by Alexis Markowitz
Making your own yogurt at home is actually a lot easier that you think, and doesn’t require lots of fancy tools or equipment. The only “must” is a thermometer made for cooking. The rest can be done with items found around your home. Homemade yogurt is healthy and delicious. It’s full of all the bacteria that is beneficial for your gut, but missing are the stabilizers and thickeners that most store bought brands add. Whether you use conventional milk, organic or raw, the method is still the same and the bacteria are still alive so the choice is up to you, but Ultra Pasteurized or UHT milk produces the least successful outcome because of the processing it undergoes before it arrives at the store. Once you have the basic recipe down you can experiment with low fat milk, straining and different culture times to get the finished product you like. Yogurt starter culture can be found online and in most health food stores, but a few tablespoons of yogurt, homemade or store-bought works just as well. Just be sure that it is plain, without flavorings and has as few additives as possible.
Yield: 1 qt Plain yogurt
1 qt. whole milk
3 tablespoons of plain room temperature yogurt, or about 3 tablespoons of starter (follow directions on package)
- In a double boiler, heat milk to 110 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature that milk begins to foam.
- Gently stir in room temperature yogurt, or whisk in yogurt cultures.
- Keep warm at around 110 degrees Fahrenheit for 5-10 hours to incubate the cultures. The longer you incubate the creamier the yogurt but also the tangier. 7 hours is a good starting point, you can adjust for subsequent batches according to your taste. The incubation temperature doesn’t have to be exact, but too cool and the bacteria will not grow, too hot and they will die.
Some ways to keep temperature are:
- Sit the pot on a heating pad and cover the top loosely with plastic wrap
- Pour mixture into a thermos
- Pour mixture into a slow cooker or crock pot and keep at lowest setting
- Pour water in a slow cooker, then place pot of yogurt inside and keep at required setting
- Turn on oven to low setting and keep pot on stove above
- When yogurt is ready, stir and transfer to a clean container and put in refrigerator. It will jiggle slightly and have a greenish liquid on top, which is whey. Once cool you can add flavorings and enjoy!