What to CookAmanda & Merrill

Homemade Yogurt

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- Merrill

A few weeks ago, Amanda and I met up with Mireille Guiliano, the author of Why French Women Don’t Get Fat. Over lunch, we chatted about everything from being the CEO of a large company to Magnolia Bakery cupcakes. Mireille also told us about her yogurt maker, which she turns to on a weekly basis instead of buying yogurt at the supermarket. Listening to her rave about how easy her yogurt maker is to use, and how well it works, I began to think that this was something I might like to have around the kitchen.

So, I asked for this yogurt maker from my husband for Valentine’s Day. (Super romantic, right?) And, because he's a wonderful, thoughtful husband, he got it for me -- along with a few packets of yogurt starter. Sigh.

The contraption is hardly a feat of high technology -- it consists of a base, a plastic cover and a simple heating mechanism, and it comes with 7 lidded glass yogurt jars -- but it fits easily on my counter and does the job of evenly and gently heating the yogurt for a sustained period of time (mine has an automatic shut-off timer, but you may want to opt for this simpler version if you’re better at keeping track of time than I am).

The manual provides basic instructions and proportions for a few types of yogurt (plain, with jam, with syrup, etc.), and it’s easy to use these as a jumping off point for other recipes. I tested out my yogurt maker for the first time last week, whipping up a few jars of plain, a few flavored with honey and vanilla, and a couple infused with espresso.

I sweetened the vanilla and espresso yogurt lightly; feel free to adjust the sweetness to your taste. And I used organic 2% milk. The yogurt had great flavor, with a nice delicate tang, but there was a little more whey swimming around the edges than I might have liked, and the texture, while smooth, could have been a bit creamier. I'd go with whole milk next time.

All in all, I'm converted. The yogurt base is easy and quick to make, and eating your own homemade yogurt out of little glass pots feels so very French. Plus, the yogurt really is good, and the flavor possibilities are endless. If you don’t have --or don't want to invest in -- a yogurt maker of your own, here is a great resource for making homemade yogurt without any extra equipment.

Homemade Yogurt

Makes seven 6-ounce jars

  • 9 cups (40 ounces) milk (you can use low fat or skim, but I recommend organic whole milk for the best results)
  • 1 tablespoon starter or 1/2 cup yogurt with active live cultures

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