Saturday, September 21, 2013

Vanilla Yogurt

I know it looks like ice cream, but it's really yogurt. 


We've been perfecting our yogurt this year, trying to get it thick.   Also, I've been trying to get a version of yogurt that K2 likes, because we mostly eat plain yogurt with jam and that plain stuff is tart. 

We get our yogurt culture from   We love it and go through a lot of it, so I buy the bulk packages. 

We've made it with regular store milk, and organic milk and raw milk.   By far the thickest, best yogurt is made with raw milk.  Heat it to 185 degrees, then cool it to 112 degrees and add the culture.   One packet per half gallon of milk. 
Best. Yogurt. Ever. 

Claire still wasn't interested. Too tart. [Says the kid who drinks gallons of lemonade with as little sugar as possible.  Go figure.]

The first thing we did was drain the whey off the yogurt.  The whey is the sourest stuff and I was hoping that once we drained it, it would be nice and even thicker [it was] and enough less-tart that K2 would eat it [she didn't].   The rest of us Love It. 

Soooo.    I started thinking about vanilla yogurt.    A little sugar, a vanilla bean....


After just a bit of experimenting, we found that this made The Best Vanilla Yogurt In The Entire Universe Bar None.  

The Best Homemade Vanilla Yogurt in the Universe
  • 1 gallon raw milk [or whatever milk you want to use.  This is America.]
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 vanilla beans, split
  • 2 packets Y5 yogurt culture from New England Cheesemaking Co.
Put the milk, sugar and vanilla beans in a big pot.  Heat to 185 degrees, stirring frequently. Once it reaches 185, remove the pot from the heat and let it cool to 112 degrees.   Once it reaches 112 degrees, stir in the contents of both packets of culture.  Stir well.   Cover with a towel and let sit for 12 - 18 hours.  If you're in a cool or drafty place, you can culture it in your microwave or oven or a cooler over night.   Just drape a towel or two around it to keep it warm.  

It'll be very thick the next day.   If you want to make it even thicker, line a large colander with cheesecloth and put the yogurt in it.   Twist the ends/corners together and let it sit for 1-2 hours.   We usually get 2-3 quarts of really thick yogurt after an hour of draining.    The longer it drains, the drier it gets.   If you drain it for many hours, you'll end up with fantastic Vanilla Yogurt Cheese.   Heaven.

When it reaches the consistency you want, spoon it into jars and remove the vanilla beans.  Refrigerate the yogurt or cheese. 

Rinse the cheesecloth in cold water until it's mostly clean and then you can run it through the washer and drier.   [That is what I do whenever I drain any type of cheese in cloth.]

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