Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch! SIX group classes a week!

    Nia: Tues and Thurs at 9 am, Fri at 10:15 am

    Yoga: Tues at 10:30 am and Thurs at 6:00 pm

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:15 am

    Please see my website for details! I sub for the City of San Jose and the YMCA so check my website for dates and times!

    I am also available for private Nia / yoga / Personal Training!

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • My Bloggey Past

  • ******

    Chose a month above to visit archives, or click below to visit a page.

Archive for the ‘Yogurt’ Category

Homemade Yogurt Instructions

Posted by terrepruitt on July 25, 2013

Homemade Yogurt instructions

You will need:
—1/2 gallon milk (I use Organic Valley 1%)
—Pot large enough to heat ½ gallon of milk
—Two bowls – one large enough to hold the milk, and one large enough to let the milk bowl nest in ice (or you can just use your sink)
—2 Tbsp plain yogurt as a starter
—An extra canning jar for blending the culture – or you can use a bowl and whisk it together
—A ladle
—A spoon (to stir the milk)
—A measuring spoon to measure the starter
—A thermometer (one that has a range of 100°-180° F)
—A suitable number of canning jars/lids/bands to ferment your yogurt in (for ½ gallon I have about 11, plus one 8 oz jars)
—Couple of jars of warm water – to maintain the fermenting environment
—A cooler big enough to hold all of the jars. This is your fermentation environment
—A couple of towels – to help insulate your fermentation environment
—A canning funnel (optional)

This is a multi-step process.

—Before you begin refer to the tips regarding sterilizing all equipment. (click here)

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba, PiYo—Heat the the milk slowly to 170°/180° F. Stir occasionally and before testing the temperature. (I use medium heat. About 20 minutes.) Stirring prior to taking the temperature makes for a more accurate reading on your thermometer. When the correct temperature is reached your milk will be steaming and you will be able to smell it. It will be a pleasant sweet smell not burned.)

—While your milk heats up, prepare the cooling bath by filling one bowl with ice & water and nesting the other bowl on top of the ice-water. I fill one side of my sink with water and ice then I put my pot in the ice/water.

—After the milk has reached 170°/180° F, pour the milk into the bowl sitting in the ice water or put your pot in the ice water. Cool the milk to 110° F. Stir frequently to distribute the cooling milk from the sides of the bowl/pot with the warm milk in the interior. This will help speed the process and help you get an accurate reading from your thermometer.

—While the milk cools, fill your jars that are going to sit with the yogurt with warm water. Arrange them in the cooler.

—While the milk cools, warm your canning jars with warm water. Just fill them up with hot water and empty them when you are ready to fill the jars with milk. This helps maintain the temperature for fermentation. Alternatively, if you have run your jars through the dishwasher and they are still hot from the cycle, leave them in the dishwasher until they are needed.

—When the milk has reached 110° F remove the bowl/pot from the ice bath. This keeps the milk from cooling even further.

—Ladle a small amount of the cooled milk into the extra canning jar. Add the 2 tbls of yogurt and shake. Then add the mixture back into the bowl of cooled milk, mixing well to make sure that the yogurt culture is distributed throughout the milk.

—Ladle the milk into your jars. Here is where you use the canning funnel if you have one. Wipe any spilled milk off the top of the jar rims and seal the jars tightly with a lid and band. Label the jars with the date the yogurt was made.

—Place the jars into the cooler, interspersed with the jars of warm water. Snug the jars up with a couple of towels. The idea is to maintain ideal heat conditions for fermentation. Close the cooler and put it in an out of the way place for 8-12 hours.

—Leave it alone for the entire 8-12 hours. While the yogurt is growing its good stuff it does not want to be disturbed.

—After the 8-12 hour period, open up the cooler and check the yogurt. It should have set up and become firm.

— Refrigerate and enjoy within two weeks of the “made on” date and remember to reserve two tablespoons for your next batch.

If you have doubts as to the safety of the product (doesn’t smell right, color/texture is wrong), don’t take any chances. Just throw it out and start over.

Remember this is an unstrained yogurt so it is going to be much more “runny” than the average store bought yogurt.

These original instructions I received were taken, but not directly quoted, from, “Canning for a New Generation” by Liana Krissoff and Rinne Allen. If you are interested in sharing this with anyone, please also refer them to this book. I have adjusted and added to it to document the process I have used.

So are you ready? Let me know how your yogurt turns out!

Posted in "Recipes", Food, Yogurt | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Yogurt Making Tips

Posted by terrepruitt on July 23, 2013

Making yogurt is so easy it is mind blowing.  I always thought you needed a special yogurt making machine or something.  But it is not that difficult at all.  All you need are a few things including a thermometer, a pot, two bowls or a sink, and canning jars.  There are more things but that is the basics.  Even though it is really easy I decided to split the post between yogurt making tips and the actual instructions. I am posting the tips first because if you are like me you jump right to the recipe, skipping the tips thinking they are just “extra”.  Then half way through the recipe I am wondering how to do this or that and realize that information is in the tips.  So tips first, then instructions.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba, PiYo—Before you begin, wash ALL of your equipment with hot soapy water and rinse well with hot water.

Equipment means anything that will touch the milk:  the pot, the bowl, the ladle, the spoon, the measuring spoon, all jars, lids, funnel and bands (bands don’t generally TOUCH the milk, but close enough), the portion of the thermometer that will touch the milk.

You can use your dishwasher for dishwasher-safe things.

Sterilizing everything helps keep any bacteria or germs from being introduced to and contaminating your yogurt.

—After washing lay out all cleaned equipment on a clean towel.

—If you have used the dishwasher to wash your canning jars right before you make your yogurt, you might want to keep the jars in the dishwasher until you are ready to fill them.  This will keep the jars warm.  Laura, of Beadzilla, who gave me this recipe noted that she has forgotten to heat the jars and has not had any problems.

—Even after you have calculated how many jars you need, have a few more washed and ready to go just in case.  You might decide not to fill the jars all the way to the top so you might need more than you think.

I have made three batches of yogurt and I think it sets up thicker when the milk heats to 180° F and it ferments for TWELVE hours.

—Heating up the milk takes about 20 minutes.  I actually set my timer for 20 minutes so I have an idea of how long the milk has to go.

—The jars you want to use as warmer in the cooler can be pickle jars.  Or a few extra canning jars.  At present I have three jars.  When I place the canning jars in the cooler I like to make sure all the milk jars are touching at least one warm water jar.

—Make sure that your jars of warm water are not any hotter than you can touch or you might introduce too much heat to the process and kill the culture.

I put one towel on the bottom of the cooler, then put the warming jars in then arrange my jars of milk around them.

—When ladling the milk into the jars, I no longer worry about getting it on the rim/lip of the jar.  I would spend so much time trying to keep from spilling and then end up spilling anyway.  I don’t have a funnel.  So I just quickly put the milk in the jars then wipe them well before I seal.  I use a damp paper towel to wipe any spilled milk off the top of the jar rims and seal the jars tightly with a lid and band.  This ensures good contact between the jar and it’s lid.

—Don’t fill the jars all the way up.  Leave some room for your toppings/additions.  If you want to eat the yogurt right out of the jar and you plan on adding to it (honey, granola, fruit, vanilla, etc.) you’ll need room. 

Remember this is an unstrained yogurt so it is going to be much more “runny” than the average store bought yogurt.

—This entire process takes about an hour.  Remember to calculate the amount of time your yogurt needs to ferment and prepare it accordingly.  The first time I made it with my friend I had to take my jars from cooler to fridge at 1:00 am.  Usually not a problem for me but that morning it was.  The second time I had to refrigerate them at 5:00 am.  Now I make my yogurt by 10:00 am or 11:00 am so I am putting the jars in the fridge at 10:00 pm or 11:00 pm.  Whatever works for you, just remember to think of that before you start.

—DON’T EAT ALL OF YOUR YOGURT!  Remember you need at least 2 tablespoons for your next batch.

So these are just a few things I have learned.  A long list.  You will see the instructions are still long, but don’t let that deter you.  It is easy.

I hope you will share your what you have learned making yogurt.  What tips do you have?

Posted in Helpful Hints, Yogurt | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Yogurt Starter

Posted by terrepruitt on July 6, 2013

Six weeks ago I met a friend after teaching Nia and she mentioned making yogurt.  I love yogurt.  I get frustrated because all that I can find in the store is either non-fat or full fat.  I want either 1% or 2%, but I can’t find it.  Plus I am not a fan of most of the flavors of yogurt.  I don’t care for berries and that is a HUGE portion of the flavors out there; strawberry, cherry, raspberry, etc.  Not my thing.  What I sometimes do is I buy plain non-fat yogurt and I mix it a full fat flavored kind, but lately I have not been able to find a flavor that I like.  I love the Greek yogurt, but again I run into the same flavor and fat issue as non-Greek yogurt.  So anyway, when she said she makes yogurt, I know my eyes got big because I think that is difficult.  I also thought it required a yogurt MAKER.  But nope, she uses a two pots and a cooler.  So she invited me over to make it with her.  It was super easy.  I can honestly say the most difficult part is filling the jars without spilling — so I gave up on that.  So the part that is actually most difficult is washing the equipment.  Yeah, really, the “hardest” part of making yogurt is washing everything you are going to need to make the yogurt.  Doesn’t that tell you how easy making yogurt is?

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, ZumbaSo the very first time I made yogurt I did it with my friend.  Actually she did it and I just assisted.  But, again, it really is so easy there is not much to do.  The second time I made yogurt I did it on my own.  One thing you need to make yogurt is a thermometer.  See with yogurt you are heating the milk up to kill off the bad bacteria, then cooling it down to a nice cozy temperature to allow the good bacteria to grow.  So it helps to have a thermometer.  It actually seems wise to have one.  Although when I made my second batch, the one I did all by myself, I didn’t have a thermometer.  Well, I did, it just didn’t work.  It is not calibrated.  It started off at 180° (I got is down to 160° prior to using it).  It registered that the milk did heat up but I am not certain exactly how hot it actually got.  The instructions I have state that slowly heating the milk shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes.  So I heated the milk for almost 20 minutes.  Then I began to smell it.  I remembered when I made it with my friend I smelled it too.  So I figured I was doing ok.  At 20 minutes I took it of the burner and put it in the ice bath and even though my thermometer was not registering the CORRECT temperature, I watched it go down the 60 or 70° needed.

Two things I had wanted to do different with my second batch was heat it higher than the first batch and let it ferment longer.  Well, I don’t think I heated it higher because I didn’t have a good thermometer, but I did let it sit longer.  And that is the second most difficult part of making yogurt.  Letting it set without bothering it.  Without checking it.  Just leaving it alone.

As far as I can tell it came out fine.  It didn’t seem as tart as the first batch, but it seemed a tad bit thicker.  A half gallon of milk made 11 canning jars.  I have one and a half left and today I made my third batch.  Second on my own.  This time I had a thermometer.  I heated the milk to the temperature I wanted and I will let the yogurt ferment for 12 hours.

I started to write up the instructions, but I thought I had better make sure this batch comes out before I claim the recipe with the changes I have made a success.  After making the first batch I started looking up things and there is so much information out there I kind of was able to pick and choose.  After my second batch, I chose to believe the woman who said she never uses a thermometer and goes by steam and smell.  I hadn’t remembered it steaming so I was a bit worried, but it was fine.  I am working off of the people who want thicker yogurt and they heat it higher and let it sit longer.  I have not yet strained any yogurt, so my product is very runny.  But I like it.  It is good.

Here is to future posts about yogurt!  Can’t wait!  (Yogurt Making Tips post – 07.23.13 / Yogurt Instructions post 07.25.13)

Do you like yogurt?  What brand?  What flavor?

Posted in Food, Yogurt | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »