Found myself enjoying a well brewed cup of coffee at one of my favorite Providence relaxation spots: Seven Stars Bakery.
The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly and the pastries and dozen or so different breads are consistently top notch. If you don't happen to run into someone you know here, you'll leave knowing someone new. It's just one of those places. Lately, I've been bypassing the carbs entirely and going straight for my newest dairy obsession: Narragansett Creamery's yogurt.
This. Stuff. Rocks. It's so smooth, rich, and exceedingly tangier than any yogurt I've ever had. While most feel the need to drown their healthy cup of bacterial joy in sugar or sweet additions, I relish in the raw sourness of it. Seven Stars happens to offer a really nice homemade granola thats got just a touch of sweetness and all kinds of nice goodies. Reminds me just how easy it is to make your own yogurt in the comfort and convenience of your home. That's right folks, Do It Yourself Yogurt!
Saved money, a healthy alternative, and ease of preparation are just a few of the many reasons to try this out for yourself! All you need are a few simple pieces of equipment and even simpler ingredients.
1. Start with a half gallon of milk. Fat content doesn't necessarily matter, just take note that it will have a small impact on the final mouthfeel and texture of the yogurt. I would stick with something between skim and 2% for the best results. You'll also need 2-3 tablespoons of plain yogurt with live active cultures (very important!). Both the milk and yogurt should be at room temperature before you start.
2. You need to be able to create a water jacket effect with your pots to start. Find two that will fit together nicely with at least two inches along the sides for water. The water should go about halfway up the side of the smaller pot. Bring the water to a boil.
3. Carefully place the smaller pot into the boiling water and pour into it your half gallon of milk. Be watchful here to make sure your pot of milk doesn't tip over. That would be a sure end to your yogurt making enjoyment. Check to make sure that water level in the pot matches up with the milk. It doesn't have to be exact, but a big discrepancy will have a negative effect on the milk heating evenly.
4. Stir the milk frequently, and keep the water in the larger pot boiling. While the milk is heating, fill your sink with ice water so you're ready to go for the next step. Pull out your trusty thermometer and measure the temperature of the milk until it reaches 185 degrees F. This is just to make sure that nothing interferes with the yogurt cultures.
5. Once it's reached that magic number, pull your milk and place it in the sink of ice water. Continue to stir and cool the milk until it's reached 110 degrees F. This is the temperature at which yogurt cultures reproduce themselves.
6. Add your 2-3 tablespoons of yogurt to your 110 degree milk. Stir well.
7. This is the part where you get creative. Your yogurt needs to stay at a pretty consistent 110 degrees for quite sometime. A heating pad underneath the bowl does the trick. Or your oven if it's gas heated will do fine with just the pilot on. I chose to use my trusty dehydrator for more precise results. I can set it at exactly 110 degrees and be certain I'll have the same yogurt every time. Regardless of your warming methods, be sure to cover the yogurt with a towel beforehand.
8. Allow the milk to ferment for seven hours. This part can be adjusted to ones personal taste preferences. If you want your yogurt tangier, leave it in for longer. Less tangy, less time.
9. When the time is up, remove the yogurt and stir well to incorporate any remaining curds into the liquid.
10. From there, it's just a matter of pouring your new yogurt into tightly fitting containers and chilling it down in the refrigerator.
And there you have it! It's just that easy to make your own delicious yogurt at home. Try it out, I promise you'll be hooked! There are so many options of what you can do with it at this point. You can simply eat it with a little granola and fresh fruit, maybe a little honey or jam. It's up to you!
As for my yogurt...there's plans on the horizon for a smoked yogurt sauce, and maybe a "curds and whey" dish in the near future. The possibilities are endless!
Enjoy Yo Yogurt!