Tuesday, May 29, 2012

More fun with yogurt!

After my friend told me about starting her yogurt on the stove, I decided to give it a whirl with fat free *or skim* milk.  What I really wanted to see was if I could make yogurt for me too.  The only difference would be that I'd substitute splenda, agave nectar or honey in place of the sugar that I've used in the girls' yogurt.  So, let the 'experiment' begin.

I put the milk in a large pan on one of the large burners.  I turned the heat to medium, but decided after a bit that it seemed too hot.  I turned it down to medium-low *on my stove it's 2-3*.  I was working on cleaning up my kitchen and doing the dishes, so I was right there to monitor the pan.  I stirred often because, I didn't want scorched milk on the bottom of the pan.  It easily took me an hour to get it to temp.  My friend uses a gas stove and said she thought that it took about 30 minutes.

This is my pan up to temp.  *My other burners are missing because I'd cleaned the drip pans while I was doing the dishes.  The cleaning never ends.*  After my milk cooled down *about a half hour to 45 minutes*, I added the 'normal' stuff *dry milk and 1 cup of starter*.

Next up:

I put the lid on and wrapped my pan in a towel.  This time when I went to bed, I left the light in the oven on.  I also let my yogurt sit in the oven a bit longer *10 hours* instead of the 8-9 hours I did with the previous batch.  When I pulled it out to stir it, it was definitely thicker than the last batch.  I added the sugar and vanilla, and due to the lack of time before my book study, I put the lid back on the pan and threw it in the fridge.

When I had a chance, I poured it into jars.  I ended up with 4 pints plus enough yogurt to fill 4 freezer pop slots *yes, we've done that too.*  I didn't pull off a cup of my newly made yogurt because I still have my 1 cup in the freezer from the last time.  When I added my 1 cup to this batch, I still had plain yogurt in the fridge, so I used that.  If I factor in the cost of my half gallon of skim milk and the 1 cup of plain yogurt, I'd say I spent roughly a  little over $1.50 for twice the amount of yogurt!  What a deal!  The verdict on which way of preparation I'd prefer?  I'm leaning more towards doing it in the crockpot, mainly because I wouldn't have to stand over it and stir it to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.  The pan/stove method was faster, but again, if I had the time to 'stand' over it and monitor it.

Since I said something about our freezer pops, I'll go back to that.  A friend of mine said she had put hers in the freezer.  I thought, "Why not?"  I bought one of the freezer pop 'makers' at Family Dollar for a $1.  I poured cherry and peach yogurt into it *up to the top of the hole* and put the stick back in *8 total freezer pops*.  After a couple of hours, they were solid.  I did have to twist the stick a little to loosen the pop from its spot, then lean the container a little so that the pop stays on the stick.  Ha!  It's tricky a piece of cake.  One of the best parts?  The girls love them.  Another positive?  They're cheap!  You want another positive?  Okay...they're healthy.  Still not convinced?  They can be versatile.  What do I mean by that?  You can make your base yogurt vanilla and then add in whole fruit *or chopped up*.  They're also a nice cold treat!  Believe me, I'm sold!

Now, what are you waiting for?  Go make yourself some yogurt and yogurt pops!  You won't regret it!

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