That’s right – the word “homemade” is in there twice. That’s because I made the frozen yogurt with yogurt I made a few days ago.
I’ve only made my own yogurt a few times so far, and you certainly can use store-bought yogurt to make the frozen recipe….but it’s kind of extra cool to doubly home-make something.
And besides, it’s so easy to make yogurt.
We’ll start there.
The first time I tried making yogurt, I followed a recipe a friend of my sister’s had given her. My sister had been making her own yogurt for a while, and I felt like I should be making my own yogurt, so I gave the recipe a try.
You heat the milk to 180 F, then let it cool down to 116 F, add in some good quality plain yogurt, let it sit, warm, overnight or at least 6 hours, and – ta da! Yogurt.
So I did that. I wrapped the pot in a towel and kept it in a warmed (but off) oven overnight. And I really expected success, just because I’ve been able to make various cheeses with similar procedures.
But it didn’t work. Way too thin…basically just milk with yogurt stirred in. I figure the mixture didn’t stay warm enough for the cultures in the yogurt to do their thing.
I wanted to try again, but I didn’t want to end up with thick milk again. I know they sell those yogurt maker things, but I don’t need one more THING cluttering up my counters or pantry or cupboards or floor or anywhere else. And if you can make yogurt in a pot, then I figured there has to be another relatively inexpensive, low-tech way.
Maybe a crock pot? I figured that the key was to keep the milk sufficiently warm the whole time. Bacteria – good and bad – need warmth to multiply. Don’t we all? But I digress.
Anyway, I went looking around on the internet briefly, and there are plenty of sites that tell you how to go about it.
The one I chose came from a website I already visit on a daily basis (and probably should have checked out first, duh). It’s Chickens in the Road, and I admit it – I live vicariously on a farm in West Virginia through the magical words and pictures of author Suzanne McMinn. She makes cheese (with milk from her own cow, sigh…) and so of course she would have made yogurt at some point, right? Right. You can see her recipe – which I followed to the letter – right here.
I heated my milk to 180 F, which, in my crock pot, on high, took about 2 hours and twenty minutes, maybe a smidge longer. Then I dropped the temp to 116, mixed in the yogurt, covered the pot back up again, wrapped it in a towel, and left it overnight.
In the morning, it looked like this:
I mixed in Chobani 2% plain yogurt, by the way. One cup.
Next, I strained it briefly, just to get rid of the excess liquid. If you strain it for several hours, you can make yogurt cheese. But I wasn’t looking to do that.
Anyway, the yogurt tasted really good, and it went very quickly. So I made more.
And I’d been thinking that once I got the hang of yogurt making I could make my own flavored yogurts to send with the kids to school.
(Going off on a tangent now, but just a brief one.)
Julia loves yogurt, but Alex is pickier about it, and I really want him to have yogurt, so I’ve been (gulp) buying those yogurts in a tube. Sigh. And I don’t like doing it. But I was figuring the probiotic benefits outweighed the added fake crap risks. But even when I told myself this, I didn’t buy it. But I still kept buying the tube things anyway, because Alex would eat them.
And then I got tired of myself caving to pressure from a 9-year-old and stopped buying them.
But I thought…for whatever reason, yogurt in a tube is appealing. So maybe, with my homemade version, I could find a way to make that work…and I tried to think of something I could use as a tube, since I haven’t learned to manufacture BPA-free plastic yet.
All this was going through my mind over the past several months, which, as you may or may not know, is also the time frame of much of our sausage-making.
Can you see the leap my silly brain made? Yeah. I admit it. For a fraction of a second, I thought, “what if I cooked the hog casings……..”
Don’t worry, I didn’t follow through on that. I’m giving up the whole stupid tube idea anyway. Sure, it allows you to eat the yogurt on the go…but really, how often does anyone need to dash around and eat a yogurt without a spoon? It’s not like my kids sit in class and slurp. No, the food I send to school is eaten at lunch time, in the lunch room. They can use spoons.
So I bought a bag of Wyman’s frozen blueberries (they’re the tiny little wild blueberries – my favorites) and figured I’d get some blueberry yogurt made soon.
Until I decided to make FROZEN blueberry yogurt.
My path to that decision was a bit convoluted as well (as all my paths seem to be), but that’s not relevant at the moment, and I’ve rambled on enough for one day.
So I looked around online again for frozen blueberry yogurt recipes, and after reading a couple, I made up my own. I cleaned off my ice cream maker, stuck the insert in the freezer, and yesterday (after a good 36 hours for the insert in the freezer), I got to work.
First, I needed yogurt. I used 3 cups.
Then I mixed together blueberries (about a cup and a half or 8 ounces), sugar (I used a cup, but I plan to reduce that next time and keep reducing it with subsequent recipes until I find the minimum amount I need.), lime juice (acidity brightens the flavor), maple syrup (think blueberry pancakes – it works, right?) and warmed them in a pot on the stove until the sugar dissolved. I smashed the blueberries somewhat, too. Then I let the mixture cool for about ten minutes in the fridge.
Next, I combined the blueberry mixture with the yogurt. Now, at this point, I could just put everything in the fridge and we could eat it as is. It’s yummy.
If you don’t believe me, believe Julia – she was “helping” me.
And practicing her moves.
But we kept going. I set up the ice cream maker and poured/scraped the blueberry yogurt in. I let Julia have the spatula and the bowl.
About twenty minutes later….
Frozen yogurt! Yay!
Julia and I had to taste it a couple of times, just to be sure the flavor was consistent with every bite.
Then I portioned out the rest of the yogurt into these freezer jam containers that I have and never use any more. Perfect use! I’m rather pleased with myself about that idea.
I gave a full one to Julia, one to Alex, and gave Bill a spoonful because he was too full from dinner to eat any more than that. Alex didn’t finish his, so I ate the rest.
I’m SO excited to make more, and to portion everything into these little freezer jam containers.
I’ve got a new batch of milk in my crock pot. I should have yogurt by tonight, and I’ll be able to make a new flavor tomorrow.
It will involve chocolate.
For now, here’s my recipe for the blueberry version….
Blueberry Frozen Yogurt
1 1/2 cups wild blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1 cup sugar (or less. I’m dropping it to 3/4 of a cup next time.)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons lime juice
pinch of salt
3 cups Greek style yogurt, preferably made from whole milk, but that’s up to you
What to do:
1. Combine blueberries, sugar, maple syrup, lime juice and salt in a small pot over low heat. Stir occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Mash the blueberries. Remove from heat and cool in a bowl in the fridge for about twenty minutes.
2. Combine yogurt with blueberry mixture. If you don’t want any whole berries in your frozen yogurt, puree everything in your food processor or in a blender or with an immersion blender. Pour your blueberry yogurt mixture (smooth or chunky version) into your ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions. It should take about 20-25 minutes to churn.
3. You can either eat it now or freeze it if you’d prefer a firmer dessert.