I grew up eating no dairy at all. To this day I’m still not sure if I had some type of intolerance or what exactly, but according to my mom I would not tolerate any kind of milk. Who knows?? Truth is I couldn’t even stand the smell of milk and I would suffer any time I would go on a summercamp or sleepover if there was the slightest possibility that I had to drink milk. But time went by, and I can’t remember when or how but little by little I started to introduce some dairy to my diet, mainly cheese and yogurt. Today I looooove cheese, loooove my yogurt and I’m okay with cream. I still don’t drink milk, and anything that has a “milky” flavor I pass.
Many years ago I bought a yogurt maker. It took me several attempts to find a combination of milk and starter that would give me a yogurt that I liked both in taste and consistency. When I did yogurt back in Spain, I would just take yogurt, milk, mixed it and done! Well, the first time I did yogurt here in the US that didn’t happen, nothing happened actually… That’s when I learnt the differences between the UHT milk (ultra-high temperature; the one mainly used in Europe, shelf-stable, no refrigeration required) and the HTST milk (High Temperature/Short Time; the one found here in the US, refrigeration required).
For me, having to heat the HTST milk and let it cool was an
extra step I did not want to do, so I stuck with UHT milk. Here in the US I
only find Parmalat or Natrel and they are way more expensive than refrigerated
milk, so that’s something to consider. As a starter the one that worked best for
me was the plain whole milk Dannon yogurt and that’s the one I used for many
years. But as I was getting ready for this post, I tried the Plain Greek yogurt
from Costco (Kirkland brand) and it works beautifully! It actually gives me a
bit of a richer yogurt that the plain Dannon, so I’ve been using the Costco one
When making yogurt, there are basically three main variables
you can play with: temperature, milk protein content and initial culture. The
science of yogurt says that the higher the initial milk temperature, the richer
and thicker the yogurt; the more protein in the milk, the thicker the yogurt;
and different cultures (L. Bulgaricus, S. Thermophilus, L. Casei) give
different viscosity and thickness to the yogurt as well. You need to experiment a bit with your
milk-starter combination until you find the one that will give you the taste
and consistency you like in your yogurt.
Homemade yogurt is something worth pursuing. It is extremely
easy to make and you are in control of what you eat. Once you start there is no