Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Great Homemade Yogurt Taste Test

 We recently got some raw milk from a friend, and I decided to try my hand at making yogurt. I found so many recipes on the Internet that I didn't know where to start. So I decided I would try a few and compare so I would know what my favorite was.

The first recipe I used was out of the Fannie Farmer cookbook. It was basically to heat one quart of milk to 200 degrees, then let cool to 110 degrees, add two tablespoons of plain yogurt, stir, put in crockery bowl, and keep warm for several hours. I realized that the high temperature was pasteurizing the yogurt and killing some of the enzymes and other great benefits of the raw milk, but that was okay, as this was just one of several recipes.

The yogurt set up quickly in the bowl and looked like store-bought yogurt.

The next recipe I used was from An Organic Wife. She used a gallon milk to make 5 quarts of yogurt, but I didn't want that much so I scaled it down to 2 pints. I poured the raw milk into the jars, put them in a pot of water, and heated the water up to 105 degrees, removed the jars, added 3 tablespoons yogurt.

Then I closed the jars and put them and 110 degree water into a mini cooler. They stayed there for about 12 hours and then went into the refrigerator for 24 hours.
 They had a nice consistency when done. Apparently raw milk can produce some very runny yogurt.
Here I am tipping the jars to see how runny or firm the yogurt was.

The final recipe from eHow was very similar to what An Organic Wife used: heat milk to 110 degrees, pour in jar, add in yogurt, and keep warm (at 110 degrees) for 8 hours. Unfortunately I didn't keep a close enough eye on the milk (I was trying to multitask and do some other cooking), and very quickly the milk got too hot:
 And then it got too hot again in the jar, as I had left it on top of the stove with the oven on, and apparently that is not a warm environment, but a hot environment! So the yogurt was pasteurized, but in this case came out looking kind of funny:

I tried the same recipe again, but this time put it in the oven with just the oven light on, and that was a much more consistent environment.

Then it was time for the taste test! We had the Dannon plain yogurt, which had been our starter, Yogurt #1-pasteurized, Fannie Farmer recipe; Yogurt #2-raw, An Organic Wife recipe with cooler method; Yogurt #3-WikiHow recipe but accidentally pasteurized; and Yogurt #4--raw-WikiHow recipe at correct temperature.
I enlisted additional taste testers. It wasn't a blind taste test, everyone knew which was which (if they could read). And what was our favorite? (Drum roll, please)
The favorite of both my husband and I was Yogurt #1, the pasteurized yogurt. That surprised us. It had a slightly sour taste that was actually quite pleasing, giving it a little more flavor than the plain yogurt. Yogurt #3, which had been accidentally pasteurized, had a similar flavor but a really weird consistency that wasn't pleasant. Yogurts #2 and #4 were good, but, well, just very plain. I was hoping to like the raw yogurt better, as I know it's full of wonderful things that get taken out by pasteurization. The kids didn't really have a favorite, they just thought it was a really fun thing to do taste testing.

We've been eating our yogurt, mixing in homemade jam to give it some extra oomph. Maybe next year we'll have another yogurt taste test. In the meantime, I'm ready to keep experimenting. Do you have a favorite yogurt recipe?


The Incredible Woody said...

Ha! I thought you were going to say the favorite was the Dannon :)

Janille said...

Annette makes it! So do some of the other ladies at EskDale. Lois even makes Greek yogurt.

flatbow said...

Favorite recipe? Kroger fruit-on-the-bottom (Raspberry, Blk Cherry, or Blueberry), probably due to all the sugar in it ;)

Annette said...

I've been making our yogurt for a few months now. It is a lot of fun to experiment. So far my go to recipe is:

42 oz milk (raw whole)
2 tsp gelatin
3 tbs - 8oz yogurt starter

I heat the milk up until it's about to boil (I don't use a thermometer) and then cool it down to warm and put it in my yogurt maker for 7-8 hrs. ;)
Since I was diabetic I didn't experiment with flavors or anything since I was trying to keep it low carb, but I do mix in jam or Splenda when I eat it. Now that I'm not diabetic anymore I might try and experiment with fruit and honey.

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