What’s nice about making some recipes over and over is that, not only can I make it myself, but I can make it better. I’m updating some of the articles on this blog, so I thought it might be helpful for readers if I noted these changes. Read more for updates on homemade yogurt, chocolate beer cupcakes, and Yogurtland.
I’ve finally found a sure-fire method for getting good, creamy yogurt. Keep in mind that this is what works best in my home environment in Ishikawa; you may find that slight variations will help given the exact settings of your heating pad or how your stove works.
- Pour boiling water into the jars and let them sit for 10 minutes. Way less dangerous than trying to extract them from a water bath.
- Use 2.3-2.5% milk. For whatever reason, my yogurt works best with this rather than skim or whole. ~2% milk is actually not that hard to find in Japan. 7-11′s store-brand cow’s milk (gyûnyû, 乳牛) is 2.3%, and I’ve found at least two other brands in Kanazawa. Just look on the side of the carton for the percentage of fat (nyûshibôbun, 乳脂肪分). Please note that Japanese milk tends to be labeled as “100% milk” on the front to indicate that it is not a yogurt drink or Calpis or milk coffee (or cut with water).
- Cool to 44 degrees C before adding the (approaching) room-temperature yogurt. This makes sure the batch doesn’t get below 42 degrees, which may make it runny. If you cool the milk too much, you can reheat it a bit first.
- Incubate overnight (8 hours). I try to time the milk-processing to finish at 11 pm (it takes about 30-60 minutes) so that I can leave the heating pad on overnight and then pop the yogurt into the fridge when I get up.
Speaking of yogurt, Yogurtland in Osaka has changed its name to Partyland. The shop is in the same location and serves the same products.
- I’ve reduced the sugar by 60 grams. The icing is sweet enough that the cupcake doesn’t need as much sugar, and the cake still will be moist and hold together well with less sugar.
- You can dye the icing with Japanese powdered food coloring! I used about 1/4 teaspoon of Kogura (小倉) brand food coloring (shokuyô shikiso, 食用色素) in yellow (ki, 黄) and red (beni, 紅) to make orange icing for Halloween. I think I used a bit much–they looked sort of radioactive–but the frosting tasted just fine. I think 1/8 teaspoon or just a tiny sprinkle would be good for starters.
- You can replace half the butter with yogurt. I ran out of butter while making these and swapped in yogurt for the rest. Yogurt’s dairy fat and creamy texture make it a good substitute for butter in some baked goods.