It’s been quite awhile since I’ve made yogurt at home. During the summer of 2013, I won a gift card to Williams-Sonoma, and one of the things I bought with it was a yogurt maker/incubator. I used it twice, and then it went on a shelf to collect dust. Jay and I decided that we were going to do a trial-run of our New Year’s Resolutions, if you will, to eat more homemade and home-grown foods. Both of us have a tendency towards good intentions, but crap follow-through, so we used the last few days of December to at least try to get the homemade portion in full swing. I’ll nag him about the garden come March, assuming we don’t have 3 feet of snow on the ground. So I dug out the yogurt maker, and thought I’d try making Homemade Strawberry Yogurt.
I don’t mind plain yogurt–Especially if it’s Greek or Icelandic style, but I’m not all that fond of the “tang.” Which, I know, is part of the whole yogurt-eating experience. So I figured if I added some berries that were cooked down in a little syrup, that might cut the tartness a bit. The first time I made this, I ran frozen strawberries through my mini-chopper, but I fear I chopped them too finely, as I ended up with strawberry syrup that in a couple jars, turned the yogurt a weird light brownish color. It still tasted fine, but it looked less than appetizing. So the second time I made this, I used frozen strawberries again, but as they started cooking, I mashed them down with the back of a wooden spoon. That resulted in being better able to make my own “fruit on the bottom” yogurt.
The one thing I’m still working on is texture. I’ve grown accustomed to the thickness of Greek and Icelandic yogurts, which I love. Unless I want to go through the trouble of straining this stuff (and I don’t), I won’t quite get it, but adding in some nonfat dry milk powder does help thicken it somewhat. It’s not as thick as Greek/Icelandic, but it’s also not as thin/runny as your typical American-style yogurt either.
The other nice thing is that there’s nothing “funny” in here…Sugar, berries, milk, milk powder, and yogurt (you need already-made yogurt to culture your milk). So (depending on the yogurt you use for your culture) you control the ingredients (I used a cup of plain Siggi’s).
The other nice thing about making yogurt at home is that it’s easily customizable. Don’t like strawberries? Use raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries instead. Don’t want the fat in whole milk? Use 2% or skim. The possibilities are endless!