6/20/12

How to flavor homemade yogurt


I had a hard time figuring out how to use homemade yogurt when I first started making it . . . so I stopped making it. No one wanted to eat it unless it was sweetened and flavored, but when I tried to add sugar and flavoring to the entire batch after the yogurt was made, it would end up super runny and/or grainy. Adding flavoring to individual portions right before serving worked okay, but it still got quite runny, and it was a pain.

I've finally figured out something that works for us! I really enjoy making yogurt, so I'm happy to have found a way to make it more palatable and convenient.

First of all, I add a bit of unflavored gelatin to make the texture more uniform and keep it from being so runny. Second, I add sugar and flavoring. Third, I run it through the blender to mix everything together really well.

Bonus tip: before you flavor your yogurt, take out 1/2 cup plain yogurt to use as a starter for your next batch. I put an X on the lid so we can remember not to eat it. I've also successfully frozen the starter, and it worked just great after thawing.


How to flavor homemade yogurt

1. Make some homemade yogurt. I go loosely by this recipe. If you don't have a yogurt maker, there are instructions all over the internet for making yogurt with a heating pad, an oven, a slow cooker, and who knows what else.

2. Wait for the yogurt to incubate. The longer you let it sit at the correct temperature, the thicker and tarter it will get. I let mine go quite a long time, 8–12 hours (usually overnight).

3. Collect some containers to hold your finished yogurt. I use the jars that came with my yogurt maker, 4- and 8-ounce canning jars, and 4-ounce plastic containers.

4. Combine your yogurt ingredients (see below) in the blender. Blend on high speed for 1–2 minutes, until completely combined.

5. Pour into jars, cover, and let set in fridge for about 3 hours.

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Strawberry yogurt

1 quart homemade yogurt
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin, softened in about 1/3 cup cold water for 5 minutes
2 cups whole strawberries (fresh or frozen—if using frozen, measure before thawing)
4+ tablespoons sugar


Vanilla yogurt

1 quart homemade yogurt
2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin, softened in about 1/4 cup cold water for 5 minutes
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
4+ tablespoons sugar

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P.S. If you increase the gelatin by about half, you will get something similar to Yoplait Whips.

25 comments:

  1. I too have been experimenting with flavoured yogurt and after putting in the sweetner (5 Equal Stevia tabs)and vanilla, the following day it was as runny as when I started. So I put it in the fridge anyway but it stayed runny.
    The next night I decided to put it back into the heating thermos. It came out perfectly the second time around after refrigeration. Have done this a few times now.

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    1. Something I have had very good luck with is putting puree and Carmel sauce at the bottom of my jars before adding yogurt to incubate. It seems to incubate just fine and have a good texture. Then when ready to eat you just mix. I also use a bit of heavy cream in my yogurt making and the Liberte vanilla as a started and my yogurt is very sweet. Hope this helps

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  2. I have been searching for a good way to flavor yogurt & I can't wait to try this!

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  3. I have also had good luck using jello and pudding boxes to flavor my yogurt. One package of flavor per half gallon of raw milk (before you make it into yogurt).

    The pudding I just mix in as is. The jello I disolve in a little bit of boiling water (between six and eight tablespoons) to get rid of the grit.

    No surgar is needed because it's already right there in the box. Granted there are still some mystery ingredients but I can't help but believe it is still better than commerically prepared yogurt.

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    1. Thank you! I wanted to try making banana yogurt with some pudding, but couldn't figure out if i could put it in the milk before heating & culturing or if it would just be pudding instead of yogurt.

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  4. I add sugar, about 1/4 c for 2 quarts and some extract (almond, vanilla or coconut) when the milk cools to about 130 degrees. I also add a small amount of fruit pectin at this time. I want my yogurt to be firm the first go around and this method works perfectly.

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  5. I am confused....what am I putting in jars and putting in the fridge...the fruit mix I just blended? Do I add the yogurt to the jar with the fruit mixture? I am very new to yogurt making. Thank you.

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    1. You're blending the yogurt with the fruit mix.

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    2. I have been making my own yogurt for awhile and find that Crystal Light works great for flavoring. Use the individual packet size. Or the many varieties of drink enhancers, play around with how many drops you prefer. If it is still too tart for your tastes add a little local honey - that will also help if you suffer from allergies :-)

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  6. I found the greatest flavor for yogurt - ginger syrup. However, I tried to make yogurt with it twice and failed twice. Then I found out that ginger is an antiseptic! So, whether you use it before or after incubation, it kills off all the yogurt culture.

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  7. Think I could use honey in place of sugar? Thanks!

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    1. Probably! Let us know how it goes.

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  8. I have flavored with pure maple syrup before incubation in a thermos...once it was perfect after refrigeration...2nd time it failed to set up in the thermos...very sensitive process...will be ordering a regular yogurt maker soon...

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  9. I tried to make this and it did not set up after blending everything together. It's like a yogurt drink, thin as milk. I made the yogurt in a yogurt maker...and blended everything as you said. The frozen strawberries had thawed in the fridge though, could that have been it?

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    1. Sorry it didn't work! Yogurt is pretty unpredictable. Perhaps your strawberries wept a little while thawing and added water.

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  10. I made yogurt for the first time yesterday and added 3 packages of unflavored gelatin for a quart of whole milk. It worked. It tastes a little bland and trying to restrict my sugar as I'm on low carb diet and added a few strawberries with vanilla and still could use a bit of sugar. As much as I hate artificial sweeteners it might need it.

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    1. I buy pure sucralose (on ebay) & use 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. for a 2qt. batch.Sucralose,is sweeter than Splenda as it doesn't have the fillers Splenda does, and there is absolutely zero calories & carbs. Splenda can say 0 because of a legal loophole that says it has to have x # calories before they have to.
      Sucralose is a powder finer than powered sugar & dissolves almost instantly. I've used jellos, jams, well drainer canned fruit, pie fillings even instant hazelnut coffee or Swiss Miss! I take any new creation to a local free health clinic for the doctors, nurses & students to sample & they've all been winners.
      I make Greek yogurt so I strain the extra whey out before adding fruits or pie fillings & after if it's chocolate, cofee or any powdered flavoring. The yogurt is the consistency soft cream cheese & most calories come in the form of protein so it good for you to! I think the only limit to yogurt flavors is your imagination.

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    2. I use a bit of heavy cream in my yogurt from the start. Just make sure it is not ULTR pasturized. Liberte makes a great creamy sweet starter as well. Results in a very creamy sweet yogurt.

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  11. Love these addition ideas! I've been adding honey and frozen berries to mine for a while now, but it still gets runnier than I than I like. As I was reading through, a light bulb went off when you wrote about using the gelatin.....and I bet pectin would work to thicken it up, too. So I made a batch of apple jam with honey as a sweetener, added pectin and a small amount of gelatin to firm it up...it made a very nice and firm fruit spread / yogurt additive! Then, I made a mixed berry honey jam and, again, I used pectin and gelatin to thicken the jam....no more runny yogurt! I didn't use the blender, just stored it as "fruit on the bottom" yogurt. Next...I'm going to figure out a pumpkin bar yogurt additive. This stuff is fun!

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  12. I also used lemon curd to flavour my yogurt and my husband absolutely loves it :)

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  13. Tried this twice now 1st with fresh strawberry and today galia melon.my yoghurt is always perfect and I make my own jelly with bloom 240. Strawberry yoghurt was watery and bitter the melon was little better but I used 15g gelatin this time. It watery and gelatin very lumpy so wasted money yet again. I strained this one and now in ice cream maker. I will stick to plain yoghurt now adding my own lemon curd or Jam as needed unless someone can help out..

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  14. I ordered some strawberry milk for snacks and they sent me four large bottles of strawberry syrup instead. I'm wondering if I can just add this to the milk before culturing to flavor it?

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    1. You could try with a small batch and see how it turns out. But I think it would work better to make the yogurt plain first and add the syrup after.

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  15. I have just started making yoghurt again, as I have a new machine. When I made it in the past, I used to stew up some fruit and sugar and freeze it in an old-fashioned ice cube tray, then transfer to a ziplock bag and just take out one or two cubes to add to my yoghurt.

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  16. If you want a firmer set yogurt, add 2 tablespoons of powdered milk to the milk, before you heat it up, whisk as it heats, so that the powdered milk is all dissolved in the milk, I flavour mine sometimes with tinned peaches, I blend half the peaches to a purée , and when the yogurt is cooled in the refrigerator after making, stir in the peach purée, then chop the remaining peaches and add to the yogurt.

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