Vietnamese Yogurt: Printer Friendly Version!

Vietnamese Yogurt

This recipe is my take on the original  White On Rice Couple.  The ingredients and ratios are all theirs but I played a bit with the method. Because I’m incorrigible.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cups water (It should be hot enough that a great deal of steam is coming from the surface of the water, but it should not be boiling.)
  • 1 1/4 cups cold milk (Using cold milk helps bring down the temperature of the mixture to just the right point to encourage the yogurt to set nicely.)
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (This can be any plain or vanilla yogurt you can get at the grocery store.  Plain is preferable, but vanilla stands in nicely.  Just as good a quality yogurt as you can find.)

Optional for serving:

  • Assorted toppings: jam, fresh fruit, syrups, granola…  Whatever floats your boat!

Prepare a water bath for the yogurt by adding about two inches of water to a wide, deep pot (for example, a canning pot, pasta pot, soup pot, etc…) Place the pan over high heat and bring the water to a temperature where a great deal of steam is pouring from the surface of the water but it is not boiling.  Place a tight fitting lid on the pan and turn off the heat.  Put a separate kettle of water on over medium heat on another burner.  While that heats, prepare the yogurt as follows.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk and water until thoroughly combined.  Whisk in the cold milk.  Set aside.

Measure the cup of yogurt into a medium sized mixing bowl.  Gently whisk in a ladle full of the warm milk/water/condensed milk mixture until smooth.  Repeat with two more ladles of milk.  When it is completely smooth, pour into the remaining hot milk and whisk gently until smooth.  Position a fine-mesh strainer or a colander lined with cheesecloth over another bowl and pour the liquid through the strainer.  Use a spatula or wooden spoon to press any lumps through the strainer.  This guarantees a silky finished yogurt.  If you don’t mind a few lumps you can skip this step.

Pour the prepared yogurt into clean and empty jelly or baby food jars or into small drinking glasses.  If using 8 ounce jars, this will fill about five or six jars.  It is helpful to use jars or cups of a uniform height since you will be putting them in a water bath. Do not put lids on the jars.  Remove the lid from the pan of hot water, steam should still be coming from the surface of the water, but not quite as vigorously.  If there is no steam, reheat the water slightly.  Transfer the pan of hot water to a heat-proof surface.  Arrange the jars in the hot water.  Use the kettle to add enough water, if necessary, to come about 4/5 of the way up the sides of the jars.  Lay a bath towel over the pot in such a way that it covers the top of the pot but does not fall down into the yogurt or water.  Now the hard part is done.  All that remains is to let the water return to room temperature.  In my house this takes about four or five hours.  You may have to adjust this time slightly depending on how warm your climate (or thermostat) is at the time you make it.

When the water is room temperature, the yogurt should be set (in other words, it may wiggle like a firm jelly when gently shaken, but it won’t be a liquid.)  If using jars, you can screw or clamp on lids.  If using cups, cover lightly with plastic wrap.  Either way, refrigerate for two hours or more before eating.  Around these parts, we like them with a dollop of homemade blueberry or strawberry jam or a scoop of crushed pineapple.  (Don’t tell anyone I said this, but it’s also really good with a healthy spoonful of dulce de leche [yes, I am aware of the irony inherent in that statement] on top for dessert.)