One day, as I was filling up my grocery cart with various types of overpriced traditional and Greek yogurt, an older gentleman approached me and told me that you can easily make your own yogurt at home with a gallon of milk and a small container of plain, store bought yogurt.
I thanked him for the advice (while in my head, thinking that he has no idea how busy I am, and doesn’t he know I don’t have time to make homemade yogurt?).
Fast forward a few months, and I thought, what the heck, why not give it a try. And to my surprise, it was, actually, super easy.
1 gallon milk (I use fat-free, but any kind will do)
1 container store-bought plain yogurt (after you make your first batch, reserve a half cup to start your next batch)
Powdered milk (optional)
First, put an ice cube or two in the bottom of a large stock pot, and turn the heat on low. As the ice cube melts, swirl it around, so the entire bottom is covered in water. (A tip I picked up from my favorite cookbook, The Homemade Pantry by Alana Chernila. I don’t know how it works, but I do know that it keeps the milk from scorching and makes clean up a lot easier).
Once the ice has melted, pour the milk into the pan, and heat it to 180 degrees. For me, this usually takes about 50 minutes on a low setting.
Once the milk is heated, I turn the burner off, and about a half cup of powdered milk, and let it cool to 110 degrees. This can take quite a long time, so if you’re in a hurry, you can stick it in the fridge or an ice bath to speed things up.
Once the milk has cooled, dump the yogurt (referred to as a starter) into the pan, and put into the oven. I usually turn the oven on a very low setting (the lowest my oven goes is 170 degrees) just to warm it up, and then I turn the oven light on to keep things warm. (Yogurt needs warmth in order to culture and grow).
Eventually, when using a starter that has been cultured from previous batches of home made yogurt, it begins to weaken, resulting in more whey and less actual yogurt. When this happens, that means it’s time to buy a new starter at the grocery store. I can typically use homemade starter five or six times before it starts to weaken.
Once the milk has turned to yogurt, usually 6-8 hours later, I use a colander lined with a paper towel (or you can use food grade cheesecloth) to strain out the whey. (This step is optional – and is a matter of taste. We prefer a thicker, Greek style yogurt). Once the yogurt has been strained, I reserve about a half cup to use as a starter for the next batch. I then use my immersion blender, blending until the yogurt is smooth.
Once it is done, I put it in half-pint jelly jars with a small amount of jam and a sprinkling of homemade granola on top. We have individual servings of homemade yogurt for a fraction of what you pay at the store.
Don’t forget to subscribe! You don’t want to miss a thing. Trust me.