When I first started thinking about making homemade yogurt, Adam looked at me funny and told me that was something he didn't think I should tackle. So, I went ahead and did it when he wasn't home :) Guess what? It's really easy, tastes like yogurt and contains no sugar/artificial sweeteners!
Making yogurt is actually a really simple thing to do.
1. Heat yogurt to 180 degrees to kill any bacteria living in milk.
2. Sterilize jar.
3. Cool milk back down to 120 degrees so when you add your yogurt starter you don't kill the good bacteria.
4. Add yogurt starter.
5. Let sit in 120 degree water bath in small cooler anywhere from 4-24 hrs.
I'm no expert but here is what I do.
First you'll need a good helper. And yes, I've been meaning to do this post for a long time. Notice pictures were taken at our old house.
Fill your jar with milk. This is how I measure it :)
Pour milk into microwaveable container and put in microwave. I have tried microwaving the milk in the jar and my jar has sort of warped. Most people heat their milk up in a pan on the stove. Microwaving seems to work for me so hey, why not? I do like 3 min. intervals, taking it out to mix in between. If you don't have a thermometer, I believe once it gets a skim coating on top, you have reached the desired temp. Or you know, you could probably find one for under $5.
Sterilize jar. This is just a good idea when you are wanting the proper bacteria to grow. I don't always do it though. :) I got some plastic lids off of Amazon for my jars. They are very helpful when storing jars in the fridge. Some people report finding them at Walmart. I saw some at our local small town grocery store.
Next you'll need your yogurt starter. This is simply a plain yogurt with active cultures. I believe different yogurts have different types of bacteria in them. You can also get yogurt cultures in powder form. Once you have your first batch of yogurt, you can save some of that batch to use as your starter in your next batch and so on. I have heard some that if you reuse your starter, it can lose it's potency over time. I bought a big container of plain yogurt and froze the extras in ice cube trays. I believe it's 2 T. per quart of milk. One cube = 2 T.
Since I did that I now have to defrost the starter each time I make yogurt. I just put it in a little dish and set in warm water.
I set in sink of cold water to cool back down.
Pour it into your jar, add your starter and stir. Not too hard, we are dealing with live bacteria here.
Set in cooler with 120ish degree water. Apparently our hot water heater is set at 120 degrees. Lucky for me :)
Set timer and set in corner of counter. This is the culturing. This is where the good bacteria you want grows.
All in all, maybe 15 min. of active work time to make yogurt.
Here's what else you might need to know.
- You can let it sit anywhere from 4-24 hours. The longer it sits, the more bacteria grows. The thickness and flavor may vary depending on how long it sits. I usually let it go 6 hrs.
- Sometimes I'll check on it and rewarm up the water. Sometimes I won't. One time I didn't and when the time was up, I still had milk. I rewarmed the water and let it sit longer and it actually turned into yogurt then! I was kind of surprised. I thought I had ruined my first batch.
- There is usually whey on top of the yogurt when done. I pour this off.
I usually don't add sugar. My last batch was a little tangy so I have added a little.
To flavor I have added pure vanilla extract, pureed strawberry/raspberry/blackberry, plain pureed strawberry, just cut up fresh fruit to put on top, peach, etc. The possibilities are endless. I have also mashed up a banana and put that in. One banana in one PINT and you don't even taste the yogurt. Tastes like a smoothie! I also add fruit fresh in with banana. IDK if it would turn brown but brown yogurt would freak me out. Maple syrup might taste good...
Click on the blog Heartland Renaissance in my blogroll on the side (my computer is running slow) and she showed another method recently to making yogurt!
Good luck! Questions?