I never thought so many people would be interested in my yogurt-making! I make my own yogurt (once a week, if you’re curious), and every time I mention it, I get requests for a tutorial. So… here it is!
It’s not hard to do! And for folks like me (who like plain yogurt, or even flavored yogurt without lots of sugar), making your own can be easier than finding the one you like in the store. Making your own yogurt is also cheaper than buying it, although not by as large of a margin as other homemade items (like bread, for example).
To make yogurt, all you need to do is add a culture (ie. friendly bacteria) to warm milk and keep it at 120 degrees (f) for 6-8 hours.
There are various pieces of equipment available to help you achieve the required temperature. You can use:
- a crock pot
- your oven (if the temperature setting goes low enough)
- a yogurt maker
I use a Euro Cuisine Yogurt Maker, and I love it. It keeps the temperature just right (as well as the humidity) and it doesn’t use much energy to run.
It’s important to note that a ‘yogurt maker’ doesn’t ‘make’ the yogurt (in the way that you dump ingredients into a bread machine and get a finished loaf of bread), it just keeps the mixture you’ll make at the right temperature for it to turn into yogurt.
Some people balk at having a yogurt-making appliance, but I don’t have a crock pot and my attempts at using the oven have been unsuccessful. So, it works for me. You’ll have to find what works for you!
You also need some happy bacteria to start your yogurt. The easiest thing to do is buy a small plain yogurt from the store, and divide it up into ice-cube trays and freeze:
You can also find culture in powder form, but I haven’t personally tried that approach.
How to make yogurt
Step 1: Heat your milk to almost boiling
Heat the volume of milk that you want to become finished yogurt (which probably depends on the size of your vessel).
If the milk boils a little, it’s okay. But, try to turn the heat off before it becomes a rolling boil.
Step 2: Let the milk cool
Now, let the milk cool to 120 degrees. Some folks use a thermometer, but I just stick my finger in and see if it feels like a nice bath temperature. If you skip this step, the too-hot milk will kill your bacteria.
Step 3: Add your culture
Whether you’re using the ‘ice cube’ method, fresh yogurt or powder, add the culture in and stir with a whisk. Use about 1 tablespoon (or two ice cubes) if using yogurt as a starter.
Pour the mixture into your vessel. I, personally, found the little jars that came with my yogurt maker too difficult to clean, so I use a glass storage bowl that fits inside my yogurt maker.
Step 4: Keep warm for 6-8 hours
Using a yogurt maker, this is easy. Turn it on and wait!
Step 5: Refrigerate and enjoy!
When your yogurt is done, it should look like yogurt. You know, solid-ish stuff with some liquid on top:
Draining the liquid is how you make Greek yogurt, but I like mine just this way. Refrigerate, and then enjoy!