Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Home-made Yogurt

Had I known that making yogurt was so easy, I would have tried years ago. As I learned in Mireille Guiliano's best seller "French Women Don't Get Fat" (a fun summer read that reinstates many basics), a yogurt maker is totally optional. All that is required is uniform, constant warmth. An oven, turned off but with the light on, is enough. I followed her recipe:

- 1 liter 2% milk
- 1 or 2 tbsp yogurt as starter (preferably a good one with live cultures... I used Sonoma County's Saint-Benoît)

  1. Slowly bring the milk to a boil on medium-low heat. Turn off the heat as soon as the milk is steaming and small bubbles form on the edges of the pot.
  2. Transfer to another pot (or bowl) at room temperature and wait until a thermometer reads between 110F and 115F (about 45 degrees C).
  3. Mix the starter (yogurt) with a few ladles of warm milk. Then pour into the pot of milk and stir well.
  4. Fill jars and place in the oven (turned off). Cover jars with a clean cloth. Switch on the oven light. You can place a bowl of hot water in the oven if you fear the temperature won't be high enough. Wait 8 hours without opening the oven door.
  5. Cover the jars with plastic wrap and place in the fridge. Wait another 8 hours.
I obtained a very creamy and uniform yogurt. It wasn't quite as solid as the original Saint-Benoît from the store but it wasn't liquid or watery either. It was so soft and sweet that I didn't need to add anything to it. A pure marvel.


Kova said...

Hey! I love making my own yogurt! It is so much better and fresher than store bought. I have a few posts about it on my site if you want to check it out... I also got the idea from French Women Don't Get Fat, and 101 Cookbooks.

Kova said...

Love your website - BTW! I feel like you like to make things from scratch too - like your homemade cheese post. I am anxious to try it!

Betty C. said...

Yum! I've never tried that but I'm sure it is delicious.

Derek said...

Wow! I always wanted to try this.

The Cooking Ninja said...

My MIL make her own yogurt :) My daughter always have one at her grandma's place :)

b said...


i was looking over your blog and just found it fascinating! I'm actually from Sunnyvale to and I'm trying to learn how to cook more french food. I was going to ask you if you teach cooking or if I could shadow you in your kitchen. Please email me if this would be a possibility.

I'm actually trying to do something special for my girlfriend's bday and she always cooks for me because I'm a horrible cook, but I want to try to make something special for me. My email is at the bottom if you can help me. Thanks!

b said...

woops! i meant to make something special for her!

Anonymous said...

J'ai fait cuire cousine français pour la plupart de ma vie.
Mais, je ne suis pas le français, je suis un américain.
Ainsi pardonnez s'il vous plaît mon pauvre français.
J'ai une question simple. J'ai eu l'habitude de savoir le terme pour
le bâti de beurre dans un four néerlandais, mais j'ai oublié.
Le Poulet d'Usualy et il est placé sur un lit ou légumes aromatique.

merci pour votre temps.
J'attends impatiemment d'explorer votre BLOG


Estelle said...

Thank you for all your comments. Sorry I didn't get a chance to get back to you... Hope you tried this recipe and that b's girlfriend's birthday was a success. Eric, I don't know this dish you are talking about... Do you have more details about it?
Happy holidays everyone!

Sorina said...

I love it, it’s just delicious

Miam said...

Bonjour, je suis l'auteur du Blog "Miam recettes des copains" et je vois souvent sur mon compteur de visite "Sunnyvale" alors j'aurais aimé savoir si c'est vous qui me rendez visite?
sinon venez me voir et laisser moi un petit mot!

Estelle said...

Bonjour Michel,
Non ce n'est pas moi mais ca pourrait le devenir... J'ai mange mon premier Potjevleesch cet ete chez une amie a Arras. Quel plaisir d'en trouver la recette !

Khun Ying said...

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Anyone can edit the directory entry. To start it out, I tagged it as "French cuisine, blog", and I gave it this description "Nice French recipes!" Your readers and fans can vote for you by giving you a star here.

See you around! :)

Haley said...

We would like to feature this recipe on our blog. Please email if interested. Thanks :)


Drisgal said...

Thank you for such a simple yogurt recipe! Can't wait to try this out.

I'm new at making homemade yogurt, and have a question: how long can I expect it to remain fresh?

Estelle said...

When I buy yogurts at the store the expiration date is always weeks away. So I guess it's the same with this homemade yogurt? The milk is boiled... It's probably best to do yogurt in small batches, though, and eat within a week.

D York said...

I tried making the yogurt and it came out very liquidy. The first time I used Oui by yoplait and 2% milk. Half was firm but the bottom half was runny like American style yogurt. I used whole milk and siggi yogurt the second time and it was completely runny. Not firm like French style yogurt at all. Can you tell me what I'm doing wrong. I'm used to making Greek yogurt all the time but I can't seem to get the consistency right for French yogurt.

Estelle said...

Thanks for the question! I've had many setbacks with yogurt making over the years too. They've come out either too runny or too "cooked" (grainy/curdy) more times than I can count. Here is what seems to work the best for me:
- I use whole milk
- I boil the milk for a minute to let some of the water evaporate
- I let the milk go down to room temperature (no need to wait until it reaches some precise temperature--this is too cumbersome).
- I combine a tablespoon of powdered milk with 2 tablespoons of yogurt before adding a ladle of room-temperature milk to this mix, then pour into the milk (don't add the powdered milk to the warm milk directly as you'll get clumps).
- I caved in a bought a $25 yogurt maker to get more consistent heat. My mom packs the jars tightly into a small cooler so that there is very little air around the jars, and this is enough to keep them warm (without a heat source).
In my case the yogurts come out very creamy and delicious, but almost never as firm as "French" yogurt. More like what is labeled "European style" yogurt in stores.
I hope this helps... Good luck!