Making YogurtPosted: April 12, 2011
Ok, so there’s little more satisfying than making yogurt. It’s a simple process that yields tangible results. You heat some milk, add a little culture, keep nice and warm, and voila, you’re done.
My family consumes quite a bit of yogurt so making it ourselves is smart for us. Plus, I like knowing exactly what goes into the product. In addition to protein, calcium, Vitamin B-12 and Vitamin D (just naming a few here), yogurt with live/active cultures provides immune and digestive support. I learned first-hand how the probiotics (“good” bacteria) in yogurt helped my daughter’s digestion during illness.
I like Kathy Farrell-Kingsley’s recipe from The Home Creamery because it’s super simple, and I can use items already in my kitchen. I’m all for a yogurt-making machine if you have one, but I like to find ways around accumulating more “stuff”! Here are Kathy’s directions with some of my thoughts added in:
4 Cups milk (organic skim or whole preferred – and local when possible!)
1/4 Cup yogurt starter (my first starter was from store-bought, organic and live cultured yogurt. Now, I just reserve 1/4 C from previous home-made supply and incorporate into new batch)
Heat milk to around 185 degrees in large pan, then remove from heat and let cool to about 110 degrees (cooking thermometer very helpful here)
Next stir in your 1/4 C starter and mix well (whisk is recommended). Pour into CLEAN, glass containers and cover with lids (I use various sized glass jars I’ve collected). Kathy says the temperature of the milk should stay at about 110 degrees while culture forms (6-12 hours depending on your preference for tartness and firmness). She has great suggestions for how to incubate:
-put jars into picnic cooler with few additional jars of hot water and keep lid closed (this is what I do and when possible I try to refresh hot water)
-put jars into gas oven with pilot light but DO NOT turn on oven
-put yogurt into a thermos
-wrap jars in blanket
Experiment and see what works best for you. I’ve been as happy with yogurt incubated for 6 hours as with 10 hours. Enjoy!