I recently got the itch to try to make my own yogurt. My mom made yogurt when I was growing up using one of these little 4 cup yogurt incubators that she got from turning in green stamps. Do you remember green stamps? I think it’s been years since I thought about those. I doubt they even exist anymore with the advent of things like super saver cards and credit card miles. It was one of my jobs to lick the stamps and paste them into the little book to turn in. Blech. But I always got to pick out something when we went to the little green stamps store, and that was fun.
So, back to the yogurt story… I was at the market, and they had raw goats milk and I decided that would make an interesting yogurt. My daughter and I have on again/off again lactose issues… not sure what triggers it, so I try to use goat’s milk when I can.
I haven’t made yogurt before, nor have I worked with raw milk. I know that there can be issues with it, but I got it from Whole Foods, so I decided it would probably be ok. After a bit of looking around, I found this site with straight forward instructions, including directions specific to using raw milk (which turns out, really aren’t any different than using pasteurized milk).
Making the yogurt is super easy:
- Heat the milk the milk to 115F
- Add a couple of tablespoons of yogurt as a starter
- Put in sterilized container
- Incubate for about 8 hours
- Move to the refrigerator
You can incubate without a special device. Just put the container in a small cooler and cover it with a heating pad set on high.
Because I used raw goats milk, mine yogurt was quite runny… like traditional European yogurt. Runny, and quite good. And perfect to make a version of the gorgeous yogurt pops that graced the cover of the January Australian Vogue Travel & Entertainment.
I ended up combining two different recipes for my pops… the berry yogurt ice blocks and the strawberry rhubarb almond yogurt ice pops (page 67). But, I had some lemongrass left over (from making Lemongrass Coolers… recently featured on Well Fed network’s Spirited World), and rather than rhubarb/almond, I decided to make spice up the yogurt with vanilla and lemongrass simple syrup.
Strawberry and Lemongrass Yogurt Pops
(makes 8 or more, depending on glass size)
1 pint of strawberries
2 T caster sugar
1/4 cup lemongrass syrup
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 cup yogurt
2 t vanilla
2 T honey
Warm the berries, the juice of the lemon and the sugar to start releasing their fragrance over a medium low heat, mashing with the back of a spoon as you go. They should start giving up beautiful thick juice. Keep working them for about 5 or 8 minutes, and then take the mixture and push it all through a fine sieve into a bowl. Mash through as much as possible. You’ll probably still end up with a lot of strawberry mush left in the sieve.
Pour the juice (not the mush) into tall narrow glasses, filling them about 1/4 of the way up. Small glasses work best. Don’t use full sized drinking glasses! They will be way too big of popsicles. The smallest juice glasses you have, or tall narrow shot glasses are best. Let the strawberry juice drip down the sides a bit… it adds a nice color.
Put the glasses with juice into the freezer, upright. They don’t have to be completely straight, but you don’t want the strawberry to spill out.
While those are freezing, warm up the yogurt, evaporated milk, and honey stirring until the honey is incorporated. Add the vanilla and lemongrass syrup. Taste to make sure it’s sweet enough for you, and add more honey as needed. Then, cover the pot, remove it from heat and let it cool at room temperature for about 20 minutes, and then in the refrigerator for another 15 or so.
Once it’s cool, fill the glasses with strawberries to the top, and put them back in the refrigerator. This time, do try to make them as level as possible. After about 30 minutes to an hour, they should be firm enough to push in the popsicle sticks and have them remain in place.
If you have leftover yogurt, pour it into an cool ice cube tray, like the stars one that I used here, and freeze. You can use these for… um… ok. I’m not really sure what you use them for. But, they are kind of cool for photographing. Or, maybe, throw them into some rootbeer for a new type of float? (Haven’t tried this yet… but I think it would work).
Freeze overnight. To serve, you’ll need to set the glasses out for about 10 minutes to loosen from the glass, and they should slide out.