Homemade yogurt is so easy to make and is so much tastier than commercial yogurt, it’s a wonder more people don’t make it. I’ve been making yogurt for some 10 years, more or less. I love the creamy texture and naturally sweet flavor. It’s good plain, with fruit, in shakes, in sauces, or for baking.
To make yogurt you need a yogurt that has live Bifidus cultures. You’ll mix the yogurt with milk that has been brought to a boil and cooled to between 105°-115°. Then, you pour the yogurt into jars and keep it warm for 6-7 hours. That’s it. Nothing could be easier. Once you’ve made yogurt you can keep back a small amount and use it for your next batch. The amount you keep is called the “culture”.
But let me get one think straight. I’m not a one of those purists who believe in using the same culture over and over, and saving it from year to year –that’s too way inconvenient for me. It’s one thing to watch over your kids and baby them to try and prevent them from having, colds, flues, scrapes or fights, insults or injuries –but to baby a yogurt culture? To use it even when you may not feel like having any, so it thrives from week to week, or look for a babysitter who will prepare the milk and feed it to keep it active and strong while you’re away on vacation? That’s not me.
I use the same culture over two or three batches and then I tire of eating yogurt, and I won’t make it for a couple of weeks. When I want it again, I’ll just buy a new container of good commercial yogurt to use as the base. Once you try it you won’t believe the difference. Don’t let it intimidate you. Have a go at it and enjoy the health benefits that yogurt provides.
You must buy a brand of yogurt that contains live active cultures. Dannon low-fat, or no-fat yogurt yogurt both work well and are available in most grocery stores. Other brands I have used and liked very much are, Brown Cow, and Pavel’s Russian Yogurt, but they are only available at some health food stores or Whole Foods Market.
Yield: 8 cups
- 2 quart size glass jars with lids
- Pot, or stockpot large enough to fit the jars and be able to cover with the pot lid
- Large towel
3 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
2 quarts milk
1/2 cup nonfat yogurt
Heat to quarts of milk in a pot. Stir frequently and bring to a boil, but be careful not to let the milk boil over. After it comes to a boil, stir the powdered milk, and place a thermometer in the pot. Turn off the heat and allow the milk to cool to 105°-115°.
After the milk has cooled, whisk the ½ cup of yogurt into the milk and make sure to thoroughly mix it in.
Strain the milk through the sieve into a 2 quart pitcher.
Heat 3 quarts of water in the large stockpot to 115°. The warm water will help keep the yogurt at the correct temperature.
Ladle the milk into the clean glass containers, and place the containers in the stockpot. Cover the pot with the lid and then wrap a towel around the stockpot and let it sit on the counter untouched for 6-8 hours. (The longer it sits the more acidic it gets. I prefer it less acidic so I let sit 6 hours.)
Place in the refrigerator when it is ready.
Enjoy this treat!