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Old 02-07-2017, 07:18 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 11
SUN #9071
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Make EXCELLENT Greek Yogurt (in your ice chest!)

I'm new to the forum, hoping to go FT within the next year, I've gotten addicted to homemade yogurt, and to avoid yet another appliance I've been experimenting with making good Greek (or regular) yogurt in an ice chest.

I thought others might want to try it because it's fun! But also extremely economical. And delicious to boot. Very little of your attention time required. (It hangs out all day doing its thing while you're doing life.) Lastly, it costs under half as much (about 1/4th-1/3rd what storebought Greek costs) and with none of the junk ingredients.

All you need for equipment is an ice chest, an instant read thermometer and a glass mason jar (or any other glass jar).

Recipe is convertible to any amount you want to make. I'm going to use 1 qt. here for simplicity, but just know if you're going to greek it, you'll end up with half the volume you started with. 1 qt. is good for a first experiment though. So! With that, here's the recipe/tutorial.

  • 4C (1 qt.) milk (whole, 2%, 1%, whatever you want but I avoid 0 Fat).
  • 4 Tbsp. (1 tbsp. per cup milk) of a storebought plain yogurt. I have great results with readily available Dannon Whole Milk Vanilla which isn't "plain" but close enough. The starter yogurt just has to say "Live Cultures" on the carton, and avoid ones that have gelatin added.
Heat milk slowly to 180 degrees. That's where you'll see tiny bubbles on the surface, but well under the point where the milk will rise up the sides of the pan. This is to get rid of any unwanted bacteria which could argue with your starter's bacteria. At the same time, remove your 4 Tbsp. starter yogurt from the fridge, into a bowl so it loses its chill.

Cool heated milk back down to about 115 degrees. You can either let it cool by itself or stick the pan in a larger pan of cold water (that cools it fast). Meanwhile, when milk is close to cooled temp, fill your ice chest with some hot water (say 120-125 degrees) but ONLY enough water so that it will rise to about an inch or so from the rim of your jars. Keep lid closed now, so the incubating water stays hot.

Mix your 4 Tbsp. storebought yogurt into the 115-deg. milk (I usually pour some of the milk into the yogurt's bowl, mix, then add back in and stir). Fill jar(s), cover with lid, open lid of ice chest, enter jars and close it. Have ice chest in a place where it won't get bumped or rocked or otherwise disturbed for 8.5 to 10 hours. (Longer won't hurt it.) If it's chilly, wrap the ice chest with a blanket. If it's not, great. The water will stay warm enough. Probably won't want it baking in full Florida sun though.

After the 8-10 (or 12) hours in its snuggly warm water incubator, presto. Yogurt! What's happened here is that the yogurt starter cooties have found the proteins in the milk and bonded with them and then multiplied. (This is why you don't disturb it - they join hands and you bump it, and mess up this great romance.

To Greek it... all you do is drain out the whey. Best way to do that is a very fine nylon mesh strainer. I use a couple of reuseable basket coffee filters that all supermarkets sell. After putting the blobby yogurt into those baskets atop some container to catch the whey, stick it in the fridge. An hour later you'll have half the volume of yogurt that you did (now thickened into Greek). I like to let it drain to about half volume. If you leave it overnight, it goes really thick on you (wallapaper paste anyone? But you can thin it out again if you do forget it.) Then spoon-whip it a tad which makes it creamy, and store in fridge. They say up to a week but mine never lasts that long, I usually have a batch underway.

As for the separated whey? If you bake bread, use that whey instead of your recipe's water. It'll give your loaf a sourdough type flavor. If you do not bake bread, your DOG will LOVE you. (They go all sleepy-eyed as they lovingly lap it up. I think it reminds them of nursing days.)

Now. Unless you like plain yogurt (which I don't), you'll want to flavor your servings. Maple syrup, sugar, honey, citrus, smashed fruit, any kind of jam. ("Fruit at the bottom" storebought uses jam.) My own personal favorite is fresh squeezed lime juice + honey. Sweet-n-sour combo.

AND another thing I discovered when I did forget my greeking for 10 hours. This had the consistency of Boursin cheese. Huh! I crushed some dill weed, basil, garlic powder, a tad a cayenne and whatever else looked dippy. Ate it as a spread on crackers. Next time will throw in some pimentos. Whatever you have that looks like it'll work.

Very good-healthy to eat for anyone, but particularly so for women.

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Old 08-26-2017, 06:08 PM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Washington, D.C.
Posts: 76
SUN #9721
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Amazing...! I never even thought about making my own. I have been eating a lot of that Siggis yogurt and its so expensive, but addicting. I may have to give yours a try. Thank you!
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