Sunday, April 24, 2011

Homemade Yogurt My Way

I'm a daily consumer of Yogurt.  Have been for years.  I used to carry the little Yoplait containers with me everywhere.  Then, I switched to plain organic yogurt.  I've made my own for just over a year. Here is how I do it.  

4 c. milk in a heavy bottom pan.  I use 2 percent.  Your choice.  Start at medium heat stirring regularly, until the temperature reaches 200 degrees. 

You can see I use a candy thermometer.  Stir regularly.

You have to be patient, which is not one of my strongest areas.  I recommend thinking of cooking as a Zen thing, a form of meditation.  Do the same thing repeatedly, breath.  Be precise.  There is a little bit of perfection in that if you do it right.

Finally,  reduce the temperature enough to maintain the temperature at 200 degrees for 10 minutes.  I set a timer.    Continue stirring.  Are you breathing?  Breath and think peaceful thoughts with me.  And stir.  Are you stirring? 

In the meantime, prepare a large bowl filled with ice water.  I used to fill the sink with water and add ice. 

Breath and stir.

When you get to the end of your 10 minutes, put the pan in the bowl or sink of ice water.  Watch the thermometer as the temperature reduces to 125 degrees.  Somewhere just before that add 1/3 powdered milk. 

(This is optional.  Don't do it if you don't want to.  The great thing about cooking is that it's your time to do exactly what you want.  But I think it adds a little extra richness to the flavor.)

When you get down to somewhere just around 110 or just above, here's what you do.  Scoop out about a cup or so of the warm milk into a small bowl or large measuring cup.  Add your starter which is 1/4 cup of your last batch of yogurt.  It contains the helpful bacteria which makes the milk turn into yogurt. 

If you are just starting and don't have a previous batch, use an organic, all natural brand.  Mountain High is readily available.  If you are in the Pacific Northwest, Nancy's is a really good option which I recommend.  I'm sure other parts of the country and world have other equally good options.  Just use the best stuff you can find.

Mix the starter well and return to the pot.  Now you need an incubator.  You need to maintain 110 degrees for 4 hours.  My oven will do that.  Before I had this oven, I did it by placing the mixture in a casserole dish with a lid and putting my heating pad on top of the casserole dish, then wrapping the whole thing with bath towels.  It can be done in a crock pot, but you'll have to google that, because I've never done it that way.  At the end of 4 hours, refrigerate and use as yogurt throughout the week.  Start again when you run out. 

I have done this for more than a year.  The great thing about this is that if you need to start over with a new starter, just buy another carton of yogurt.  No worries.  


  1. I haven't made yogurt in years, but you inspire me. We all love it and I have 3 or 4 containers in the fridge right now. But homemade is always better. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. My pleasure, Rocquie. Enjoy. I'd be interested in how you incubate it. I've read about lots of other ways.