The BEST and HEALTHIEST Homemade Yogurt Recipe! Refika’s Tips and Tricks to Make the Best Yogurt!

Refika’s Kitchen
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In Turkey we eat yogurt a little different than people do in the western part of the word. It can be an ingredient for a sour soup, a cold refreshing drink called “ayran,” or an essential garnish for our famous dishes like Iskender kebab, dolma (Stuffed Peppers, Vine Leaves etc.) or mantı (Turkish Ravioli). It’s one of the few Turkish words that stayed as is in every language. Today I want to tell you how to make the perfect yogurt with all my tips and tricks. All you need is milk, some yogurt and some time. And of course, some patience and love 😍 Please enjoy today’s episode, and have a wonderful weekend!

1,5 L milk
1,5 heaped tablespoons yogurt, (or yogurt starter culture)
• Rinse the inside of the pot with cold water. Add the milk and warm it up to 39-41 C (102-105F), if using HTST or UHT milk. If using raw milk, check the tips &tricks.
• Check the temperature of the milk with your finger. It feels pleasantly warm when you stick your pinkie in the milk for five seconds.
• Transfer some warm milk to a small bowl and whisk in yogurt until smooth.
•Stir the mixture back into the pot.
• Place a wooden spoon on top of the pot and wrap in a towel on a wooden board. Wooden spoon will prevent towel to fall into the milk. Towel and wooden board will keep the mixture warm.
• Let it sit in a warm place for four hours. Transfer the pot to the refrigerator and chill overnight. To make a thicker yogurt, after four hours, cover and contact with a kitchen cloth in a tray. Let it sit overnight. Meanwhile cloth will soak the excess water.

Tips & Tricks
1) Choosing the pot, enamel, clay or glass are the perfect materials for making yogurt.
2)Rinse the inside of the pot with cold water, to prevent scorching.
3) Choosing the milk,
-Raw milk, heat over 70 C (158 F) for 15 minutes
-Daily milk (HTST), heat up to 40-45 C (104-113 F)
-Pasteurized milk (UHT), heat up to 40-45 C (104-1113 F)
4) Thickness of the yogurt, depends on the milk’s fat content, for a thicker yogurt you can use higher fat content milk
-Cow milk, (3,5% fat)
-Goat milk, (4,09% fat)
-Sheep milk, (6,24% fat)
-Buffalo milk, (7,96% fat)
Or boil the milk for an hour so you will end up with milk with higher fat content thus you will have a thicker yogurt.
Or you can mix your milk with cream as well.
5) Cool the milk to 39-41 C (102-105 F), and then mix with your yogurt starter.
6) Whisk the yogurt starter and mix with milk. 1 heaped tablespoon yogurt for 1 L milk, if your starter is sour your yogurt will be sour as well.
If you don’t have any yogurt to use as starter you can use yogurt culture, which contains Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus
7) Always use a wooden spoon for stirring. Stainless steel is bacteria repellent, thus we don’t recommend using them as a pot as well.
8) Place the pot on a wooden board and wrap in a towel, bacteria needs a warm environment to work. Therefore, don’t let it sit on cold bench directly.
9) Place a wooden spoon on top, so towel can’t fall into the milk.
10) Don’t close the lid, lid cause sweating and it makes the yogurt runny.
11) After 4 hours of fermentation, put the lid on and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. For a thicker yogurt, place the pot in a tray. Cover and contact with a kitchen cloth. Let the cloth soak the excess water overnight.

-My yogurt is too runny, Mainly, three things cause runny yogurt,
1) Milk wasn’t warm enough
2) Lack of yogurt starter
3) It didn’t sit in a warm place
Mix a little more yogurt or warm milk to the mixture. Wrap and let it sit for another 3-4 hours in a warm place.

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