First you will need to get your supplies together. Now don't let this intimidate you, You don't need anything fancy, none of those expensive yogurt makers. So here goes:
- Large pot
- Mason jars & lids, I use two quart jars as that is how much yogurt I make at a time
- Small bowl or measuring cup
- Heating Pad
- Cooler, I use a soft side I got at the dump store (really any container, even a box would work)
Now for the ingredients. As I said I make 2 quarts at a time, so that is what I'm going to give you here. It should be easy enough to adjust to make more or less. Really, making yogurt is that easy.
- 2 quarts milk - I use raw
- yogurt starter - this is the live bacteria you need to introduce to the milk You have a few options here. You can purchase a starter at your local health food store or online from someone like Culture for Health. The next option is to purchase a cup of plain yogurt at the food store. Just make sure it says it contains live cultures. Many do. And once you have your own yogurt you can use a little of the previous batch to make the next batch.
That's it! You are ready to make yogurt. I will tell you that this takes a bit of time. So it is best to do on a day that you will be home. Most of the time is just waiting for milk to cool and yogurt to culture, so you will be free to do what ever your heart desires, but you should be around.
First you will want to make sure that all your equipment is clean. You are growing bacteria here so no need to have some nasty strain hanging around.
Next pour the milk into your mason jars and set in your pot. Fill the pot with water at least half way up the jars. This is just a water bath. It is a simple way to heat the milk without scorching it. And it saves on dishes as the pot should be able to go right back in the cupboard as soon as you are done.
Heat the milk to 180 degrees. True you milk isn't raw anymore, but this is the safe way to kill any nasty stuff that might be there. You will also get a nice thick yogurt. It is hard to get a thick raw yogurt.
Once your milk has reach 180 degrees remove it from the water bath and let it cool to 110 degrees. This is where you need to be around but not totally tied to your kitchen. The milk needs to cool so that when you introduce the culture you don't kill the bacteria.
Sorry about the blurry picture. Not great with my left hand. And as you can see I missed the 110 mark a bit. That's because I forgot to take the picture before I started adding the culture. Shhh don't tell.
Now you are going to pour a little of the milk into a glass measuring cup or small bowl. To this add your starter yogurt. I add about 2-4Tbsp of yogurt per quart. It really is the amount left in the bottom of the jar from the previous batch(If you purchases a yogurt starter, you will need to follow the directions on the package). Gently mix the milk and your yogurt really well. Once mixed pour the milk/yogurt mixture back into the rest of the warm milk and mix again.
If you want plain yogurt you are all set. If you want to flavor your yogurt you can add a little vanilla, honey, or maple syrup now. I usually make one quart plain and one vanilla. We don't sweeten our yogurt. I don't also add fruit or anything else at this point, that way everyone can have it "their way" when the time comes.
All that's left now is to incubate the yogurt. Basically you need to leave the jars in a warm spot for a while while the bacteria grows. This is where the heating pad and cooler come in handy. There are lost of ways to keep the yogurt warm. I have heard of people using their crock pot or dehydrator. Some use a cooler and pour the hot water in from heating the milk, just beware that you may have to add more hot water to keep it at temp long enough. I'd forget.
As you can see, I just put the pad around the jars. Zip up the lid and let it be. The longer you incubate your yogurt the more tart and thick it will be. About the minimum you can incubate is 6 hours. Then it becomes personal preference. I will tell you I have forgotten about it and left it overnight, when I was supposed to go in the fridge at 9pm, and it was still amazing the next morning. So really you can't go wrong.
Once it is done incubating, all that is left is to put it in the fridge. Warm yogurt is not all that yummy. But once this had cooled down I promise you it will be some yummy stuff, thick and creamy. Sorry for the yucky picture here too. Yogurt just doesn't photograph well for me.
Now this turned into a long post for something that really is simple so here's a recap.
Take your milk and heat it to 180 degrees.
Cool milk to 110 degrees.
Pour off a little of the milk and add your yogurt with live cultures and mix well.
Pour milk/yogurt mixture back into the warm milk and stir to mix well.
Put lids on your jars and keep them warm for at least 6 hours more like 12.
Refrigerate until cold.
See isn't that easy? I hope you will give making your own yogurt a try. It really is so much yummier and truly frugal.
Linking up over at the Homestead Barn Hop, Make Your Own Monday, Scratch Cooking Tuesday, Traditional Tuesdays, Healthy 2Day Wednesday, and Country Mama Cooks.