I’ve written previously about how to make yogurt in a crock pot. But by popular demand, here is a more detailed tutorial on how to make yogurt at home, with no special equipment needed!
Making yogurt is SO easy. If you are a yogurt eater, give this a try one weekend. It’s cheaper than buying yogurt, you know exactly what’s in it, and you can impress your friends at work on Monday with your vintage know-how. (“You left the milk out for HOW long?!”)
Milk (start with 1 pint to 1 quart of milk, depending on how much yogurt you want. I prefer to use whole milk, but also use semi-skimmed/2% with good results. I don’t drink skim milk, so I haven’t tried it with that yet, but if you do, let us know how it works!)
Plain pro-biotic yogurt (you need a spoonful of yogurt to act as your ‘starter’ to provide the good bacteria.)
A warm place – either in your oven, or a big stoneware bowl wrapped in blankets, or a heating pad, or a crock pot etc. Get creative!
Optional, but useful: a cooking thermometer
Time: About 30 minutes of active time, 8-12 hours inactive time
1) Heating: Pour the milk in a saucepan on the stove. Heat gently over medium heat until it’s steaming, but not simmering (This is where a thermometer is handy, heat to 180F/82C). If you end up simmering the milk, you can still make the yogurt, it just might have a ‘cooked’ taste. (If you accidentally boil milk sometime, you’ll know what I mean!) Err on the side of heating too little, rather than too much.
2) Cooling: Pour the milk into the bowl you’ll use during fermentation (the waiting time where milk becomes yogurt). Let the milk cool to 110F/43C. In the old days before everyone had thermometers, they referred a lot to ‘blood temperature’ (98F/36C). We want the yogurt to be slightly warmer than ‘blood temperature’. When you put your finger into the milk, and it feels comfortably warm, it should be ready!
3) Add the starter (happy bacteria!): Whisk in 2 TB of yogurt. Whisk it really well so the yogurt cultures are spread throughout the milk. Move to step 4 quickly so the milk doesn’t cool any further.
4) Ferment!: Cover your container. Put it in the warm place and leave undisturbed for at least 8 hours. I like to do this overnight. (The warm place should be about 100F/37C. You can use your oven, turned off, with only the light on. I like to leave mine in the crock pot, turned off, and wrapped in blankets. If your house is warm, maybe you can just wrap the bowl in a blanket. Or wrap it in a blanket and put a heating pad on top. Or in an empty cooler with a hot water bottle inside. Really, be creative! Just keep it warm).
5) Chill: After 8-12 hours, unwrap your creation and check your yogurt. It should be thicker and a different texture than before (depending on the yogurt starter and milk I use, this varies from smooth and creamy, to slightly stringy, they’re all fine to eat!). Pour into containers and refrigerate until chilled. Enjoy! Remember to save a few spoonfuls from this yogurt to make your next batch.
Note: Some people add some dried milk powder in step 3 to make the yogurt thicker, I haven’t tried this yet though. If you have, let me know!
Have you tried making your own yogurt? Or does the idea of making your own yogurt completely freak you out? It used to for me too! Ask your questions here and we’ll get over it together!