
Renaissance Man takes yogurt in his lunch daily. As I have journeyed along this path of eating better, I came to the conclusion the stuff in my sweet husband’s yogurt is not so good. Lots of sugar. Lots of other stuff I probably cannot pronounce. I vowed (sorry, the knightliness keeps wanting to creep in) a year ago that I would some day vanquish the difficulties in making the perfect yogurt. My goal was to make it so good that he would not miss the store bought stuff.
So, I ventured off into other lands to glean the advice of many a-wise yogurteers. (I went on the internet). At the advice of my enlightened mentors, I rode forward only to have my early adventures a flop. My yogurts were runny and ‘goaty’. Then, my good friend Chez Misty (the wisest of all) told me that she drains her yogurt until she gets the thickness she wants. Ah, ha! My runny yogurt problem solved. Now, for a mild flavor. This too was solved most easily with the use of a commercial plain greek yogurt. No, the brand is not plain, the yogurt, silly. Plain yogurt, as in no flavors added.
So, here’s what I did.
The Yummiest Goat Yogurt You Ever Did Taste
1/2 gallon goat milk
4 Tablespoons plain greek yourt
Heat milk to 180 degrees. You need a thermometer for this venture, folks. Pull milk pan off burner and place into an ice bath in the sink. Stir a few times here and there until it reaches 115 degrees. In a small bowl (I use my glass measuring cup), plop in your greek yogurt and ladle in a bit of the warmed milk. Stir well. You don’t want clumps. A wisk works great for this task. The trick here is to get the culture warm and smooth so when you add to your big batch of warmed milk, it doesn’t cool it too much, and you want to make sure it mixes in well (thus the smooth part).
Now take your warm smooth culture from your small bowl and mix it into the pan of warmed milk. Mix well.
Pour the new mixture into a 1/2 gallon jar (or 2 qt jars). Put into your dehydrator set on 115 degrees for 8 hours. After 8 hours do nothing. That’s right, leave it in there for another 2 hours.
After a total of 10 hours (2 hours after the dehydrator stops), place yogurt jars in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. I just leave mine in overnight.
After refrigerated, place a cheesecloth in a strainer. I fold my cheesecloth over so it’s double thick. Place strainer in a larger bowl. Let sit for hours until it is the desired thickness. I occasionally check the thickness by stirring from the bottom of the strainer.
Now, cover the yogurt with one side of your cheesecloth. This is to keep the buggies out. You know, fruit flies and such. You can place this in your refrigerator (which if mine was made with pasteurized milk, I would) and wait for it to drain. I just leave mine on the counter top. That way I am reminded to keep checking on the thickness.
Also, as you can see from this picture, there is whey that drains out of the yogurt and starts to fill the bowl. I like to keep an eye on this so I can occasionally dump it out. If you use whey for soaking projects (soaked grains, etc.) you could hang on to this whey. It’s good in bread and soups I hear.
Once you’ve finished draining the whey, scoop out your beautiful yogurt and place into a new container. I put mine in a used Nancy’s Yogurt container, and then store in the refrigerator.
I found these cute little Ball Freezer Jam containers that hold 8oz. I then put in my creamy brilliance along with a teaspoon full of homemade jam. Mix well. Store in refrigerator where husband can reach in and grab one on his way to work.
By the way, Renaissance Man says my yogurt is just as good, if not better, than his old love. Oh, yes. The victory is mine. Well, I guess it’s his too. (smile)
By the way, if you don’t have a dehydrator, get one! Okay, let’s be reasonable. If you don’t have one and you refuse my wise advice, there are other ways to make yogurt. If you choose to, you can seek the insightful yogurteers yourself. They have good advice. I, apparently, was not so good at following it. Chez Misty has had great fortune with a cooler and warm water.