Straining yogurt results in an exceptionally creamy, rich, and less sour tasting flavor unlike anything you have ever bought from a store. You will be surprised at the amount of whey (a sour, viscous, greenish yellow and highly nutritious liquid) the process of straining will create. Don’t throw it away! It can be used in a number of ways. For example you can use it in place of water for any bread recipe, in smoothies for added protein, or as a substitute for buttermilk in baking recipes. Below is a yogurt recipe we have adapted from the cookbook “Ma Baseema” – Enjoy!
1 Gallon – Whole Organic Milk
1 Quart – half and half
8 oz – plain yogurt to be used as a starter culture. (Store bought or preferably yogurt from a previous batch)
Bring yogurt starter to room temperature in a small bowl.
In large stainless steel stock pot combine milk and half and half and place over medium high heat.
Once the surface is covered in small foamy bubbles (185°F), remove from heat entirely and let the mixture cool to the point where you can stick a (clean!) finger into the liquid without feeling heat for a couple of seconds (102-105°F)
Ladle about 1 cup of the warm milk mixture into the yogurt starter and mix well to create a smooth consistency. Pour this yogurt mixture into the warm milk mixture and stir to combine.
Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid, place it in a warm location where it will not be disturbed for 7-12 hours and wrap it in a thick towel or blanket to keep it insulated. It is important that the pot is not moved or shaken during this time. Let the yogurt ferment for 7 – 12 hours, the longer the fermentation the thicker and more sour the resulting yogurt.
After 7-12 hours, you should have a perfectly edible, somewhat thick, delicious yogurt waiting for you in the pot. Stir the yogurt vigorously to disrupt the fermentation process. The next step, straining, is optional but highly recommended. If you choose not to strain, at this point you can transfer the yogurt into a clean, airtight storage container and place it in the refrigerator. Otherwise, see below.
Straining the Yogurt
(You can do this with store bought yogurt, too)
Line a large strainer that fits into a bowl or pan (to catch the whey) with coffee filters. Ladle yogurt into the lined strainer and place in the refrigerator. The longer you let the yogurt strain, the thicker and creamier it will become.
Whey will begin to drain off of the yogurt almost immediately, be sure to check the bowl or drip pan often to drain the whey and save it for another use.
After straining the yogurt … ENJOY IT! It makes a lovely parfait, or is tasty on its own or in place of sour cream.