Archive for the 'Dairy' Category

Yogurt Cheese / Choekelek

Saturday, April 23rd, 2005

Since my attempts of making yogurt at home started, some of my experiments failed. In fact, after adding the recipe to this site, I have made 2 – 3 batches since than and one of the didn’t become yogurt. It smelled like yogurt, but the consistency was wrong.

That time, when it didn’t turn out to be yogurt, I tried to remember what went wrong… Well, first of all I didn’t have cream at home, so I didn’t add any. The oven was already occupied, so I choose to put it by the sunny kitchen sill. That would have been alright if the sun didn’t disappear after an hour or so, hence leaving that spot not that warm after all. Since you are not supposed to disturb the yogurt while it is setting, I left it alone. After 4 – 5 hours what I saw was this:

Its whey raised to the top and the lower part resembled yogurt. Since I put a lot of milk and yogurt into this, I didn’t want to waste it, so I poured it into a pot and started heating it up. After a while, the curds become to appear. Didn’t let it bubble up, but heated up quite a bit. Later, I dumped it into a cheesecloth and let it drained. What I ended up is the first picture. Then I crumbled it up and mixed salt, oregano and crushed red peppers to it and put it in a glass container. In the following two, three days it was eaten in the breakfast. Now that I think about it, possibly the salt, oregano and peppers could have been added in while pouring in the cheesecloth to create a good mix.

In my earlier yogurt-cheese makings, I used this also as a filling for some pastries.

I hope your yogurt making works. But even if it doesn’t, you can use it in this way. Good luck and let me know how it went.



Tuesday, March 29th, 2005

cup of yogurt

I had to wait until I made my next yogurt at home to start my online recipe book; it is a staple food in Turkish cuisine and deserves to be the first entry.

Making yogurt at home is easier than you’d think. And no, I am not promoting any of the yogurt makers sold in the market; you can use a warm corner of your house or your owen slightly turned on.

I grew up in a house where there was always yogurt in the fridge—plain yogurt I mean. My mom made some whenever we were running low, which usually meant we had at least 2lbs or so left. It became such an easy job for her that I never saw her yogurt making failed. There, in Turkey, they have a chance to buy the milk directly from the dairy, which provides whole fat milk—hence making it easy to make yogurt.

When I started making my own, I didn’t have a way to get fresh milk, so I had to learn how to make it with pasteurized milk and use pasteurized yogurt as starter as well. If your first try ever fails, do not give up. During the years I spent in Milwaukee, I made yogurt several times. And my roommate (a.k.a “best roommate on the earth”) who loved yogurt (only the fruity ones) told me that what I made was more delicious than the store bought, and also started eating some plain yogurt ;) That said, believe me, there is nothing like a home made yogurt.

What you need:

  1. 1/2 gallon of at least 2% milk
  2. 3 Tbs plain yogurt (in US I prefer using “Mountain High” brand, or any organic brand would do)
  3. Optional: 1/2 pint of half-half (or cream)
  4. Optional: candy thermometer


  1. Bring milk and half-and-half to boil. Keep stirring to avoid scalding. if you have a double boiler, try using that. I keep my mix boiling for about 10 mins or so—that reduces the water content
  2. Pour the milk into a glass jar or an enamel pot, and put it in a sunny/warm location where it will be warm for 4 hours or so and will not be disturbed/moved.. In order to make sure it is kept warm, wrap the jar with some wool scarves
  3. Put your candy thermometer in the milk and wait until its temperature is down to 120F – 130F
  4. In a small bowl put 3 Tbs of yogurt and 5 – 6 Tbs of warm milk and mix them well. Pour this over the warm milk jar, and stir well
  5. Cover the jar, and make sure the wrap around it is tightly sealed
  6. Wait ;)
  7. After about 4 – 5 hours (depending on the warmth of the environment), check on your yogurt by lifting up the cover and tilting the jar; if it is firm, your yogurt is ready for its next stage; fridge
  8. Be sure to refrigeriate the yogurt for at least overnigt. This will help it set and have firm yogurt. I usually try not to touch my yogurt for a full 24 hrs at least


Enjoy your yogurt. :) Now you can make youre favourite smoothies at home, with your home-made yogurt. What about just mixing it with some fruit chunks and make your fruity-yogurt?

Note: If your yogurt does not look like a yogurt after 4 – 5 hours, try looking at the recipe at April 23rd 2005


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