April 16, 2012
Homemade Yogurt with Fruit in Jars
In my adventures with making food from scratch, I am always trying to find the things that I can make that Ray and I will both enjoy. I might have mentioned it before, but our tastes and eating habits don't always intersect. On a recent trip to the grocery store together I was inspired to try a variation on my weekly batch of yogurt that would be an easy way for him to grab something healthy on the way to work.
I usually make plain, whole milk yogurt and eat it for breakfast and snacks often, with maple syrup, fruit, or jam added for flavor and sweetness. This homemade yogurt can be spooned into a jar for eating away from our kitchen, but I wanted to try making fruit on the bottom yogurt cups that would be as convenient as the store bought version seems.
If you haven't tried it before, homemade yogurt is a way of accomplishing transformation with relatively little work. I've written about making yogurt before and it is one of my favorite homemade ritual processes. Making the yogurt into half pint jars primed with jam isn't much different than scooping yogurt into a jar, but once they are made you can easily grab a jar for breakfast, lunch or a snack.
I love the process, the connection, and the tastes that come from making instead of buying, but I am especially happy when other people can appreciate the results, too.
Fruit on the Bottom Yogurt Jars
I usually start with a half-gallon of milk from a local farm. If you're using more milk, add more yogurt starter. If you don't want to put all of your yogurt into small jars, divide it accordingly among the jars you wish to use (I used half-pints, but maybe pint jars would be a better portion for you). For the fruit, jam works best because it is thick and won't make the yogurt watery. You could also use fresh or frozen fruit simmered with a little bit of sugar but unless it is very thick it will make the yogurt thinner when stirred. More yogurt info here.
1 half gallon milk
Jam or fruit
1/4 cup plain yogurt
Pour the milk into a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Heat the milk to 180' F, stirring occasionally to keep from scalding. If you do not have a thermometer, when the milk reaches 180' it will be very steamy, hot, and bubbly but not boiling (if it does boil, don't worry). When the milk is hot enough, remove from heat. Let it cool until it reaches 120' F (very warm, but not hot).
While the milk is cooling, wash 8 half-pint jars and lids. Spoon a layer of jam into each jar. About 1/8 of a cup is a good start, but add as much or as little as you like to flavor your yogurt. When the milk has cooled to 120' F, whisk in the yogurt until it is smooth and evenly distributed. Ladle the milk into each jar, taking care not to disturb the jam/fruit too much. Cover each jar with a lid and place them next to each other in a warm spot. Cover the jars with 5-8 tea towels to keep them warm for about 6 hours. After 6 hours, the yogurt should be mostly solidified. Move into the refrigerator and use within a week.