One of the things about blogging for many years is that you can always go back and see how you did things several years ago. Here are some older posts I did about making yogurt:
We eat a whole lot of yogurt around here. I had to laugh the other day when many of my friends on Facebook were telling me I should be eating yogurt! There are several storebought brands that we like.
One that I love is Noosa, and our local Kroger carries three flavors of it and it’s expensive. When it’s on sale, it’s sometimes $2/container but most of the time, it’s closer to $3.50/container.
We also like the Simply Truth Yogurt, though I always end up with more plain yogurt left over after all the “jelly” is gone because I love sweet stuff!
The cost of homemade yogurt, including the cost of milk, Maple syrup that I use for sweetener and jam or fresh fruit added when served, comes to about 70¢ per cup!
If you’ve never made yogurt at home, you’re not going to believe how easy this is!
Here’s all you need:
You will need milk (discussed below), a starter (discussed below), a sweetener if desired and containers for storing your homemade yogurt. You will also need a thermometer of some sort. An inexpensive candy thermometer will do the trick, and a method of incubating the yogurt. Incubation methods you may want to use:
- Oven – Turn your oven on the lowest setting and let it reach about 115º. Turn it off and store the yogurt in the warm oven. You may want to re-heat the oven a few times during the incubation period to keep the correct temp.
- Crockpot – There’s a link above for using the crockpot.
- Thermos – Pour the warm yogurt into the Thermos and it should stay at about 115º for long enough for the incubation to occur.
- Ice Chest/Cooler – This is my favorite method currently. Pour a little hot water into the bottom of an ice chest to bring the temp to 110 – 115º, place a small rack in there to keep the yogurt out of the hot water, place the jars/containers of yogurt on the rack and let the yogurt incubate there.
Start with however much whole milk (NOT ultra high temperature pasteurized!) you want to use. Generally, I get a little over 1 cup of yogurt per 1 cup of milk used because of the starter added back each time. You can use whole milk or 2% milk, both of which will produce a fairly creamy, thicker yogurt. You can also use skim milk but you’re going to get a less creamy, not so thick yogurt.
Use the freshest milk available. I would avoid using milk that has a real close expiration date.
Using a stainless or other heavy duty pan, pour the milk into the pan. Attach the thermometer to the side of the pan, making sure it doesn’t touch the pan. Heat the milk, stirring to keep a film from forming on top of the milk, til the temp reaches between 180º and 200º. I like to get my milk to 190º and hold it there for about 10 minutes. This higher temp and holding time seems to reduce a bit of the liquid and makes for a thicker yogurt.
Allow the milk to cool down to 110º. This can be done by simply walking away from it for a while or placing the pan in an ice water bath. If placing the plan in ice water, be sure your pan is safe and will not crack or warp when going from hot to ice cold. Also, the milk cools down very quickly using this method so do not walk away.
Once the 110º temp has been reached, stir in your starter. For 8 cups of milk, stir in about 1/2 cup of plain, non-sweetened yogurt. Once you’ve made your own, you can save out some of that to be your starter but for the first time, purchase plain, unsweetened yogurt. Gently whisking the starter into the milk til it is all blended. At this point, add any sweeteners you may desire. I add about 1/2 cup of maple syrup.
Now it is time to incubate and the incubation period should be from about 5 – 10 hours. The longer the incubation period, the thicker the yogurt and the taste becomes a bit more tart.
Once the yogurt has done it’s incubation time, transfer to the fridge and allow to cool completely before serving.
Here’s a bowl of homemade yogurt with a little blueberry jam and fresh blueberries!
If you prefer Greek type yogurt, it’s all about the same except you straight the yogurt to remove the liquid and make a denser/dryer yogurt. This is the strainer I like to use for Greek yogurt.