When I was growing up, my mom made her own yogurt using a specialized yogurt making gadget that worked something like this one. These days I make yogurt for my family too, usually about a gallon every week or two. Some folks think of yogurt-making as a difficult process, but this method is so easy that if you can remember two numbers and a one word, and do this recipe a time or two, you’ll probably be able to make it next time without even following a recipe. The numbers are 170 degrees and 120 degrees, and the word is overnight. Here’s how:
1/2 gallon milk (whole milk will make the thickest yogurt)
2 tablespoons plain yogurt with live cultures
2 quart-sized canning jars (or 4 pints)
heavy pot big enough for 1/2 gallon of milk
1. Heat milk over medium heat until it reaches 170 degrees F. For the first 5 minutes or so, you can basically ignore it. But as it begins to heat up, keep an eye on the temperature and stir it frequently. (This is the most complicated part of the whole recipe, but don’t worry, it only takes 15 minutes or so!) You don’t want the milk so hot it boils. All you want is for it to start to get tiny frothy bubbles around the edges and start to steam. I prefer a thermometer just to be sure, but if you don’t have a candy thermometer or a meat thermometer, you can get by without it if you just watch carefully for tiny frothy bubbles and steam.
2. Once temperature has reached 170 degrees, remove from heat and let cool to about 120 degrees F. This part takes 30-40 minutes or so, depending on the temperature in the room. I find that the temp is about right when I can hold my hand on the outside of the pot for 10 seconds without having to remove it. But again, your most reliable gauge is probably a thermometer.
3. When milk has cooled to the right temperature, it is time to add the yogurt. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of plain or vanilla flavored yogurt until well combined. You can use any store-bought yogurt, as long as the container says, ‘contains live cultures’. (Once you’ve made a batch of your own, save a couple tablespoons of homemade yogurt to start your next batch.)
4. Turn on oven and preheat to 170 degrees for 5 minutes or so. Pour the cultured milk into the quart jars and tighten on traditional rings and lids, or plastic storage caps like these.
5. Turn off oven. Then place jars in warm oven to sit for 8-12 hours, or until milk is set and looks like yogurt. I like to make this recipe at bedtime and let it sit in the oven overnight. Once yogurt has set, place it in the refrigerator to cool and thicken a bit more.
6. Sweeten your yogurt with honey and fresh fruit. Or – easiest yet– just add a spoonful of jam to each serving. My husband likes to take yogurt to work each day, and portions it out in half-pint jars for easy transport. Yum!!Pin It