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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Homemade Yogurt from Lactaid Milk

Back in the day when I had nothing better to do than to sit home and make cultured food, I made homemade cheese, yogurt, and kefir. I did this often. There were usually a few kinds of science experiments hanging out on top of our fridge or inside it.

Once I had kids, I found it hard to make time to do these things, and exchanged paying a little more money for the convenience of buying packaged yogurt and cheese. But I'm on WIC, and I get a lot of milk each month. Baby T doesn't drink that much milk, and there is a lot of extra. What can you do with extra milk from WIC? Well, you can freeze it.

You can also make yogurt from it. I get a lot of Lactaid milk, and I wasn't sure if making homemade yogurt from Lactaid would work. I did some research, and although I'm not sure I quite understand it, it seems like the good bacteria uses the lactose in the milk to help create the yogurt. So I wasn't sure using Lactose-free milk would result in yogurt. But last week, as I was procrastinating doing other things, I decided to try a homemade lactose-free yogurt recipe.

It worked.

This website devoted to making homemade yogurt is a great resource for homemade yogurt recipes. It answers a lot of questions and has comprehensive instructions. I'm not going to reinvent the wheel, but I did want to explain how my method differed a little from the methods on this website.

This is the brief version of how to make yogurt from lactose-free milk. I used a half gallon of store-brand lactose-free milk, which made two quart-sized mason jars of yogurt. I used three tablespoons of Stonyfield Farms whole milk yogurt as my starter.
  1. Boil water in a large pot. Add to the boiling water: mason jars and lids and the metal spoon you'll use to stir the yogurt. Boil for a few minutes to sterilize. Take everything out and drain it on a towel near your work area.
  2. You'll need to remove a lot of the boiling water from the big pot. I transferred it to a smaller pot so I could boil it and add it to mason jars at the end. That's how I keep my yogurt warm while it thickens. You'll see.
  3. Put your smaller pot in your bigger pot and add the milk. (The level of milk and water should be roughly the same.) This was what my setup looked like. I didn't take a picture of it, but I used a thermometer that came with my lodge cast iron frying pot. You can use a candy thermometer or any thermometer made for high-heat liquids:
  4. Heat milk to 185 degrees F. I kept it there for about 15 minutes, which involved a lot of stirring and adjusting the temperature.
  5. Transfer the smaller pot to a sinkful of cold water mixed with ice. Keep the thermometer in the milk and stir occasionally. 
  6. When the milk reaches 110 degrees F, stir in 3 tablespoons of yogurt (the yogurt starter must contain active cultures. It will say so on the label). It was pretty lumpy, so I stirred it briskly with a whisk.
  7. Pour the yogurt into your mason jars and put in a small cooler. This is the cooler I used:
  8. Then, pour boiling water into three more mason jars and put the lids on. Stick them in the cooler with your yogurt.
  9. Leave the cooler where it will sit undisturbed for 7-8 hours, then take out the yogurt, give it a good stir with a clean spoon, and put it in the fridge.
  10. You now have two jars of pristine white, creamy homemade yogurt!

Homemade yogurt is much less tangy than its store-bought counterpart. It is smooth and creamy and mild-tasting. The yogurt I made with lactose-free milk is almost sweet on its own. It would be perfect to use instead of sour cream, as an herbed dip for veggies, or with a little brown sugar and vanilla added as a dip for apples:

I can use the yogurt I made as a starter for my next batch of yogurt. I'll freeze a few cubes in an ice cube tray before I start dipping my spoon in the yogurt repeatedly (so I don't introduce bad bacteria to my starter). I'll just bring it to room temperature before I make my next batch of homemade yogurt. Yum. And cheap. I'm hoping to wean Baby T off of his gogurt addiction by mixing jam or fruit compote into this plain yogurt. We'll see how that goes.

This recipe is linked up at:
Mandy’s Recipe BoxTasty TuesdaysDelicious Dishes Blog Party


I Thought I Knew Mama said... Best Blogger Tips

Gaby, I think you could find a creative way to make or do anything in the world! ;-)

Judi @ Frugal Frolic said... Best Blogger Tips

Visiting from Delicious Dishes -- thanks for sharing this! I was wondering about making lactose free yogurt -- thanks for your post!

KW said... Best Blogger Tips

wow, i'm on wic and have tons of lactaid...and we eat tons of yogurt. i must try this too! thank you for sharing!!!

Tmuffin said... Best Blogger Tips

Awesome! That's exactly why I tried this!

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