Homemade Yogurt

I’ve had a couple requests to post how I made homemade yogurt.  The pic shows my younger daughter, D holding the jar of homemade yogurt.  She is my picky eater, and she gobbled down the yogurt and raspberries she had for breakfast yesterday morning.

Some tips to start out:

  • Use 2% or whole milk.  Skim milk makes nasty, sour, chalky yogurt.
  • Use regular fresh milk, not the ultra-pasteurized organic milk.  The high heat process breaks down some of the proteins and will not work for yogurt. (As a side note, my big milk drinker, J thinks ultra-pasteurized milk tastes funny and prefers Publix milk)
  • You can buy a yogurt maker, but glass jars work fine.  You can use one big one as I did or divide the batch into smaller jars.  The easiest way to sterilize the jars is to run them through a dishwasher.
  • There are yogurt starters, but I just used Stonyfield Farms plain organic yogurt as my starter.  It has a good culture profile.
  • Use a double-boiler to scald the milk.  This will keep you from scorching your pans. I don’t trust this process to the microwave.

Homemade Yogurt

4 cups milk

1/4 cup plain yogurt with active cultures

Scald milk in a double boiler over medium heat.  Bring the milk to 180 – 185 degrees (this will take about 30 min) , stirring regularly.  Hold the milk at this temperature for 5 minutes to kill any stray bacteria that may interfere with the yogurt culture.  Cool the yogurt to 120 degrees or a little less.  I put the double boiler into a large bowl of ice water.  It will cool off fast this way, within 5-10 min.  Stir in the plain yogurt with a whisk.  Pour the mixture into a large glass jar or several smaller ones.  I liked using a big jar because I could give it a few good shakes to make sure it was well mixed.  Place the jar in a warm place for 4-8 hours (the longer the time, the thicker and more sour the yogurt will be).  I turned my oven on, turned it right back off, and placed the yogurt in the oven with the oven light on.  You could also place jar(s) in a cooler filled with a warm water bath or set them on a heating pad and wrap them with a towel.

When the yogurt is done, it will have a layer of clear yellowish liquid on the top, which is the whey.  I pour this off and use it in soups and stews, but you can just stir it in if you prefer a thinner yogurt.  To make a very thick (Greek style) yogurt, strain the yogurt in a cheesecloth-lined colander until it is the desired consistency.  I was happy with the flavor and thickness of the yogurt at 8 hours.  Place the yogurt in the fridge and eat when cool.  Taste it first – I didn’t think this yogurt required a sweetener.  Set aside 1/4 cup to use as a starter for your next batch (use within a week).

4 Responses to Homemade Yogurt

  1. Amy Lambrecht says:

    very impressive. I believe I’m going to try this out too. We eat lots of yogurt and what a great way to know exactly what your putting into your body when your in charge.

  2. Pingback: Mom Saves the Day « Greenhsv's Blog

  3. Pingback: Cherry or Blueberry Coconut Bowl « Primal Green

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