Yogurt is something you can easily make at home.
I wanted to make yogurt because I wanted to know how it was made, and I wanted to see if I could do it. Learning new skills is my favorite hobby. I’m no yogurt-making expert, but the good news is I can still make delicious yogurt in the kitchen, and so can you.
Yogurt is the result when you add a starter to milk and let it sit. A starter is a nice word for a bacteria culture. I’m sure that’s why more people don’t make their own yogurt; it sounds risky. After decades of marketing from anti-bacterial cleaners and hand soap, bacteria is something we’ve been told should be out of our kitchens! No wonder we view it with suspicion, and at the very least, uncertainty. Perhaps it is something better left to professionals?
No, truthfully, generations of people have been making yogurt in their kitchens long before industries packaged it into convenient little containers for us (along with all the added sweeteners and thickeners). And just like anything else you make at home, it does taste better. More fresh, and not so sharp.
1. Heat 1 quart of milk on the stove to 180 degrees F. (A thermometer helps to ensure food safety.)
2. Let the milk cool to 110 degrees.
3. Add 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt to a quart jar. Make sure the yogurt has live, active cultures. It can be store-bought plain yogurt or the last spoonfuls of your most recent homemade batch.
4. Add a bit of the cooled milk to the yogurt in the jar and swirl it around. Then pour the rest of the milk into the jar.
5. The jar needs to stay warm for about 8 hours while the cultures do the work. Options:
- Put the jar inside the oven with the oven light on.
- Put the jar inside a cooler, and fill the cooler with hot water.
- Buy a yogurt maker which will keep the jars warm.
6. After the yogurt has thickened, cool the yogurt in the fridge and enjoy!
7. The yogurt is more thin than store-bought, but it’s ideal for smoothies. If you like thicker yogurt, pour it into a colander lined with cheese cloth, coffee filters, or paper towels, and let the excess liquid drip into a bowl below.
The rest of my family is dairy-free, so I no longer make quarts of yogurt to eat all by my lonesome. I’ve heard people say dairy-free yogurt could be made at home…could it be possible? It seems that everyone who actually tried it reported failure, so maybe it’s the holy grail of dairy-free food. I want to find out for myself.
Making dairy-free yogurt at home is my next experiment, and whether it succeeds or flops, I’ll tell you how it goes.
Once you’ve made homemade yogurt, you can eat it to your heart’s desire with any kind of toppings: honey, maple syrup, fresh fruit, granola… I like to stir in about 2 teaspoons of vanilla and 1 teaspoon almond extract (per quart of yogurt), with some brown sugar.
How do you like your yogurt?