First you need to obtain either a yogurt starter in dry form or you can go the easiest route and just buy some yogurt from the store that has live cultures in it and use a Tbsp of it as your starter.
( It is VITALLY impt that the yogurt you buy has LIVE cultures in it, so read the container!!!!- often the yogurts in the store have been pasteurized to the point where the yeast cultures have actually been killed off. SO PLEASE CHECK or you will end up with nothing but a jar of milk for you effort)I will say I like to use Stoneyfield Organic Plain Yogurt- I like its creamy texture, and it has numerous strands of live culture. I have also used Live Acidophilis Raw Milk Yogurt from our Local Natural Food Stores successfully, it was a little runnier.
- I did also try and use a dry starter and it worked, but I did not like the taste as well, it was much less sweet naturally, and as I do not like to add any sugar I look for a naturally sweetish taste in my yogurt.
- I have tried a few different methods of making yogurt at home, I will give you a breakdown review of each and let you know which is my favorite when we get to the end step in the recipe, as the first step is virtually the same.
HOMEMADE YOGURT(I will base this on a recipe for making 1 quart yogurt.)
See how thick it is on the spoon- thats one I strained through some cheese cloth, the yogurt in the dish is my strawberry version-its really thick too even with the pureed addition (see my tips at the bottom)
- Measure 1 quart milk and pour into your heavy bottom pan. Place on stove top over med-low heat and bring to a temp of 180F. Maintain this temp for 15- 20 min. Stirring very often as to not scald your milk. You want to bring it up to temp very slowly also.
- Next set aside to come down to a temperature of between 100 and 110F. ( a fast method here is to fill a colander or large bowl with ice and place your milk pan into it- your milk will come down to temp very fast-watch it closely!) Now you are ready to add your yogurt starter. You only need to add 1 T of live culture yogurt and stir well to distribute.
- Now you need to place it in a warm place where is can maintain a constant warm temp ( ideally btwn body temp and 110 degrees) until it becomes yogurt. It is said that it takes between 4 and 15 hours. Mine seems to take at least 12. I recommend checking it around the 8 hour mark and then in increments. YOGURT DOES NOT LIKE TO BE JOSTLED OR DISTURBED-this is a biggie.( I think 4hrs may work if you have a yogurt maker machine??????)
in order of my fav to least fav
1. Get a small cooler, or insulated cooler bag in my case, and place your quart, or quarts or yogurt in it. Next fill however many quart jars necessary to fill entire space of cooler surrounding your yogurt quarts with the hottest tap water you can. Every 4 or so hours check your coolers heat level and refill the water jars with hot water to keep the heat in your cooler a nice constant warm. This works really well and ends up with the creamiest result in my opinion!!!!
|see that cooler bag by the window, thats my yogurt "incubator"|
|This is my crock pot wrapped with a blankie!|
My Tips and Tricks
- My fav add in-- Bourbon Vanilla Bean Paste--- YUMM!!!!!-- and it is GlutenFree
- and sometimes I add pureed fruit on a rare occasion
- my kiddos like a sprinke of cinnamon on top, or a drizzle of honey
- TO MAKE IT SUPER THICK AND CREAMY here are a couple modifications--- during the heating the milk step ADD 1/3 cup buttermilk or regular milk powder and make sure to heat the milk the full 20 minutes.
- Also remember- DO NOT AGITATE YOUR YOGURT WHILE ITS SETTING UP, THIS CAN LEAD TO GRAINY OR LUMPINESS.
- If you don't mind your yogurt a tad thin, you can skip the maintaining at a high temp for 20 min- just get it to 180, then bring it down to 110. I have done this quite successfully- (but as I like creamier texture I ended up straining these batches- which makes a SUPER creamy product, but you end up with a lot less yogurt, and a lot of whey--which if you will use the whey is not a bad thing!!!!!)