Homemade greek yogurt
Has anyone made this? How? Do you really need a plastic thermos? Yuk.
I've successfully strained some yogurt only with the help of a colander whose insides are covered with paper towel. Put the colander+paper towel on top of a bowl to collect water/whey. Pour the yogurt on top of your McGyver like contraption. Place it in your fridge, and wait. In the morning you'll have strained yogurt on top, and whey/water at the bottom. Using a large coffee filter might work too.
I've never heard of the thermos method, and I concur that it doesn't sound right.
I've made yogurt from scratch using a large bowl and oven. From yogurt, then you can make Greek yogurt by straining the whey. There is no magical process that would convert milk into Greek yogurt in one step because the essence of the Greek yogurt is that it is strained. I much prefer buying my yogurt these days, because I have access to pretty decent yoghurt in Montreal (lots of Greek and Armenian immigrants live here). I don't think it is worth my time of incubating yogurt or straining it.
Now I understand why the thermos is needed: for stabilizing the heat to encourage bacteria growth. The point of the thermos is to keep to temperature warm enough (above 90 degrees fahrenheit) so that bacteria multiplies. Many people use the oven light to maintain the temperature. My grandma used to just leave the milk out and in the morning yogurt will magically appear. However, these days this will be shunned by the food safety police. Please google something like "+yogurt +instructions +oven". you'll get lots of recipes and techniques.
However, I have to repeat this again: the end product is not Greek yogurt, it is just yogurt. This is the root of the confusion that makes this thread go in directions that you didn't intend it to go to. What makes Greek yogurt special is that it is strained. Also it helps if you use ewe's milk, but these days (even in Greece) people use cow's. But whatever you do, please use full fat milk; otherwise the yogurt will be chalky.
My Persian MIL taught me to put the chilled yogurt (we made it in a huge pot) into a clean pillowcase and suspend it over the kitchen sink to drain. Another way is to line a large colander with several layers of cheese cloth and drain it that way.
Once a thread has wandered off it is really hard to get back, no?
I have made just plain yogurt, though never Greek yogurt. I never had the need for a "plastic" anything, but a scrupulously clean container is needed. Something that can be covered to retain the heat. A normal class lined container would work.
I would assume you get the starter from a container of Greek yogurt... should say "active bacteria", or something like that. What the medium is, I wouldn't guess, it is much thicker than ordinary yogurt, so, does that mean whole milk, or even some cream? I assume you have a recipe and are only questioning the plastic thermos part.
I would agree that straining is what makes Greek yogurt. But I would also recommend using a Greek-made yogurt as an initial starter culture. Fage is a great brand. Bacteria cultures vary from yogurt to yogurt. You'll get a more authentic end product if you use genuine Greek yogurt culture. Once you get your yogurt going, you can make new batches with a little bit of starter from your old batches.
As for the thermos, yes it can be a handy way to maintain temperature as your culture grows. Nothing yuk about it. Here's a pretty straightforward recipe to make yogurt from scratch: http://www.whats4eats.com/dairy/yogur...
- Has anybody made this?
Make regular yogurt and strain it. To make regular yogurt, just heat a quart of milk up to 120F, whisk in a few tablespoons of yogurt, and let stand in a warm place for 12 hours.
- Do you really need a plastic thermos?
No. The thermos is just one way of keeping the milk warm while it turns to yogurt. Other ways include setting the pot on the radiator, putting it on the back of the stove (if you have a standing pilot), putting it in the oven and turning the burner on for a minute or two every few hours, putting it on an electric heating pad, or pouring the milk into a crock pot and turning it on "warm." So long as the temperature is above 100F and less than 120F, you're going to get yogurt.