Sunday, July 14, 2013

Daring to do it: Yogurt

Blog-checking lines: The lovely Cher of The Not So Exciting Adventures of a Dabbler was our July Daring Cooks’ hostess and she asked us to create homemade yogurt in our own kitchens! No incubators needed, no expensive equipment or ingredients, just a few items and we had delicious yogurt for a fraction of the cost and a whole lot healthier than what you buy in the stores!

This was a scary challenge.  Yogurt?  Doesn't that require a lot of careful attention and monitoring and temperature gauging?  Add to that the fact that I wouldn't be using dairy milk for this, and I can honestly say that I don't remember ever being so nervous about any other kitchen project.  Including souffle!
In addition to the wealth of information Cher gave us in her challenge guide, I looked up as much as I could online about making soy yogurt.  Even though I was scared, I was kind of excited to learn about this.  Between my lactose intolerance and Little Girl's dairy allergy, soy yogurt is something we like to have in the house.  And it is getting hard to find.  The brand we like is becoming scarcer in the stores for some reason, other brands use dairy cultures, making them no-no's for Little Girl, and it is REALLY expensive to buy other types.  So after a couple of weeks of putting it off, I finally got my act together and gave it a shot.
I gathered up my supplies and ingredients:
That strange bottle marked PB8 is my pro-biotic.  The culture that would turn the soy milk into yogurt.  Hopefully.
After heating the milk, adding in some sugar to feed my bacteria (since soy milk does not have as high a fat content as the milk I would otherwise have used) and a corn starch slurry in hopes of thickening the end result, it was time to add my pro-biotics.  Here goes nothing!
Time to incubate:
Yup, the is my slow cooker, lined with a small towel to insulate, set on warm overnight.  Then it was time to walk away.  SCARY.  (Add to the inherent nerves the fact that my candy thermometer decided it wouldn't read anything, so I had no clue if I had killed off all of those friendly bacteria in the first place!)
In the morning, when I opened the pot, I found this:
Slightly thickened soy milk.  It did tasted kind of sour though.  (I asked Hubby if he thought it tasted yogurt-y or like sour milk...  he said yogurt..!)
Into the fridge to set and cool.  That afternoon I had this:
Not as thick as store bought yogurt, but thicker than I thought I would get!
My girls weren't too fond of the taste plain, but I am not surprised by that.  I stirred in a spoonful of strawberry preserves, and that was yummy.  It wasn't thick enough to eat with a spoon, but it was a good drink!  The rest of the yogurt was used to make chocolate yogurt "smoothies."  Loved those.  So did everyone else you tasted them!!
I can't wait to do this again.  Maybe I will play with it, try to thicken it up, but even thin, it made a great smoothie base, and was SO much more affordable than the store-bought variety. 
Thank you so much, Cher, for helping me and my fellow Daring Cooks see how accessible and wonderful home-made yogurt is!

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