Thursday, December 8, 2011

Homemade Yogurt

Ok, I've recently discovered Greek yogurt, BUT I should have kept it to myself and not let the rest of my family taste it. A package of 4 single servings here in my town was almost $4.00. So...... I did a little research and decided to try making my own yogurt. It's actually quite easy to make, and at least I know it doesn't have any thickeners/additives in it. We all love it better than store-bought!

I started with a 2L of whole milk. I heated it in a double boiler.

I didn't stir it at all -- just waited until the temperature reached 175-180F.

When it cooled, I removed the milk from the double-boiler and let it cool to 110-120F.

You'll notice when it cools it has this thin layer of dried milk. I read this hint from another blogger. Lay a piece of plastic wrap on top of the milk, then pull up from the middle of the wrap and it will take that layer of dried milk right off!

Here's where you need to add some starter yogurt. If this is your first batch, use 2-3 TBSP from store-bought. Make sure it has "active bacteria" listed in the ingredients. For your second and subsequent batches, just same 2-3 TBSP of your homemade yogurt. I have a special container just for my starter.

I found that my first batch, made with the store-bought yogurt, was not as thick as the other batches I made.

You can also add a TBSP of vanilla extract at this point, and some honey or other sweetener. Two of us like it better without any sweetener or vanilla -- the others don't really mind one way or the other. Without sweetener it's obviously more sour. on a side note, I actually substituted some of the more sour yogurt for sour cream in a dip recipe I made. No one knew the difference!

If you add anything at this point, give it a whisk :-)

I then pour my yogurt into an old crock pot. I guess I could technically leave it in the saucepan, but I like using the crock pot. Wrap it in a heavy towel or blanket. Then I set my crock pot into my oven (which I turned the heat on for about 2 minutes). I then turn the heat off, and the light in my oven "on", and I leave the yogurt for 6-7 hours. Don't peek! Keep the heat inside.

I have made this late at night so it can set in my oven all night, while I'm not needing my oven for cooking.

With 2L of milk, I can get 6 cups of yogurt (three of these containers).

Now, if you like the thicker Greek-style yogurt, you can let your yogurt sit in a sieve (in a couple of layers of cheesecloth) and drain. What drains out is whey. Oh, and I've seen online that you can use this whey in fruit smoothies (I've tried it and it's fine), or for making rice. The downside of straining is that you lose about 1/2 of your yogurt.

After about an hour of straining, you can also tie it up and hang it to get even more whey out.

This is what the whey looks like.

There you have it! We love ours served with some fresh fruit of some homemade jams. Delicious!

Once you get one batch made, you can experiment with different  flavours or different ways of making it. I've read about using the crock pot to set it (turned on LOW) or even putting the milk mixture, after letting it cool, right into jars and setting it in a cooler with some hot water bottles around it. Also, one idea I read about the mixture was poured into a thermos for 6-7 hrs and it set in there.

Let me know if you try some yourself, or if you have any tips/hints :-) Good luck!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Decorated cakes

I haven't been good at updating my decorated cakes. Here are some I have done recently.

This was for my grandmother's 90th birthday. She LOVES hats!

 This was for my cousin and his fiance -- wedding shower cake.

Halloween-themed birthday cake. Legs were made from fondant. I used the soccer ball cake-pan for the body, and the head was a cupcake.

3-D pumpkin, made with 2 bundt cakes. Leaves are fondant, stem is 3 cupcake bottoms.

Wheels are made from rice-krispie treats, covered with icing.

Head is made from rice krispie treats, covered infondant. Flowers also made with fondant.

This one was a Rainbow Cake inside -- what a surprise for the birthday boy!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Recent cakes

Welcoming a new baby!

This was a fun cake to do! I just love Toy Story!

This was for the local Girl Guides group here in town.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups flour
2 cups grated carrots
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup drained, crushed pineapple
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Mix all ingredients together and bake in greased/floured tube pan for 1 1/2 hours at 350F

Cream Cheese Icing

8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
2 cups icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Mix until smooth. Spread over cooled cake.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Buttercream Icing

Buttercream Icing

1 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup margarine/butter
2 tsp almond extract
8 cups powdered sugar
touch of milk (3-4 Tbsp)
Using a mixer, blend the shortening and butter. Add the almond extract. Add powdered sugar one cupful at a time, mixing well. When I get 7 cups added, the icing usually is looking dry. Then I add about 3-4 Tbsp of milk (I use fresh milk, but you can use 18% cream). Add the last cup of sugar then whip on higher speed to make the icing nice and fluffy.

This recipe makes more than what you would need for a regular 2-layer cake mix. Icing can be frozen -- just set in fridge for a day to thaw. You may need to re-whip before using.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Berry Muffins

This is a recipe I got from my cousin, Karen. You can make the basic recipe and add in your favorite berries.


2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1 c. milk
2 c. berries
1/2 c. butter or margarine
2 eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking powder

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Blend in flour, baking powder and milk. Fold in berries. Pour into muffin cups.

Bake 18-20 minutes at 400 deg.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Here are a few cakes that I hadn't posted yet.

Littlest Pet Shoppe

Mickey's Clubhouse

Baby's First Birthday

Mario and Luigi

PEACE cake

Friday, March 18, 2011

St. Patrick's Day

Busy day yesterday, but I did want to do something "green" for my kids. In the past I've made green scrambled eggs, or green pancakes. Last year my daughter and I made this wonderful rainbow cake!

This year, I just made some green cupcakes. I saw the idea for the rainbow candy from an online friend. What a great idea! I love how it looks! Didn't buy enough candy, so the remainder of cupcakes I piped a little clover on them.

What do/did you make for St Patrick's Day?

It's been a while.....

since I posted here. Wow!

I haven't stopped cooking or baking, however :-) Still lots of that going on in my home. I'm going to try and make a real effort to post a recipe at least twice a week. Hope my followers will help hold me to that!

Please let me know if you have a cooking blog. I would love to check it out.