With summer heat climbing into the 100s, everyone seems to focus on getting rid of the heat. When we’re hot, we don’t want to think, we don’t feel hungry. We want to stay cool.

Yoghurt, yogurt, youghurt, or yoghourt — however you spell it, this smooth, cool, protein-rich food is delicious on its own or as used in chilly smoothies, rich baked goods, roasted chicken and salad dressing.

And the heatwave we are experiencing provides us with the perfect conditions to make yogurt — with simple ingredients, without fancy machines or monitoring.

Ingredients/tools

Pot: A regular pot for the stove.

Glass jar: Jars should have lids and be sanitized with bleach or boiling water. You can use any size or multiple containers.

Whole milk: You can also use nonfat. For a richer yogurt, add some fresh or powdered cream.

Yogurt: This is the same type of yogurt that you enjoy eating. Make sure that the container states that the cultures in the yogurt are live and active.

Directions

  1. Pour milk or milk mixture into the pot and warm until it is about to boil. Remove from heat. For my yogurt, I used 1.5 quarts of whole milk. The amount of milk you use will be the amount of yogurt that will develop.
  2. Let milk cool to 115 degrees F.
  3. Add the yogurt labeled live and active.This is your starter culture, and it will use the sugars in the milk to multiply and turn the milk into yogurt.In the example pictures, I am using 2 tablespoons of yogurt for 1.5 quarts of whole milk. Adding more yogurt will speed up the process. Do not worry about adding too much or too little.
  4. Pour the milk/yogurt mixture into your glass container(s) and cover.
  5. Place the jar(s) in a warm spot.I keep mine in my office, which is in my attic and reaches 80 – 100 degrees in this heat. Whew! You can also place your jar(s) out in the sun, or in your car, or any place that is very warm. In a pinch, you can use a crock-pot with a light dimmer switch, or wrap the jar with a seed-warmer or heating pad.
  6. Wait 6 – 18 hours.Seriously, go away. Ride a bike. Sleep. Go shopping. It won’t explode or stink or make the cats crazy.Why such a broad range of time? The longer the yogurt is left out, the tangier and thicker it becomes. A thin, runny yogurt is great on granola or cereal. Tangy yogurt is great for adding a zip to chicken, salads, or muffins.This is a great thing about making your own food. You can make it exactly how you like it.
  7. When the yogurt is ready, chill it for at least 2 hours before devouring.Remember to save a few spoonfuls of this yogurt for Step 3, when you make your next batch.

But what to do with your yogurt?

Greek Yogurt/Yogurt Cheese: If you want to make the thick yogurt (usually labeled as Greek or European in the store containers) or yogurt cheese, spoon the chilled yogurt into a square of cheesecloth and suspend it over a bowl in the refrigerator. The excess whey will drip out, leaving the creamy, thick yogurt cheese. Yum!

In the picture above, the container on the right has a small sack of yogurt draining. After an hour, it was like Greek yogurt. I left it there all day, and the cheese was as creamy as neufchatel, with only a hint of a tang. It will be great on bagels or homemade toast.

Smoothies: Add a cup of yogurt to frozen fruit and ice for a healthy, cool breakfast.

Flavored yogurt: Be sure to reserve your spoonfuls for next time before flavoring! Try some of these flavorings in 1 cup of yogurt:

  • Honey: 1 tablespoon honey
  • Vanilla: 1 tsp. vanilla extract + 2 tsp. sugar
  • Fruit: 1/3 cup any chopped fruit or 1 tablespoon fruit preserves
  • Chocolate: 1 tablespoon hot cocoa powder
  • Maple: 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • Tomato: 1 tablespoon tomato sauce + dash of garlic salt
  • More flavor recipes at: DVO.com

Baking: Use in place of a portion of buttermilk or cream cheese in recipes. My favorite chicken is marinated in yogurt, breaded and baked with rice. I also add yogurt to bread flour, pancakes, waffles, muffins, and substitute it in any recipe that calls for sour cream.

Do you have any favorite yogurt tips or recipes? Please comment and share!

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