Yesterday I posted about making vanilla bean yogurt and today I thought I would share the recipe with you and show you the end result. This works out really well if you bought a pound of vanilla beans off of eBay and are trying to find ways to use them up (like me) other than making more vanilla extract. I have enough for me for a year, plus I have made enough for Christmas presents too :) I love getting things done early in the year!
Here is my yogurt, all done and in the bowl:
It's really hard to take a picture of white yogurt when there isn't any natural light yet. As you can see, it is thick enough to float a spoon. I may strain mine just a little to get it slightly thicker, or you can add a package of plain gelatin.
Close up of yogurt on a spoon. As you can see, it is thick enough to mound up on the spoon and I love how all the little specks of vanilla bean look. This is so delicious, I had some with granola this morning and my, oh, my. I'm in love.
Vanilla Bean Yogurt
1 gallon milk (whole or 2% works best)
2 cups yogurt with live active cultures
1 cup instant non-at milk (optional)
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a large crock pot, heat the milk, vanilla bean pod and the scraped seeds on high until bubbles form around the edges (about 180 degrees), if you are using the powdered milk, add it in this step and make sure that it is really well mixed and no lumps remain. funky things will happen if there are clumps of powdered milk and it's not tasty, trust me on this one. When it has come up to temperature, turn off the heat, unplug the crock pot and let it cool to 110-116. When it has cooled, add in the yogurt culture and the vanilla extract. Pot the lid back on the crock pot and wrap it with a bath towel. Let it sit on your counter, wrapped and undisturbed, for about 6-8 hours. In the warmer months, I find that 6-7 hours does the trick. In the colder months I have had to leave it sit for as much as 10 hours. Once it has thickened to nearly yogurt-like texture, transfer it to a jar or bowl and refrigerate it or at least 8 hours so it can cool completely.
I usually make yogurt in the morning, let it sit all day, put it in the fridge overnight and start eating the next day. It takes about 2-3 hours in my crock pot for the milk to come up to 180 degrees and then about another hour to cool off. So yes, it's a lot of time, but you aren't doing anything for most of it.
You can leave out the vanilla and make it plain then add fruit or jam to it later. I haven't tried adding fruits to it as it cooks yet, but I'm sure I will at some point ;)
Oh, and one last thing~ I don't sweeten my yogurt, but you certainly can. Add a little sugar or honey with the milk before you heat it and you should be good to go. I'm guessing anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 cup, depending on how sweet you like it.
Make some yogurt today so you can eat it tomorrow!!! LOL