This is my favorite new recipe. I have made around 10 batches of homemade yogurt in the past couple months. I found the recipe at A Year of Slowcooking. Who knew it was so easy? I didn't really eat a lot of yogurt to begin with but I saw this and knew that I had to try it. Now I eat it almost every day in one way or another. I make smoothies. I eat it with a variety of fruit with a squirt of amaretto agave nectar. I add it to my blueberry muffin batter. I have put it in soup. My newest passion is homemade frozen yogurt. YUM!
I used whole milk in my first batch, because I read that you should start here when you are new at making yogurt. I then went to 2% and now I only use 1%. It worked equally well with all of them. You aren't supposed to use ultra-pasteurized milk, but I accidently bought some organic milk that I didn't realize was ultra-pasteurized. By the time I realized what I had done I decided to go ahead and give it a try. I had no hope of it turning out. But, it did! I was shocked!
So, this is how I make the yogurt. The only three ingredients you need are a carton of plain yogurt that has active live cultures, some fat free powdered milk and half a gallon of milk (not ultra-pasteurized). This is the yogurt I have used as a starter.
The two tools you need to make your yogurt is a thermometer and a crockpot. This is my crockpot that I use.
I pour the milk into the crockpot. Turn it onto low and heat for 2 hours. I then turn the crockpot off and let it cool to about 120-130 degrees. This is very important! If it is too hot the live bacteria will die. If it is too cold the bacteria will not grow. I check the temperature with a candy thermometer. Once it is cooled to the correct temperature, I take the yogurt starter that has been brought to room temperature and mix it with 1/2 cup of powdered milk. The milk is supposed to thicken the yogurt. I then add two ladles full of the warmed milk from the crockpot to the yogurt mixture. Mix well. Then, I gently mix in the yogurt/milk mixture into the rest of the warm milk in the crockpot. I put the lid on the crockpot and then cover the crockpot with about five blankets. I leave it like that for about 24 hours. AND THEN! I have homemade yogurt!
I usually put my milk in the pot around 6:00. Let it heat until 8:00. It cools in about 2 hours to the correct temperature. I add the yogurt and powdered milk and then I cover it before I go to bed. When I get home from work the next evening the yogurt is ready.
There are many methods online for making yogurt. Some involve putting the yogurt mixture in a cooler with warm blankets. Some involve setting the pot on a heating pad. I didn't put this much effort into mine and it turns out perfect every time! The only time mine did not turn out was when I forgot about my milk heating in the first stage. It cooked for about 4 minutes. Way too long! I had to dump it out and start over again.
So some people ask: Why would you make your own yogurt when you can just go buy it at the store? There are several reasons. First of all, I know what is in my yogurt. There are no preservatives, chemicals or sugar. Next, it is super cheap. One carton costs around $1 each at the store. I make about 8 cups of fresh yogurt with very little effort and about $2. Why wouldn't you make your own?
Note: This yogurt is not super thick. If I want thicker yogurt I strain it in a coffee filter over a bowl.
I have let it strain for 2 days and it turns into the consistency of softened cream cheese. This worked very well in my fruit tart I made.
I am a kindergarten teacher living in Kansas, though my heart will always be in Texas. I spend my "extra" time cooking, baking, reading, planning for my classroom and spending time with my son and husband. My newest obsession is Zumba. I have been teaching since October and absolutely LOVE it!!! My twelve-year-old son, Cameron loves to cook with me and has considered being a chef when he grows up. We spend a lot of quality time together in our teeny-tiny kitchen.