Yes, that’s right: you can make yogurt at home. It sounds weird, but it is one of the easiest things I’ve done recently. Plus, you can make a gallon of yogurt (if you want; that’s a whole lotta yogurt) for the price of a gallon of milk. I love saving money when and where I can, and before I started making it, we were spending $3-4 dollars a week on yogurt at the store. Now we spend less than one dollar on yogurt per week. for the same amount.
“So why doesn’t everyone make yogurt at home?” you ask me. I don’t know. I figure most people hear the process and think it’s too complicated for them to do. It does sound complicated, but I urge everyone to try it; it’s really much easier than it sounds.
Here’s what you will need:
- milk (the amount of milk used yields the same amount of yogurt; make what you think your family will eat in the next two weeks)
- 3 Tbsp.-1/2 C. dry powdered milk (depending on the amount of milk used)
- the same amount of plain yogurt
- mason jars or old yogurt containers
- a warm, out of the way place and a few towels OR an oven set to it’s lowest setting
Some things that are helpful, but not absolutely necessary:
- a candy thermometer with a clip
- an oven thermometer
Step 1: Wash your jars and lids in hot, soapy water. Dry them thoroughly and place them on a cookie sheet to make them easier to transport.
Step 2: pour the milk into a heavy saucepan. Clip the thermometer to the side so the end of the probe is submerged in the milk.
Step 3: heat the milk, stirring constantly until the thermometer reads 180 degrees, or until it is frothy, but not boiling.
Step 4: run to the bathroom to put your hair up, because standing at the stove stirring milk gets kinda hot. Then forget what you are doing while looking for your cell phone around the house. Then remember and run back to the kitchen and keep stirring.
Step 5: forget to stir the milk again when this shows up at your feet wanting some water in his dish.
( Leo is not responsible for the tears in my poor kitchen rug. My washing machine wasn’t feeling well one day.)
Step 6: once the milk has reached 180 degrees (200 is okay, just don’t go higher than that) remove it from the heat (seriously, take it off the burner. It needs to cool down from here and it won’t if you leave it on the stove) and sprinkle in the powdered milk and stir really well. I used 1/4 C. of powdered milk for 1 1/2 quarts of milk.
Step 7: after adding the powdered milk and stirring it, let the milk cool to 115 degrees. Hint: stirring occasionally prevents false thermometer readings, and it cools the milk faster. If you’re not using a thermometer, cool just until you can hold your pinkie in the milk for ten seconds, no more.
Step 8: once the milk has cooled to 115 degrees (not hotter), add the yogurt you purchased, or if you’ve made yogurt within the last 7 days, you can use some from a previous batch. Stir it in well.
Step 9: Here is where your method may differ from mine. I have an electric range, and the oven has a warm setting. I put an oven thermometer in the oven and turn it on warm during the next steps.
Step 10: Ladle the hot milk/yogurt mixture into prepared jars or containers. I am using my Pyrex measuring cup because my ladle drips all over the place when I try to aim for such a small target.
Step 11: Turn your oven off if you’re using your oven. Put lids on the jars and place the tray of jars into the oven. If you’re not using your oven, place the tray of filled jars in a warm, out of the way place and cover completely with several towels. You can also set a heating pad under the tray and set it on medium.
*note: there are several different sized jars in the oven because yogurt is consumed in two different ways in our house; in neat little single serve portions (me) and in large quantities quickly (The Renaissance Man). It doesn’t matter what size containers you use, the yogurt will set in the same amount of time.
Step 12: This is the hardest part: close the oven door and walk away. The yogurt will take anywhere between 4-8 hours to set. The shorter the time, the milder the taste. I find that after about 7 hours my yogurt is sufficiently set and tastes the way I want it to. When you can tilt a jar without the yogurt inside sloshing against the sides of the jar, it is set. Then you can place the jars in the refrigerator to chill overnight.
This yogurt is plain. To sweeten it you can add sugar, honey, maple syrup, jelly, or whatever floats your yogurt boat. The Renaissance man and I eat or yogurt with honey and homemade granola on top. This is my breakfast 5 days a week, and it is so delicious. If you beg I might even share my recipe for homemade granola with you…