Thursday, March 3, 2016

Homemade Yogurt (KitchenAid Precise Heat Bowl)

Okay, you'll probably see a lot of recipes that use the Precise Heat Mixing Bowl because:

1) I spent a decent amount of money on this thing, and it wants to justify its existence in my kitchen.


2) I'm having fun testing it to see what works well.


3) I don't see a lot of recipe for it online. So I think it would be helpful for people to have some recipes to use.


4) Although the recipes here are written featuring the bowl, they could certainly be adapted for people who have fancy things like slow cookers or stoves. The advantage of this bowl over other sorts of cookers is that you can set an exact temperature. It makes sense for some things, and is just convenient for others. But still, the recipes can be made using other methods.

This time, I tackled yogurt.

I've made a lot of yogurt using a lot of different methods, mostly using low-tech methods like putting the yogurt mixture in a quart jar in the oven with the light on. Or putting it in a very-well-insulated container. Neither of those allow precise temperatures. So I figured I'd give it a shot in the magical precise bowl.

And, hey, it worked really well. Possibly the best result I've had so far.

Homemade Yogurt

1.5 liters* whole milk
1 7-ounce** container Fage Total*** yogurt

Put the milk in the Precise Heat Bowl with the cover on. Heat to 180**** degrees.

Turn the heat down to 110 degrees and wait for the temperature to go down. The bowl will beep a few times at first, but then it will stay silent. It won't tell you when it's down to 110 degrees, so you'll need to check it once in a while. You can remove the lid for faster cooling, and if you're puttering around in the kitchen, you can stir it a few time.

The milk will probably form a skin on as it cools. You can skim that off or whisk it in. Your choice.

When the milk is at 115 degrees or below, whisk in the yogurt. Set the timer for you preferred time. Four hours is about the minimum and will result in a very mild yogurt. I prefer 6-8 hours, which results in a yogurt that's a little more tart.

You can use the yogurt as-is, or strain it to make a Greek-style yogurt. I prefer it strained. A lot of people strain through cheesecloth or jelly bags, but I find that a fine-mesh strainer works just fine. I refrigerate the yogurt first, since that also helps it thicken a bit. Then I gently scoop the yogurt into the strainer and it doesn't fall through the holes. Obviously, if you push at the yogurt, it will go through the holes. So don't do that. Just lay it in there gently. As it thickens at the bottom, you can gently move the yogurt from the bottom to allow it to strain some more.

Once the yogurt is strained and is as thick as I want it, I put it in a bowl an whisk the heck out of it to make it smooth and silky because that's what I like. You could also use a stick blender, rather than hand-whisking. It will seem a little thinner after whisking, but will thicken again as it sits.

Depending on how thick you like your yogurt, you'll end up with about a quart of yogurt and a pint of whey (the liquid that drains). I use the whey instead of water when making bread, but you can discard it. Or use it in soup. Or ... there are a lot of other uses.

*This doesn't need to be super-precise. 6 cups of milk is close enough. I used Fairlife milk which comes in a 1.5 liter container, so it was a convenient amount for you. If you want more yogurt, you can use a half-gallon of milk.

**You don't actually need to use the whole container. It will work just fine with less. But I didn't need yogurt for any immediate use, and I knew I was going to have a lot of yogurt later. So I tossed in the whole thing. But if you're scooping out of a larger container, 1/4 cup will be fine.

***Use any plain yogurt you like as long as it has active cultures. I'd suggest reading the label and choosing on that's just milk and cultures. Thickeners and sweeteners and whatnot aren't needed.

****I've tried this heating to 160 degrees, which is what many commercial yogurt starters suggest, and the results were pretty much identical. Any temperature between the two should be fine.