Making your own yogurt is super easy and has several benefits over store-bought yogurts: 1)It’s considerably cheaper; 2)You have complete control over its flavoring and how much sugar is in it; and 3)You don’t have to feel guilty about all those plastic tubs–recyclable or not.
To make your own yogurt you can buy an actual yogurt-making machine, or you can simply use a few items you probably already have lying around the house.
What you’ll need:
– Kerr canning or other glass jars with lids (2-4 depending on size)
– An electric heating pad
– A medium-size saucepan
– A candy/liquid thermometer
– 1 quart of milk (I use goat since it’s tends to be purer and is easier to digest)
– 2-3 tbsp. of plain (unsweetened) yogurt*
– 2-3 tbsp. powdered milk (optional)
*The plain yogurt serves as your starter. You may wish to experiment with your starter since the consistency (e.g., regular vs. Greek-style) and flavor will effect the batch of yogurt you are making.
Slowly heat the milk in the saucepan until 180-190 degrees Fahrenheit. Set the pan in a bowl of cold/ice water until the temperature falls to about 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Stir in the 2-3 tablespoons of plain yogurt, and the powdered milk (the later gives a thicker consistency). Cover the pan with a lid or foil and place in a warm place where the yogurt will maintain a temperature of approximately 115 degrees Fahrenheit. (I set mine on a heating pad set on medium, and wrap a towel around the whole thing.) Let sit for 4-8 hours or overnight. Pour or spoon into the glass jars and refrigerate for at least 12 hours before serving.
You can flavor your yogurt with pure vanilla extract, maple syrup, honey or another sweetener, such as agave or jerusalem artichoke syrup.
Once you’ve made your first batch, make sure you reserve a couple of tablespoons for your next batch.
(Photo: Courtesy of Ashles, 2007)