How Making Yogurt Has Made Me Happier

And a recipe to get you started

But it’s in letting go of what you think you know that makes fermenting something as simple as yogurt rewarding.

Making yogurt leads to a seemingly limitless array of ferments that are made faster with the addition of whey. Whey is full of lactobacillus, and a few tablespoons will kickstart any Lacto-fermentation, inevitably saving a day or two.

Whey soda with uva Isabella (Fox grape)

Greek yogurt recipe

The ‘greek’ part is totally subjective. No definition exists. I try to mimic Chobani and that works for me.

What you’ll need

  • A gallon of milk (you’ll lose about half the volume so go with a gallon or the biggest bottle your supermarket has)
  • Starter yogurt (this is your heirloom starter or yogurt from the store with live bacterias — Chobani is good)
  • Thermometer
  • Large colander (that fits a gallon)
  • Cheesecloth
  • A bowl to sit the colander in to catch the whey
  • Diluted vinegar or some type of sanitiser

Method

  1. Clean everything and spray with diluted vinegar or sanitiser. The pot, your thermometer, the spoon, the colander, everything. A clean ferment is a good ferment.
  2. Heat milk in a large pot until it reaches 180F (80C) and hold it for 15 minutes. This helps to denature (or “crack”) the protein, which helps separate it from the whey, so you don’t end up with weird sticky yogurt.
  3. Cool to 110F (43C), add your starter yogurt and mix well.
  4. Cover with a lid and close any holes on the lid with tape. We don’t want any rogue bacteria entering the pot.
  5. Ferment at the same temp — 110F (43C) — for 8–12 hours. The time depends on your ambient temperature. If your room isn’t warm enough, use whatever you’ve got — warm water bath, towels, heat pad, etc — to keep it warm.
  6. When it’s ready, it should be solid and wobbly like jelly and taste slightly tangy, like yogurt you’re used to.
  7. Place a small bowl, or something that acts as a false bottom, into a larger bowl/container and dump the yogurt into the cheesecloth-lined colander. The false bottom keeps the colander from being submerged in whey and restricting runoff. It won’t strain if there is no gravity.
  8. Once it’s strained to typical greek yogurt consistency, it’ll come out of the cheesecloth almost perfectly, without leaving too much behind. Store in a well-sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Tips

Yogurt is sticky

Cook and food writer based in Mexico City. Talking food and all its intersections | IG: https://instagram.com/_alexheery

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