Homemade Yogurt

Photo by Anica R.
Adapted from thekitchn.com

PREP TIME

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minutes

TOTAL TIME

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minutes

SERVINGS

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servings

PREP TIME

--

minutes

TOTAL TIME

--

minutes

SERVINGS

--

servings

Adapted from thekitchn.com

Ingredients

  • 1/2

    gallon milk - whole or 2% are best, but skim can also be used

  • 1/2

    cup commercial yogurt - be sure that the yogurt contains active cultures

  • Gelatin - Start experimenting with one teaspoon of gelatin per quart of milk.

Directions

1. Heat the Milk - In your saucepan or dutch oven, heat the milk to right below boiling, 200°F. Mix the gelatin in a bowl with a little milk and let it bloom. Then stir into the pot of milk as it starts to heat. Stir the milk gently as it heats to make sure the bottom doesn't scorch and the milk doesn't boil over. According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, this heating step is necessary to change the protein structure in the milk so it sets as a solid instead of separating. 2. Cool the Milk - Let the milk cool until it is just hot to the touch, 112°F - 115°F. This goes faster if you set the pan over an ice water bath and gently stir the milk. 3. Inoculate the Milk - Pour about a cup of the warm milk into a small bowl and whisk it with the yogurt. Once it's smooth, whisk this back into the pan of milk. 4. Incubate the Yogurt - Now comes the long wait period where the milk actually transforms into yogurt. The trick is keeping the milk around 110°F until it has set, usually 4-6 hours. Commercial incubating equipment is handy for maintaining a consistent temperature, but not necessary. We've been incubating our yogurt in the oven with excellent results. First, warm the oven to about 115° (an oven thermometer helps to know when the oven is heated). Put the lid on the dutch oven or saucepan with your inoculated milk and wrap the whole pot in a few layers of towels. These will insulate the pot and keep it warm. Set this bundle in the warmed (but turned off!) oven and set the timer. It's important not to jostle the milk too much as it's incubating so that it sets properly - the temptation to peek is so hard to resist! The longer the yogurt sits, the thicker and more tangy it will become. Check it around the 4-hour mark and give it a taste. The texture should be creamy, like a barely-set custard, and the flavor will be tart yet milky. If you like it, pull it out. If you'd like it tangier, leave it for another hour or two. We sometimes even make yogurt overnight, putting it in the oven around midnight and taking it out when we get up in the morning. 5. Cool the Yogurt - We have found that if we cool the yogurt in the same container we incubated it in, we end up with a smoother end result. Once it's completely chilled, we transfer it to air tight containers for easier storage. Sometimes there will be a film of watery whey on top of the yogurt. You can strain this off or just stir it back into the yogurt. Yogurt lasts about two weeks in the refrigerator.

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