Making yogurt is simple, easy. Even if it were difficult, I think it would be worth it because it is just that delicious. Lots of folks make yogurt lots of different ways, what I’m about to show you is nothing new. But after many months of making yogurt at home, I have come up with a few little tricks and tweaks that make it even easier. If you can believe that.
Let’s get started!
First, add some non-fat dry milk powder to nice clean jars. I add 3/4 cup milk powder to a 32 ounce jar. Our family eats a whole whack of yogurt, so I make three jars at a time.
Next, add a little bit of milk (skim, reduced fat, or whole will do the trick) to the milk powder.
Cover it with a lid and give it a little shake until all the milk powder is dissolved. Repeat, using the same lid, with the remaining jars.
Now that the milk powder is dissolved, fill the rest of the jar with milk. Leave a bit of room at the top; you’ll need a bit of space for the starter.
Add some water to your stock pot, just enough that the water goes about halfway up the side of the jars. Put a thermometer into one of the jars of milk. Submerge three lids and two spoons (one is a backup) in the water. This will sterilize all the equipment that comes into contact with your yogurt after its been pasteurized, an additional measure that I like to take.
Place the pot on top of the stove and turn the flame on high. Heat the milk until the thermometer reads 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove the jars from the pot and set them to cool. I leave them on the countertop and it takes a handful of hours. I could put them in the refrigerator to speed the process, but whenever I do that I forget they are in there and usually end up with milk that is too cold to become yogurt.
Monitor the temperature. When it gets down somewhere between 90 and 100 degrees you’re ready to add the starter.
Your yogurt starter can be yogurt from a previous batch, so long as it is less than a week old. Alternatively, it can be store-bought. When buying a starter at the grocery store choose a plain yogurt that you generally like the flavor of (some cultures seem to be more tangy than others) and be sure that it contains live and active cultures. Brown Cow is our favorite.
Using a sterile spoon from the stock pot add a spoonful or two, approximately 1/4 cup per 32 ounces of yogurt, into the warm milk.
Cover the jars with the sterile lids and let them set in a warm place. You want the temperature to stay within the 90-100 degree Fahrenheit range during fermentation. The inside of our oven, with just the pilot light, works well. We’ve also set it on top of our refrigerator wrapped in a towel. Experiment and find a spot that works for you. When you make the first batch or two, you may want to check the temperature periodically to make sure it stays in range.
After about 12-15 hours your efforts will be rewarded with delicious, thick yogurt. Put it in the refrigerator and get ready to enjoy!
We like to top it with a drizzle of honey or a spoonful of preserves. Tell me, what’s your favorite way to eat yogurt?