Homemade Greek Yogurt

I eat a lot of greek yogurt. It’s my go-to for almost any time of the day, whenever I’m hungry but also too lazy to actually cook something. I keep an entire shelf of glass containers on hand always filled with nuts, seeds, coconut shavings and cacao nibs so I can quickly whip up a filling and healthy snack. I avoid adding sugar or too much fruit to my yogurt, and instead opt for sweet flavorings such as cinnamon and vanilla. My favorite is to pile roasted almonds, shredded coconut and maybe a sprinkling of salty sunflower seeds on top of this cinnamon Macca yogurt.
There are a few tricks to making good homemade greek yogurt. First, you have to use whole milk. Do not try to use skim or even 2%. Every once in a while I’ll have only skim milk on hand and I’ll try to turn it into greek yogurt. It always tastes overwhelmingly sour, with a grainy texture that also somehow manages to be watery. I end up tossing the batch and starting anew with whole fat milk while wondering why I can never seem to listen to my own advice.
Secondly, you need to whisk the yogurt. When I first started making homemade yogurt a few years ago, I was too lazy to break out my hand mixer and whisk the finished yogurt. I often fall victim to that common overwhelmed feeling that occurs whenever one has to break out an appliance that requires plugging something new into an outlet. In an effort to avoid the task of getting the electric mixer out, I would simply glop the strained yogurt into Tupperware and give it a quick stir. This resulted in lumpy, inconsistent yogurt that definitely looked homemade. Do yourself and your loved one’s justice by giving the yogurt a quick whirl with a hand mixer before storing. The electric mixer will finish the yogurt into a creamy velvety texture that your forearms just can’t muster.
Finally, my last tip is to keep things simple. Don’t worry about getting a yogurt maker or a yogurt starter. I use a large pot, and my oven light to make my yogurts. I haven’t used a yogurt starter in years, instead, I just always inoculate my new batch with a bit of my old, or some plain store-bought yogurt. I don’t have anything fancy to strain the yogurt with, just a clean flour-sack towel over a colander does the trick!

Recipe for Easy No-Fuss Homemade Greek Yogurt with Maca and Cinnamon

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Homemade Greek Yogurt

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Nutrition per portion

    Ingredients
    • 1 gallon Whole Milk
    • 1/2 cup Plain Yogurt (use your favorite brand, make sure the label says "contains live active cultures"
    • 1 tsp Vanilla Bean Powder or 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
    • 2 tsp Maca Powder
    • 2 tsp Cinnamon
    Method
    1. Pour milk into a large pot on the stove top. Heat the milk on medium low heat, stirring regularly until an instant-read thermometer reads 180F.
    2. While the milk is heating, prepare an ice bath. I use my kitchen sink, plugging the drain, adding lots of ice and filling half way with cold water. In the winter, I skip this step and simply place the pot outside in the snow.
    3. Once the milk reaches 180F, take the pot off the stove top and let it sit for a few minutes to cool down slightly before placing it in the ice bath. The goal is to cool the milk down quickly, but if you take the pot off the stove and place into an ice bath too quickly, you will warp your pot.
    4. When the milk temperature is below 100F, remove from the ice bath/snowbank and stir in the yogurt.
    5. Cover the pot and place it in a cold oven with the light on. The light from the oven will be sufficient to keep the yogurt at a warm temperature to allow it to ferment.
    6. Allow the yogurt to ferment for at least 8 hours and up to 48 hours. The longer you allow it to ferment, the tangier the taste will be. Use a clean spoon to periodically taste the yogurt.
    7. Once the yogurt has fermented to your liking, remove it from the oven and pour it into a cheesecloth or tea towel lined colander placed inside a larger bowl. Allow the whey to drain off from the yogurt. This process can take up to an hour depending on how thick you want to make the yogurt. Mix up the yogurt while it is straining and scrap the sides of the tea towel/cheesecloth to help speed up the process. You can save the whey for fermenting or to use as a refreshing drink with ice.
    8. When the consistency is to your liking, scoop the yogurt into a large mixing bowl and add the vanilla, maca, and cinnamon. Whisk with an electric hand mixer until smooth.
    9. Pour into containers and store in the fridge for up to 10 days.

    No need to get a special yogurt maker, a cold oven with the oven light turned on will work just perfectly!

    The consistency of the yogurt when it comes out of the oven will be more loose and chunky. That’s ok, straining the yogurt through a cloth and using an electric hand mixer will turn it into a rich, silky greek yogurt!

    I use a clean tea towel to strain my yogurt. It is easier to clean and works better than cheesecloth. I just lay it over my colander (just a cheap plastic white one from the dollar store) and place it in a big salad bowl to capture the whey that drains out.

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