Yogurt Mania

I've been fascinated by White Moustache yogurt for the past few weeks.  I would see it on the shelves at my local organic store and it would intrigue me.  When I finally broke down and paid for it (sooooo expensive), I was amazed how great it tasted.  It tasted like no other yogurt on the market.  It was thick but extremely creamy.  It comes in great flavors made with very fresh ingredients.

Unfortunately buying it all the time would put me in bankruptcy.  Then I stumbled on this article from Bon Apetit.  The writer claimed that she made yogurt at home that was almost as good as White Moustache.  So I followed the instructions in the article.

Most recipes around the internet recommend making yogurt with 1 gallon ( 3.6L) of whole milk. Which is a lot of milk and it makes a lot of yogurt.  In addition to the milk you will need a glass or ceramic bowl. Both will hold heat better than plastic.  I purchased THESE 2 quart (1.8L) casserole dishes with covers from Target.

I read various methods around the internet regarding heating times.  Some people heat up to 180 degrees F (82 degrees Celsius) which effectively kills off any competing bacteria in the milk.  Most Persian instructions (including White Moustache) recommend heating the milk to boiling point 212 degrees F (100 degrees C) for about 10-15 minutes (milk needs to foam a bit).  The reason for the high heat was that it not only killed off bacteria but also concentrates the milk proteins.  This leads to a thicker consistency in the yogurt.

My milk took over an hour to boil on low heat (low heat is recommended in order to avoid scorching the milk).  Then I set it aside in order to cool down.  You will need to allow it to cool between 100 F/38C to 115F/46C.  My milk cooled faster than the times listed in most instructions.  It took about 40 minutes versus the commonly stated 1 hour.  In essence, if you ever heated baby formula and tested the temperature on your wrist, it is the same concept.  It has to be close to body temperature.  If it isn't, the milk will be too hot and it will kill your yogurt cultures.

Once the milk is at body temp, take a cup/240mL of it in another bowl.  Now you can mix either your culture packet or 4 tablespoons (60mL) of your favorite store bought plain yogurt (cultures must be LIVE) into your milk.  Once it is well mixed, pour this into the rest of your milk.  Now pour into your glass bowls and cover them with lids. In place that is not drafty, wrap up your bowls in a blanket (I used an Ikea comforter).  Even though it will be very tempting to check the process DON'T peek!  Let the wrapped bowls sit for at least 5 to 6 hours.  5 to 6 hours creates a nice mild yogurt.  8 hours or more will create yogurt with a more tarty taste.

Once your chosen incubation time is over, uncover and store your bowls in the refrigerator.  It will further set.  Your yogurt, once uncovered, should be thick, rich and creamy with a sweet milk slightly yogurt tang.  It is nothing less than amazing.  If you do choose the milder yogurt, I have to warn you it will be over powered by anything you add to it.  My yogurt took on a distinct blueberry taste when I added them to my dish.  So if you do like some tartness remember to let the yogurt incubate longer than 8 hours.

That is it.  The yogurt should keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks.  If you are like me and eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner (or dessert), it will be gone by 2 weeks and you will need to make more. It is time consuming,  but it's so worth it.

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