Beginnings are complicated. There’s the excitement of starting something new, but also the sadness of leaving something else behind. Then, there’s that terrifying moment right before the jump, when doubts rain down on me like watermelons falling out of the back of a truck. Is this going to work? Am I prepared? Isn’t there someone better who should be doing this?
So I’ll start how I always do–with breakfast.
Even though we are not living overseas at the moment, years spent sifting through unfamiliar brands and pining for America’s endless selection of, well, everything, honed our ability to make most things from scratch. Out went the boxed cake mixes, the jarred pasta sauce, and the packages of tortillas. Whether in Macedonia or Kazakhstan, we were only a mixing bowl away from our favorite American classics. Despite this, I never really considered myself a “yogurt making” type of person. But ever since arriving in the U.S. a few months ago, I have had a hankering for the smooth, complex, and not too sweet flavor of the Greek Gods brand Orange Cinnamon Yogurt. Even though we live in Washington D.C.–minutes away from enormous grocery stores of every variety–this yogurt is nowhere to be found.
As it turns out, making homemade yogurt is actually quite simple. If you’ve never done it before (and might be classified as a bit of a Nervous Nelley), there are scores of tutorials on the internet. If you’re feeling confident, the basic steps are listed below. Using a bit of homemade orange marmalade we had on hand, I was able to make a passable substitute. More importantly, I was able to use my new sweet weck jars! My yogurt was thinner than the typical greek yogurt, because I was lazy and didn’t strain it, but, it still had the distinctive and delicious flavor I was looking for.
A quick word about ingredients–I have found that whole milk makes for the creamiest and sweetest tasting yogurt. If you use non-homogonized milk, you will get a cute little thin layer of cream on the top, which I find adorable and delicious. However, you can really use any type of milk you choose, as long as it’s not ultra-pasturized. I’ve tried making yogurt with a fresh vanilla bean, and my favorite vanilla paste. I prefer the paste, as the flavor seems stronger. You’ll notice in the photo below that the vanilla seeds will sink to the bottom of the jar. As long as you stir the yogurt before you eat it, this will not be a problem. So, don’t forget to stir it up before you take a bite!
I used this Homemade Easy Orange Marmalade for my yogurt, but I’m sure store bought marmalade would work as well.
- 6 parts whole milk (I use one of the jars included with my yogurt maker to measure.)
- 1 part plain yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 6 tablespoons orange marmalade (or one table spoon for each jar of yogurt)
- Heat milk in a medium sized sauce pan until it reaches 185 degrees.
- Let cool to room temperature. If you need to speed the process along, place the bottom of the pan in a bowl of ice water and stir until the milk is cooled.
- Stir in yogurt, let sit for one minute.
- Meanwhile, place one tablespoon of marmalade in each jar.
- Add vanilla and cinnamon to the milk mixture.
- Gently pour the milk mixture into each jar, being careful not to disturb the marmalade.
- At this point, you should follow your yogurt maker’s instructions. I left my jars in the yogurt maker for about nine hours.