Kiselo mleko or yogurt has been on my bucket list of things to learn about for a long time- I have a friend who makes it regularly and I remember my parents making it when I was growing up. Kiselo mleko is the Serbian version of what we know as yogurt- my Great- Grandmother (Boba) used to make it regularly- and although I don't remember her I did feel a sort of connection to my Serbian heritage while making this.
Now I don't have a fancy yogurt maker- then again I am sure my Great Grandmother also did not have a yogurt maker! You can insulate your yogurt really many different ways- blankets, crock pot, or like me a mini cooler! Fancy appliances need not apply!
First of all lets talk milk- lots of discussion revolving around what type of milk works best- I used 1% because that is what I had on hand- it worked and tastes like 0 Fat yogurt from the grocery store would taste. According to my sources- Dad- the higher fat content milk the better the yogurt- I will keep this in mind for next week! You are going to need six cups of your milk of choice- place that in a sauce pan with a thermometer and slowly start heating- you do not want to boil the milk or scorch it- so whisk often. Heat the milk to between 190-200 degrees.
Now that the milk has been heated to kill off any competing bacteria- bring the temperature back down and introduce the live cultures- to do this simply place the sauce pan of hot milk in a cold bath of water in the sink- leave the thermometer in and don't walk away- bring the temperature down to 120 degrees. Once the milk is at 120 whisk in two tablespoons of live culture- I used two tablespoons of my favorite store bought yogurt. Pour into Mason jars and put lids on.
Place jars of milk into the cooler- pour in hot water- you want to keep the temperature at 120 degrees- bring the water up to about two inches below the lid- put the lid on and tuck your cooler away in a corner for the night. I left mine over night- about ten hours- it really depends on what sort of cultures you are using.
Come this morning we opened up the cooler and were greeted by two jars of yogurt- perhaps a bit different than the kiselo mleko my Great Grandmother used to make but delicious none the less. We use a great deal of yogurt around here- at least two containers a week- which adds up to a lot of plastic containers- making our own not only cuts down on the cost and increases the quality but it also reduces our plastic consumption. I am sure my Great Grandmother never had to worry about things like food quality and plastic overuse- she just made this as part of her weekly food preparation- now so will I.
*hint- keep at least 2 tablespoons of your current batch to use as your starter for the next batch!
P.S- my instructions come from the Food In Jars website and my Dad