Making homemade yogurt is surprisingly simple, inexpensive, and healthy. Yogurt is great to eat plain, with honey, with your favorite fruit, granola, or other toppings or even for making sauces and dips. We are almost never without yogurt at home and once you can make it yourself, it is that much easier to stay stocked.
As everyone's level of lactose intolerance is different sometimes you don't know whether you can eat something that has dairy until you've tried it. One reason why I like making my own yogurt at home, aside from the fact that it's much cheaper, is because some store bought yogurts upset my stomach. It's interesting to see what different people who are lactose intolerant can eat. Most people I know who have lactose intolerance do eat yogurt. Some studies have shown that the probiotics in yogurt help with lactose digestion.
Although you can get very scientific about the whole process, I have found yogurt culture to be fairly forgiving and to grow quite well without too much of a fuss. While a thermometer and yogurt maker are both helpful, you can also pretty easily make yogurt without either. This recipe is designed to demystify yogurt making and I try to give several variations to suit the tools and ingredients you have at home. The basic process is to add yogurt to milk and let it sit in warm place for 8-12 hours.
4 Cups Milk (Whole, Low-fat or Fat-free)
Plain unflavored yogurt
- Bring the milk to a near boil. If you have a thermometer, heat the milk until 180 degrees. If you don't have a thermometer, bring the milk until it starts to foam and form a skin on the top but is not boiling. (The purpose of this is to kill the organisms that you don't want to grow as you incubate it. It you use boxed milk that has been Ultra High Temperature Pasteurized you can even skip these first two steps).
- Bring the milk temperature down to between 90 and 120 degrees. You can do this in a cold water bath or by leaving it on the counter for 10 minutes. If you don't have a thermometer then simply wait until the milk is warm to the touch.
- Pour the milk into glass jars, large cups or even old yogurt containers.
- Add 1/4 cup of yogurt to the warm milk and blend it up. Then divide the warm milk and yogurt mixture into separate containers.
- Incubate the yogurt for 8-12 hours between 80 to 100 degrees. There are several ways to do this. You can place the containers in a cooler with very hot water and leave it undisturbed overnight.If you are using a tightly sealed container, like a glass mason jar, you can with hot water all the way to the top. If you are using a plastic yogurt container, or a container that does not have a tight sealed lid, then add hot water until it's halfway up to the top of the container. You don't want the water to leak into your yogurt containers. You can also get a yogurt maker which will maintain it at roughly the correct temperature for the required time.
- After the yogurt has settled (8-12 hours) take the yogurt out of the cooler or yogurt maker and place it in the fridge until you are ready to eat it.
- There will be a clear liquid whey that separates out from the yogurt which is normal. If you want to make an even thicker yogurt, you can hang it in a cheese cloth in the fridge for a couple hours (place a bowl under it to catch the whey) and let the whey drip out, creating something between a greek yogurt and a very soft cheese texture.
Have you ever made yogurt before, if so how do you usually make it?