Homemade Yogurt: Easy To Make, Low In Fat

August 11, 1991|By Tom Setzer | Tom Setzer,Universal Press Syndicate

America has long had a love affair with ice cream. But its high fat content has driven a lot of consumers to eat frozen yogurt instead.

Health concerns fed a boom in the commercial frozen yogurt business, which became a billion-dollar industry in the late 1980s.

What hasn't caught on yet is making frozen yogurt at home -- in the ice cream maker.

"I think that's a very refined thing to do," said Mary Jane Laws, manager of food publicity for the United Dairy Industry Association in Rosemont, Ill. "People are much more apt to go to a store and buy it."

Making frozen yogurt is no harder than making homemade ice cream. Armed with an ice cream maker, plain yogurt and a variety of flavors, you can create your own delicious low-fat frozen desserts.

Yogurt, a fermented milk product made with healthful bacteria including Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, offers a low-fat option to cream-based frozen desserts.

Ice cream's butterfat helps give it a rich texture. Yogurt won't be as creamy, but will have the same soft-serve texture as homemade ice cream. Homemade frozen yogurt is best served fresh; storing it in the freezer changes its texture.

Tom Balmer, a representative of the International Ice Cream Association in Washington, likens frozen yogurt to frozen ice milk.

"Most of them are less than half the fat of ice cream," he said.

With home equipment you won't have much control over texture, said Ms. Laws: "It just kind of happens." She said using gelatin gives frozen yogurt a creamier texture.

Cornstarch provides a creamy texture, and corn syrup helps prevent ice crystals.

Other tips:

*Sweeten fruit before adding to yogurt mixture. This helps keep it from freezing hard.

*Pureeing fruit allows for better distribution of fruit in the freezing process.

*To prevent curdling, don't heat yogurt or add hot ingredients to a yogurt base; let them cool first.

*Chilling the finished mixture before freezing in ice cream maker will give a smoother texture.

*Adding beaten eggs, which act as an emulsifying agent, to a yogurt mixture will yield a richer dessert.

Basic vanilla frozen yogurt

Makes 1 quart.

From "Frozen Yogurt," by Mable and Gar Hoffman (Fisher Books, $9.95).

2/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 (12-ounce) can evaporated low-fat milk

1 egg, slightly beaten

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups plain non-fat yogurt, stirred

In medium saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Stir in milk, beaten egg and corn syrup. Cook, stirring, over low heat until mixture thickens and coats a metal spoon. Remove from heat; cool.

Stir in vanilla and yogurt. Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.

Lemon cheese frozen yogurt

Makes 1 quart.

Adapted from "Ice Cream! The Whole Scoop," by Gail Damerow (Glenbridge Publishing, $24.95).

1 cup sugar

1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese

L 1/3 cup lemon juice (approximately juice from 4 medium lemons)

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1 teaspoon lemon extract

1 1/2 cups plain non-fat yogurt

1/2 cup low-fat milk

In blender or food processor, combine sugar, ricotta cheese, lemon juice, lemon rind and lemon extract. Puree until smooth.

In large bowl, stir yogurt and milk. Add cheese mixture. Stir until smooth. Freeze in ice cream maker according to directions.

Creamy chocolate frozen yogurt

Makes 1 quart.

From "Frozen Yogurt," by Mable and Gar Hoffman (Fisher Books, $9.95).

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1/2 cup sugar

1 (12-ounce) can evaporated skim or evaporated low-fat milk

1 egg, slightly beaten

2/3 cup chocolate syrup

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup plain non-fat yogurt, stirred

In medium saucepan, combine cornstarch and sugar. Stir in milk and egg. Cook and stir over low heat for 6 to 8 minutes or until mixture coats a metal spoon. Remove from heat. Add chocolate syrup and cool.

Stir in vanilla and yogurt. Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.

Coffee frozen yogurt

Makes 1 quart.

From "Ice Cream! The Whole Scoop," by Gail Damerow (Glenbridge Publishing, $24.95).

3/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon instant coffee

2 cups milk

2 beaten eggs

1 cup plain non-fat yogurt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In double boiler, combine sugar and instant coffee. Add milk. Heat until sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. Pour a little of the warm milk mixture into beaten eggs and stir. Pour eggs back into milk mixture and continue heating until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and cool.

Beat milk mixture until smooth and stir in yogurt and vanilla. Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.

Strawberry frozen yogurt

Makes 1 quart.

Adapted from "The Complete Dairy Foods Cookbook," by E. Annie Proulx and Lew Nichols (Rodale Press, 1982).

1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup sugar

2 cups strawberries

2 cups plain non-fat yogurt

Soften the gelatin in the lemon juice and water for 5 minutes; dissolve over very low heat, stirring constantly. (You may need to add more water a few drops at a time to thin gelatin mixture.) Remove from heat and cool.

Cut the strawberries in half. Mix strawberries and sugar in a blender until smooth but not liquefied. Add yogurt and blend. Add gelatin mixture and stir in thoroughly.

Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.

Note: Other fruits may be substituted for strawberries. Also, depending on tartness of strawberries or other fruit used, you may want to increase sugar to 1/2 cup. Yogurt made with fruit tends to form ice crystals.

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