Culture your own homemade yogurt and discover just how fresh this dairy delight can be. You won’t need too many ingredients, besides time, and making your own yogurt lets you control the taste and texture. Create your perfect homemade yogurt, and use it for cooking, desserts or fresh with fruit.
Start with milk and a couple of tablespoons of yogurt. Since yogurt is made from live cultures, you have to start with some that are already alive. We’ve also added dry milk, which increases the protein content of the yogurt. You’ll also need an instant-read kitchen thermometer, ice, a wide-mouth canning jar (quart or liter), and blankets (yes, blankets) to keep the yogurt warm during the process.
Makes: One Quart
1 quart whole milk
2 tablespoons instant nonfat dry milk
2 tablespoons plain whole milk with active cultures (room temperature)
- Fill your quart jar with hot tap water and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together your whole milk and dry milk. Keep whisking and bring the heat to medium, 195 degrees your thermometer. Cook for 10 minutes, whisking often, while you keep the heat at 195 degrees. You may have to adjust your heat setting on the stove. Remove from the heat.
- Set your saucepan in a sink full of ice and water until the mixture cools to 115 degrees. This will happen pretty quickly. If the temperature drops too low, simply reheat it a little bit on your stove. Keep it below 118 degrees however – you’ll be mixing it with the yogurt next, and too high heat will kill the yogurt.
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- Add your yogurt to a small bowl, and whisk in one cup of the hot milk. Whisk this mixture back into the big saucepan of milk.
- Drain your canning jar of the hot tap water, and pour the milk mixture inside. It may be easier for you to first transfer the mixture to a container with a spout.
- Now it’s time to incubate. Wrap your jar in a thick kitchen towel, and then nest it in a pile of blankets. Make sure the blankets are snug and tucked around the jar, in order to retain the heat. Let the mixture sit for 5 hours in a warm-ish place with no drafts. Don’t touch it, move it or check it.
- After the time has passed, unwrap the blankets and check the jar by tilting it back. It should have the consistency of baked custard. If it’s still too runny, wrap the jar back up and let it sit another hour or two. This process may take up to 12 hours altogether – and the longer it sits, the tarter your homemade yogurt will be. The liquid that appears around the curd is the whey. Stir it in, or drain it out for a more Greek-style yogurt.
- You are finally ready to chill. Refrigerate the concoction completely before diving in – at least 90 minutes, so that it can firm up and be ready to serve. Store the homemade yogurt in your fridge for up to one week.
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Photo by Larry Jacobsen