We don’t live in our Skoolie yet, but I do have the Skoolie oven already… the Breville Smart Oven Air. I’m exploring what it will do and my favorite thing so far has been using the dehydrate function to make yogurt.
Yogurt is great for gut health, however… grocery store brands load yogurt up with sugar, fruit, and preservatives. Some kinds of gut problems result from a yeast that feeds on sugar (fruit is a natural sugar), and preservatives are a culprit for other gut health issues – Yikes! So grocery store yogurt can actually feed the problem instead of helping you heal! Sucks, right? Take it from someone who has had a real challenge with gut health – real yogurt – the homemade stuff – is part of the solution, not the problem! And making your own is rewarding, delicious, good for the environment, and good for the gut health of you and your family! Did I mention it is delicious? Good!
When we had our restaurant, we used an Excalibur dehydrator to make yogurt for the fresh yogurt smoothies we had on our menu. (You know how the VitaMix is the best blender? Well, Excalibur is the best dehydrator!) We also had green smoothies and fresh juices in the restaurant. I missed having a dehydrator around for yogurt, kale chips, and beautiful pineapple flowers. It was one of the sacrifices we made in going tiny, no dehydrator. No room.
But when I found the Breville oven with the dehydrate function – SQUEE – I was delighted! I can have an oven that will bake a pie AND a dehydrator – in one smart package! We tiny house foodies do enjoy our multi-purpose kitchen tools!! Plus, this one is $399 which seems like a lot for a toaster oven (it’s not a toaster oven) but when you consider how much less that is than a range it was a no-brainer for us. (Not for everyone – no worries.) Since our Skoolie is 128 square feet, we didn’t have room for a full size range, or even a fun-sized one. I’ve already written about this oven, so check that out if you’re deciding which oven/range/cooktop is best for your tiny haven-home – plus there is a money saving tip at that link as well.
Would you like the yogurt recipe I use?
1 gallon whole fat milk. (I use whole milk because it makes better yogurt and because I’ve read that whole fat is better for you than low fat or non-fat and I’m a purist anyway. I like things that haven’t been tinkered with too much.)
When I’m ready to make yogurt, I buy some unsweetened whole milk yogurt at the grocery and use that as starter. Then as long as I don’t eat ALL the yogurt and save some for a starter for the next batch – then there is no need to buy more. Look on the label for active cultures.
Yep – that’s it. Milk and yogurt cultures. Pretty simple, huh? (And yummy)
I put the milk in my 4.5 quart dutch oven (it just fits) and heat it to 180 degrees. Since the dutch oven is cast iron, it may continue to rise in temperature a bit once the burner is off but that’s fine. This step is to kill any bacteria that could be in the milk so that you can add the yogurt bacteria. Getting the milk anywhere between 180 and 195 degrees will do nicely. Take care to warm the milk gently so that you don’t scald it. If you think you may walk away and forget about it, set a timer to remind you. I’ve boiled the milk all over my range before – BIG MESS – that’s why I mention it. Once the milk hits the right temperature, turn off the heat and let it rest.
Test the temperature periodically until it has cooled to 100-120 degrees. In my experience this will take about a half hour. Whisk in the yogurt and transfer the mixture into glass jars. I like to use the Pint jar with a wide mouth lid, because that way the rings and lids are the same as my food storage quart jars and that way I don’t have to keep two sets of rings and lids around. Use the 8 ounce size if you want a single serve portion that is perfect to grab and go for a packed lunch. This is a great way to kick plastic out of your life! And if you can find milk locally in glass – this is a great zero-waste alternative to all those plastic yogurt containers. Win!
Oh, are you wondering “how much yogurt?” to add to the warm milk? Yeah, gotcha. It will work with as little as three tablespoons of yogurt. I make sure to save one of my jars of yogurt to use as culture – and so I just dump it all in. Careful not to overflow!
Fill each jar and then carefully clean the jars with a cloth if there is any milk on the outside of the glass, then carefully set them into the Breville oven. Space them evenly for air flow. Use the “Select” knob to turn to the dehydrate function, then turn the temperature to 115 degrees. I set the timer to 15 hours. You’ll get thin yogurt at 8 hours (overnight works quite well for us) and the longer you go – the more tart and thick the yogurt will become. Don’t mess with it while it’s in the oven – you won’t be able to tell the consistency while it’s warm anyway. Just leave it alone in there overnight. When you get up in the morning, carefully take the jars out to cool on the counter, then transfer them to the fridge. I’ll put it in there after dinner and let it run all night and I suppose it’s usually in there about 10 hours – give or take. It turns out delicious!!I suspect this is a project for an overnight where you are plugged in to shore power because it will take some power. I would not do this while the bus/home is moving. That could be a rather epic mess.
I’d love to know it if you make yogurt in your tiny home and what you think of it!