Tuesday, July 10, 2012

making yogurt

It's not as hard as you think.

When I tell people I make my own yogurt, they usually stop a minute and say something like, "You make yogurt!?" as though it were a magic trick. It isn't, really. All you need to be able to do is follow instructions and keep an eye on the temperature.

What you need:

1/2 cup of store bought yogurt, plain and with active cultures (Stoneyfield, for example) 
1/2 gallon milk (any percent, and I've been told you can probably use raw cow's or goat's)
kitchen thermometer 
soup pot
roasting pan
bathroom towel
containers or mason jars

What you do:

1. Pour 1/2 gallon milk into large soup pot and place over medium-hight heat. Insert thermometer in milk and keep a careful eye on it. When the temperature reaches 200 degrees F, turn burner off and stir milk briefly. 

2. Let milk cool to 117 - 115 degrees. While it cools, spoon the pre-made yogurt into a bowl and set aside. Also, preheat oven to 115 - 120 degrees and then turn it off (very important that you do not miss this step).

3. Once milk has reached desired temperature, ladle about 1/2 cup of milk into the bowl with the yogurt. Stir until smooth, then transfer mixture back into the milk. Again, stir. 

4. Then pour milk/yogurt mixture into containers (I use two large ones, you could use many smaller ones if you so choose). Put the containers in a roasting pan and wrap them up with a bathroom towel or lots of kitchen towels. Place roasting pan into preheated oven. Let sit for anywhere between 4 to 6 hours. Once that time has elapsed, transfer containers of what is now yogurt to fridge. Consume when cold. 

A note: Be sure you remember your yogurt is in the oven. Forget it and things may not go so well...as I know from personal experience. One evening I turned on the broiler in the oven and a few minutes later  started to smell something burning. My yogurt, I discovered, was still in the oven and the towel it was swathed in had caught on fire. I managed to extinguish it before anything serious happened, but the whole thing left me a bit shook up. So, be careful (or leave a note beside your stove). 

And if you like to top your yogurt with granola, I suggest trying 3191's recipe. It's the best one I've yet found. 

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