How to make Yogurt at home?
4 cups (1 Lt) 3.25% homogenized milk
2 tablespoonfuls plain Turkish yogurt
I use homogenized milk to make my own yogurt. But if you think it is too fatty for you, you can use any kind. Making yogurt is very easy!
Boil the milk first. Pour the warm milk into a clean bowl with a lid, then put aside until lukewarm. The best and traditional way to measure the temperature of milk is to dip your pinkie in it. It should be warm but shouldn't burn.
Spread a thick towel out over your kitchen counter. Put the warm milk into a clean bowl with a lid and place it on the towel (picture). Put 2 tablespoonfuls of yogurt and mix well to ferment the new yogurt (picture). Make sure they're mixed very well. Place a clean kitchen towel across the top of the pot on the rim and put the lid on it. Then cover the bowl with the towel (picture). If it is winter, the yogurt will be done within app. 6 hours, otherwise during the summer it'll take 4 to 5 hours. I generally ferment my yogurt after dinner or before going to bed. The following morning my yogurt is ready to be placed in the fridge. When you place the yogurt into the fridge do not shake it! Keep it in the fridge for a day.
You will find many Turkish recipes with yogurt as the main ingredient or as a side dish to make soups, desserts, and our favorite drink Ayran. If you like, you can add honey or your favorite jam to give it some flavor. Or just toss some fresh fruit on it, it is perfectly healthy and delicious. When I was a kid my favorite was with honey or icing sugar. I also love yogurt with some chunks of bread (Turkish, French or Italian style), it's great for lunch :)
A little bit information about Home-Made Yogurt:
Home made yogurt is runny than commercial ones. Yogurt has 85% moisture content! And home made yogurt doesn't contain any thickening agents:).
I have few tips to avoid it; When you place the yogurt into the fridge do not shake it! Keep it in the fridge for a day. Then scoop out:) When I make yogurt, I always place cheesecloth (folded a few times) on it to absorb the water. Squeeze out the water 1 or 2 times:)
Yogurt should has kaymak on the surface. So when you mix the yogurt with milk try not to touch (or not to break) to the surface of the milk which already has thin kaymak. When you add the yogurt, you need to mix it by inserting the spoon to the bottom mix it under the kaymak without touching it.
The History of Yoğurt
The word “yoğurt” is Turkish in origin. The word comes from the Turkish word "yoğurt", deriving from the verb "yoğurtmak", which means "to blend" - a reference to how yogurt is made.
Central Asian Turks were the first to make Yoğurt. Most historical accounts attribute yoğurt to the Neolithic peoples of Central Asia around 6000 B.C. Herdsmen began the practice of milking their animals, and the natural enzymes in the carrying containers (animal stomachs) curdled the milk, essentially making yoğurt. Not only did the milk then keep longer, it is thought that people preferred the taste so continued the practice, which then evolved over centuries into commercial yoğurt making.
Recorded history states that Genghis Khan, the founder of the Mongol Empire, and his armies lived on yoğurt.
It wasn’t long before word of the perceived health benefits of yoğurt traveled through to other peoples and the consumption spread throughout the East. As it was first spreading into Europe, this dairy product was used for therapeutic purposes.
Turkish immigrants brought yoğurt to North America in the 1700s but it really didn’t catch on until the 1940s when Daniel Carasso, the son of Danone founder Isaac, and Juan Metzger took over a small yogurt factory in the Bronx, New York – the company is now called Dannon in the United States.
The popularity of yoğurt soared in the 50s and 60s with the boom of the health food culture and is now available in many varieties to suit every taste and lifestyle.
It is consumed plain or as a side dish or to make soups, desserts, sauce, to marinate meat and it is a big part of Turkish Cuisine. You can't find a Turkish house without yoğurt:)
It is recommendable to eat yoğurt every day, at least one cup :) Yoğurt has beneficial bacteria, calcium and protein. We believe yogurt cleanses the body from toxins and poisons.
Yoğurt made with active bacterial cultures produces lactase; the enzyme that allows us to digest lactose. Consequently, yoğurt would be tolerated by many people who are lactose intolerant.
How to Make Creamy (Strained) Yogurt:
Place a strainer with a paper towel on top over a bowl. Place some yogurt on it and fold the edges of the paper towel over the yogurt. Leave in the fridge overnight. You'll have creamy yogurt waiting in the morning.
Do not discard the water content of yogurt when you strain it, instead use it when making pide and bread at home. Or, you can drink it which is quite good for health:)