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It’s been a couple months since my wife, Anna, joined me in the DIY craze. I do woodworking, while she’s all into cleaning products, cosmetics… and now she’s even started making foods we’d normally buy from the supermarket: bread, pickles and dairy products.I don’t know about the pickles yet, but I do know her bread is absolutely delicious and the yogurt is so much richer than anything I’ve bought on the market.
I don’t know what it is that makes it taste so… homemade.
However, I felt a bit guilty at first, knowing she spends all these long hours in the kitchen making things we could easily get on a 15-minute shopping spree at the store round the corner… All until last Saturday, when I watched her making yoghurt and realised it’s not only simple to make, but it also saves us a lot of money on the long run. Plus, you can make a ton of other simple recipes based on homemade yogurt. Yogurt dressings, ricotta cheese, mozzarella… you can do all these at home. Here are the exact recipes my wife used, so you get just-as-delicious results.
DIY Greek Yogurt
My wife uses a recipe she found on SeriousSeats, because the instructions are simple and clear.
- 8 cups milk
- 4 tablespoons plain yogurt with live and active cultures or freeze-dried yogurt starter
- 6 cups of strained Greek-style yogurt
- two quart-sized jars with lids
- one 1/2-pint-sized jar with lid
- one small cooler
- In a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, bring milk to 180°F, stirring regularly to prevent scorching. Once milk has reached temperature, allow it to cool to 110°F (place pot in an ice bath to speed cooling, if desired).
- When milk has cooled, add yogurt to the pot and whisk thoroughly to combine.
- Pour milk and starter mixture into two quart-sized jars (and smaller 1/2-pint, if using) and screw on lids. Place them in a small insulated cooler and fill with 120°F water until jars are submerged nearly up to their lids. Close cooler and leave in a draft-free, undisturbed place for six hours or until desired tartness is achieved.
- When incubation is complete, remove jars from water bath and place in refrigerator for at least six hours to halt culturing and set yogurt.
- At this point, yogurt may be eaten, but to achieve a Greek-style consistency, it will need to be strained. Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and line it with two layers of cheesecloth. Spoon yogurt into lined strainer and allow to drain for two hours or until desired thickness is achieved.
- Transfer yogurt to a storage container and refrigerate until needed. Remaining leftover whey (approximately two cups) may be reserved for another use if desired.
DIY Ranch Dressing with Greek Yogurt
- ½ cup thick Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- ¼ tsp. onion powder
- ¼ tsp. celery seed
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. chopped fresh herbs (optional)
The simplest instructions ever:
- Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Take a taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
- Use on salad or as a dip for vegetable sticks.
That’s it. It’s extremely simple, but it’s very tasty and goes perfectly with baked potatoes, trust me on that.
DIY Spreadable Yogurt Cheese
According to Willy Street co-op, if you want to make cheese out of your yogurt, you should use whole milk, but you can also use soy milk, if you like.
- 1 quart plain yogurt
- Herbs, spices
- 15 in. square piece of cheesecloth
- Cut cheesecloth into 15-inch square.
- Pour yogurt into center of cheesecloth, and tie the corners together, tightly.
- Now, this is where you make a choice based on your ideas of food safety. Traditionally, this cheese is made by stringing up the yogurt bag over a sink or bowl and allowing the liquid to drip out over the course of a couple of days. Many modern DIY cheese enthusiasts advocate performing this process in the refrigerator to avoid unwanted bacteria. However, the whole point of yogurt is the bacteria, because the bacteria (a.k.a. the “live active cultures”) benefit us. However, you may, if you prefer, place the cheesecloth bag in a colander and place the colander in the bowl. Set this in the fridge and allow it to drip for a couple of days, emptying the liquid (whey) periodically.
- Once your cheese has reached the desired texture/firmness (cheese curds), remove the cheese from the cheesecloth and place it in a bowl to store it.
- Season with your choice of herbs and spices. You can add garlic and dried herbs from the garden (so that they’re still local even though it’s winter).
DIY Ricotta Cheese
This one’s from BonAppetit and it’s explained in a plain, simple manner. My wife got it right on the third try. The first two tasted good, as well, but the texture was not “by the book”. So don’t worry if this doesn’t come out perfectly on the first try, it will eventually.
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1 cup cream
- 1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
- 3 tbsp. lemon juice
- large spoon (not slotted) or measuring cup
- large bowl
- 2 cups
- Combine 4 cups whole milk, 1 cup cream, 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, and 2 Tbsp. lemon juice in a saucepan and bring just to a boil without stirring. Immediately remove pan from heat.
- Let mixture stand for 15 minutes at room temperature. As time passes, the curds will begin to separate from the whey. If only a few curds form, your lemon may not be acidic enough; add another 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, gently stir so you don’t break up the curds too much, and let stand for 5 minutes more.
- Using a large spoon (not slotted) or measuring cup, spoon curds into a cheesecloth-lined sieve set over a large bowl. The longer you drain the ricotta, the denser and more flavorful the cheese will be.
That’s it for today. I hope you’ll enjoy making >your own dairy products and don’t forget to share your making-of stories with us in the comments sections.
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