Length:: 2:02 Mins
I am slowly becoming a yogurt making expert. So far I have made 6 batches and they are getting better every time. I have tried 2% milk without pre-boiling, 2% milk with pre-boiling, whole milk with pre-boiling, and goat milk with pre-boiling. I also made a couple of batches just changing the length of incubation to get an idea of what difference that makes. In some batches I added a straining step at the end to make Greek yogurt. The biggest difference in results is whether I pre-boil milk or not. Pre-boiling creates significantly thicker yogurt. The initial temperature at which you start the incubation of the mixture is also a key to success. Without pre-boiling the texture of the yogurt I get is more like (delicious) buttermilk. By pre-boiling milk I get a texture similar to a yogurt I buy in a supermarket.
The process of making yogurt is quite simple. The key is to keep the yogurt culture at a steady temperature and steady position (no moving or shaking) during the incubation period.
To make the yogurt you need milk and yogurt culture. Note that the Epica package contains two starter packets of culture. Once you made the first batch you can keep using one of your containers for the next batch. There are several options for both milk and yogurt culture.
♦ Pasteurized milk (whole, low fat, or skim)
♦ UHT sterilized milk
♦ Instant powered milk (reconstituted)
♦ Soy milk (unflavored that contains honey, fructose or malt)
Yogurt culture options:
♦ 6 oz store-bought yogurt with active cultures
♦ 6 oz home-made yogurt from your previous batch
♦ freeze-dried yogurt culture
For my first batch I started milk at the room temperature, mixed in the yogurt culture (that was included with the yogurt maker) in half a cup of milk, then mixed it with the rest of the milk. Another option is to boil the milk, then let it cool to 108-112°F. This produces a thicker yogurt. Based on my experience I now always pre-boil because it makes a big difference. After the mixture is done, all that is left is to fill the jars and put them into the incubator. How long you wait depends on the milk you use.
♦ whole milk takes 7 hours if milk was boiled, 8 hours if not boiled
♦ 2% milk takes 8 hours if milk was boiled, 10 hours if not boiled
♦ skim milk takes 10 hours if milk was boiled, 12 hours if not boiled
For my first batch, I used 2% unboiled milk and waited 10 hours. For the next batch, I used 2% boiled milk and waited 8 hours. My video includes the results of both so you can tell the difference that boiling makes.
After the incubation the yogurt needs to refrigerated. Refrigeration stops the incubation process. Instructions say 3 hour are required minimum before adding any flavorings, and 6 to 8 hours is recommended. Note that the incubator does not turn off on its own, it should be unplugged. The home made yogurt should be consumed within 1 week.
Since I like the thicker greek yogurt taste I strained several jars of my yogurt after making it. In a couple of batches I mixed in Vermont maple syrup, in a couple of other batches I added Manuka honey... and I thought my yogurt was better than store bought!
The yogurt maker comes with 7 jars each one has 6 oz capacity. Instructions said to fill each jar 3/4 full. So I got about 35 oz of yogurt. The entire yogurt maker is pretty compact it is 5.75" tall, 9.5" in diameter.
Any negatives? Yes, one thing. The timer on top of the yogurt maker does not turn off the appliance, you need to do it by hand.
I love yogurt. My favorite Greek yogurt costs me over one dollar per 8 oz cup, goat yogurt is even more expensive. So trying to make my own is very appealing to me for cost reasons as well as experimenting with my own favorite flavors. I love it!
This yogurt maker is provided by Epica.
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