Three or so Christmases ago I asked for a yogurt maker. I used it twice, wasn't happy with the results and stashed it away on a shelf for the next three years. One of my friends recently was telling me about how she makes yogurt at home. (She doesn't use a maker, you can check out the various methods online.) I decided to give her recipe a try. I also decided to give the yogurt maker another try. And great news, it worked! I think that the trick is to add any fruit or sweeteners just before eating, rather than part of the yogurt making process. (I am not expert, but that is what I think.) Anyway, I thought that I would share the yogurt making process with you today. It is really not all that complicated.
Homemade Yogurt (1 quart)
1 quart milk (whole, 2%, and skim all work fine)
½ cup dry milk powder
2 Tbsp plain yogurt (While you can purchase yogurt starters, I think the easiest way is to purchase a small container of plain yogurt and use some of that as a starter. I have been using Fage, but others should work. Just make sure they have live active cultures.)
1. Combine milk and milk powder in saucepan, heat over med to med high heat until it reaches 190° (about 15 minutes, but use a thermometer).
2. Remove from heat, partly cover (to prevent a skin from forming) and cool to 110°. (You can either just let it cool by taking it off the heat, although I like to speed up the cooling process by placing the pan in an ice water bath in my sink.) *The reason for heating the milk is to kill any bacteria, therefore it must be cooled before adding the yogurt or the live bacteria you want to grow will also be killed.*
3. Once cooled, mix ½ cup milk with yogurt until smooth, add to remaining milk and stir well. At this point, I scoop the milk mixture into the individual containers that my yogurt maker came with. I put them into the yogurt maker, uncovered, and pour in hot water around the jars. (While this isn't part of the directions on my yogurt maker, I think it keeps a more even temperature.)
4. I keep my jars in the yogurt maker for 8-10 hours. Remember, the longer you keep them in there, the thicker the yogurt. I like mine thick, like Greek yogurt.
5. Remove jars from yogurt maker and cover and place in refrigerator. I like my yogurt with honey and fresh fruit. Sometimes I add a bit of vanilla or granola.
*If you don't have a yogurt maker, here are my friend's directions for hot water method. Pour milk/yogurt into very clean (or sterilized) quart jar, cover with saran wrap and keep undisturbed between 110° and 120° for 4-8 hours. To keep yogurt mixture at 115° fill a large stockpot with hot water, place jar in water and place in 115° oven OR fill two quart jars with hot water and place with yogurt jar in a cooler, keep replacing hot water jars with new jars every couple hours. She does this in her oven by cycling the warm setting on and off throughout the day.*
**If you are looking into purchasing your own yogurt maker, I would suggest one that uses one large container rather than the individual ones.**