Before yogurt makers camealong, making homemade yogurt was practically impossible. The conditions have to be just about perfect for the yogurt to be successful. New yogurt makers have changed all this. You can make delicious, healthy yogurt in all types of flavors. The yogurt maker keeps the yogurt at a perfect temperature for all the live yogurt cultures to thrive in. 

The homemade yogurt is made from whichever type of milk you use: whole milk, 2%, or fat-free. The final yogurt ends up costing half of what you would pay in a grocery store, and it will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to three weeks. 
Yogurt makers all come with their own instructions and recipes, but the basically yogurt making is all about boiling the milk, how to increase the temperature to reach the boiling point, or raising the temperature to incubate the yogurt. 



Boiling the milk destroys any bacteria, but does not affect the cultures in the yogurt. Pasteurized milk has actually already gone through this process, so it is only an added precaution.

Follow the instructions with your yogurt maker for the amounts of milk, and the time to process it. Don't leave the yogurt in the machine after it is done, or it will curd and separate. It is best to refrigerate it as soon as possible to keep it fresh longer. 

Here are a few hints for great tasting yogurt: 

Using skim milk or powdered milk will give the yogurt a soft consistency. If you would like the yogurt a little thicker, add about ½ cup of powdered milk to it before heating. 

Check the expiration dates on the plain yogurt you buy at the store for live cultures. The longer the yogurt stays on the store shelf, the weaker the cultures will be. Also, make sure you use plain yogurt for the cultures. You can add fruit and flavoring later.

The longer you cook the yogurt, the sourer it will be. If the milk is cooked for too long at a high temperature, the yogurt will not be as good, but you want to make sure all bacteria is killed. There is a fine line here that takes some practice. Once you get the hang of the correct time and temperature for the yogurt, all your yogurt will be delicious. Practice makes perfect.

Use only clean kitchen tools to prevent bacteria growth. Cool the milk to the temperature recommended by your yogurt maker, and then add the yogurt starter. If it is too hot, the cultures will die. It is similar to adding yeast to bread. The temperature is very important for growth.

Keep the yogurt maker away from drafts or cool areas that could lower the temperature of the maker. This is also similar to rising bread. Don't be tempted to open the yogurt maker during the process.

After following the yogurt maker's instructions for processing time, remove the yogurt and refrigerate. Make sure the yogurt is cooled before adding flavoring and fruits. Be creative with your flavorings, using all your favorites. That is the great thing about making your own yogurt. You can add whatever your favorites are to the yogurt for a really yummy, healthy treat.

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