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ARMENIAN, GREEK, AND TURKISH YOGURT - HOW TO MAKE THE THICK TYPE OF YOGURT AT HOME AT A FRACTION OF THE PRICE YOU WOULD HAVE TO PAY FOR GREEK STYLE YOGURT AT THE SUPERMARKET.
As one of Armenian ancestry, I had heard stories of the difficulty in bringing in, through U.S. customs, the bacterial culture that is needed to make yogurt. As immigrants were processed at Ellis Island, the INS officers would look at the little jars of yogurt starter carried by the immigrants. They would have most certainly opened the jars and smelled the sour, acrid odor of the bacterial culture. It was of course immediately thrown into the trash. In correspondence to the old country, one Armenian immigrant bemoaned the fact that they could neither buy or make this diet staple they had enjoyed for centuries. An enterprising woman in Turkish-Armenia, who was shortly leaving for America, came up with a solution to the problem. She took clean white handkerchiefs and dipped them into a large bowl of yogurt and then hung them out to dry. She then carefully folded them with her other linen and packed them in her trunk. After she got to the U.S. she had no difficulty in going through customs with clean white hankies. Once settled, she dipped these hankies in warm milk and thus freed the bacteria to culture and make yogurt.
Yogurt is a very healthful milk product and is really the precursor to making cheese. You can drain Yogurt of the whey and have a very high quality cream cheese. It has for centuries been a cure for ulcers and just recently used in the replenishing of bacterial flora in the digestive tract after extensive antibiotic therapies which deplete the body of good bacteria as well as the bad.
INGREDIENTS: Makes ˝ Gallon
● ˝ gallon homogenized cows milk, sheeps milk, or goat milk.
● ˝ cup yogurt (starter)**SEE COOK'S NOTES - 1**You can use up to one cup.
● ˝ pint heavy cream (Optional for more richness)
EQUIPTMENT YOU WILL NEED:
■ 1 Large 1 gallon stainless steel pan to heat a ˝ gallon of milk.
■ 1 direct read thermometer
■ 1 quart size sauce pan
■ 1 fine strainer, cheesecloth or coffee filter
■ 1 paring knife
■ 2 sizes stainless steel spoons
■ 1 - 2 clean bath towels to wrap your yogurt while bacterial action takes place
■ 2 - 1 quart plastic containers with lids to store your yogurt
■ A small 1 -2 cup container with lid to store your new batch of yogurt starter
1. Pour the milk into a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. When it comes to a
boil, add ˝ pint of heavy cream, and pour into an earthen bowl or Pyrex dish. When it is
lukewarm (105°F), stir the yogurt starter with a spoon until it is smooth and dilute it
with some of the warm milk. You will find that more often than not, a thin skin will form
on the top of the milk. Gently make a slit in the skin with a knife and scoop out some of
the warm milk and to mix with the starter. Now gently pour this mixture through the hole
in the skin into the 105°F milk, being careful not to break up the skin.
2. Wrap the warm milk (with yogurt starter) in a clean bath towel, and leave it in a warm place,
undisturbed, for at least 12 - 14 hours. The oven with the oven light on is the perfect warm
place to hold the yogurt while it forms. The yogurt should be set by then. Place the container
of your yogurt in refrigerator until it is cold, and ready to serve.**SEE COOK'S NOTES - 2****COOK'S NOTES**
1. You can buy starter as plain yogurt in the supermarket, or save a cup or two of your home-
made yogurt to use as a starter each and every time you want to make it again. You will
find that your homemade starter will be better than the store-bought yogurt. Each time
you make yogurt and save starter, your starter will become better and better and the
culture will be stronger.
When you purchase you yogurt for a starter in the supermarket, make sure that the
container states that it has a live bacterial culture or it will not make yogurt. If you
purchase a good plain Greek type yogurt the first time, you should have no problem. Stay
away from the fruity flavored varieties ad they may not work as a bacterial starter.
2. You now have a thick yogurt that is thicker than most yogurts you can purchase. To get the
full thickness of the yogurt, use a fine strainer or cheese cloth or a coffee filter and
drain your yogurt overnight in the refrigerator. This will result in the whey being removed
and your yogurt very thick and creamy. This is the ultimate yogurt and would cost you twice
what Greek yogurt would cost you at the supermarket. It's worth the extra 24 hours of wait time.
*Thank you Lydia Kupelian