Until a year and a half ago, I never knew that you could buy yogurt at the store. At least not the kind you get here in the USA. Yogurt in India is always flavored. If we needed the kind we get here, we would always make it and it was called curd. Curd was available in stores, of course, but we seldom bought it.
Yogurt is one of the simplest thing you will ever make in life but back at home, it was a tradition of sorts. My grandmother always made it look nothing short of a brief ceremony and her grandchildren were seldom allowed to make it. She probably was afraid that we would add a tad too much of yogurt to the milk which would make it sour. My home was always known for a never-ending supply of sweet tasting yogurt in the refrigerator so I kind of understand her trepidation. Now, yogurt in India is a staple part of our pantry. We eat it with rice; add water, salt and sugar and make Lassi, Neer Mor or what we call buttermilk in India and even use it in side-dishes.
Its an ancient belief that the hand that makes the yogurt decides its outcome: When some people make it, it would come out perfectly but when others make it, there will be an overload of tang, which some people savor. And I was not one of them. Hence I should consider myself lucky because I have a sweet yogurt hand which my mother let me develop when she eventually took over the kitchen back in India after my grandmother passed. Let the old wives’ tale not bother you because I think it is your control over the yogurt that really decides its tang level.
Anyway, when I landed here, I got into the habit of buying yogurt, which used to cost anywhere between ¢.99 and $2.99 for a 32 fl.oz. (low fat). I used to buy 2% milk and make it sometimes and it always worked out cheaper at $3.29 for 1 gallon (138 fl.oz) When we got into the organic mode of life, I figured it would be even more economical to make yogurt regularly ($6.29 for 1 gallon vs. $4.29 for 32 fl.oz). It is, look at how much I am saving!
So here is an easy recipe for making yogurt at home. All it requires is a gallon of 2% milk (or full-fat milk if you are making Greek yogurt), which you have to boil on med-low for 30-45 minutes, until it forms a thin layer of cream on the top. Let it rest until it becomes warm. To this, add two Tbsp of store-bought yogurt. Mix it, close it with a lid and let it hang out in a warm place on your kitchen counter (the oven, with the lights switched on works very well). Now, we’ve got to wait… for 8 hours. The yogurt would have set, kind of like custard. Refrigerate it and use it as you would regular yogurt.
Oh yeah, that simple!
Update: Use whipping cream instead of milk if you want to make sour cream. You don’t have to boil or even heat it, let it be at room temperature.
Ps: Ladles and High heels is looking forward to a format change from the next post. I got a crash course from a friend about blog photography and he recommended that I do away with something and add something else on. So here is me looking forward to the newer format too!