I have thought about making yogurt for years. Years! Talked to people, watched a lot of videos, decided milk kefir would be easier (which isn't, especially if after you've taken all the time to activate the grains, you end up losing the grains (which feel like gold) to someone's stomach or the sink and have to start all over . . . )
Truth is, my confidence with these sorts of things isn't great. I get discouraged by what I think might be too complicated and instead continue to buy things I deep down know I could easily make for less money and without added sugars or fillers, etc. if I just tried.
Eventually and thankfully, some confidence bug crawls up my arm and (with the exception of cheese, which hasn't proven to be as easy or fun as I thought), the skill turns out to NOT be rocket science. In fact, it turns out to be easy, just like everyone said it would be.
I understand how nice it is to buy the things you don't want to make. I, for one, do not want to make ketchup. The amount of ketchup my children consume would equate to me only ever making ketchup in order to keep up. I also don't want to make my own pasta. We eat pasta when I am not in the mood to cook. Making it would take that luxury away. I know some people love making their own pasta and ketchup, and if you did and invited me over, I would happily eat it. I'm sure, in fact, it tastes a lot better than store bought. Things made from scratch just do.
My point is, if you are reading this and thinking, I don't know why anyone would ever want to make their own yogurt. I get it.
But if you are thinking, I would love to make my own yogurt. Is it easy??
I can tell you YES! Do it. I am all the friends who have told me for years it is easy telling you, yes, yes, so easy!
Since we've been learning how to DIY the things we love, we realize we prefer our beer, wine, bread, kombucha, pasta sauces, and now yogurt made at home.
I use yogurt in baked goods, as a substitute for sour cream, as a breakfast and snack food daily. Honestly, it feels a little life changing to be able to make it at home.
I hope you, if so inclined, try it and let me know how it goes.
Recipe adapted from the Reclaim issue of Taproot Magazine
2 quarts milk (cow, goat, or almond)
2 TB starter culture (previously made or purchased yogurt)
A candy thermometer
Pot that holds more than two quarts
Two glass quart canning jars with lids
- Pour fresh, cold milk into a large pot.
- Bring temperature, slowly, up to 180 degrees F
- Remove pot from heat and seat aside to cool (you can also put pan in ice water bath to make it go quicker- just be sure not to get water into pot)
- Prepare two quart size canning jars by filling them with hot water
- As milk cools, check temperature. When temperature reaches 114 degrees F, gently stir in starter culture
- Pour out the hot water from mason jars, and pour yogurt mixture into warm jars a half-inch from the top
- Put tops on the jars, wrap them in a towel or two, and place them right side up in a cooler with a lid.
- Check on the yogurt after 4 hours. It will be set when the jar is tilted and yogurt does not run. If it is set, pour off any extra water on top, re-cap, and put in fridge.
- If it is not set, gently stir in a little more starter culture to each jar, re-cap, and put back in cooler for another 2-4 hours.
- By this time it should be set- put in fridge.
My specific experience was this-
I used fresh, from the farm milk and pre-purchased vanilla yogurt as the starter. It worked great. Though next time I'll use left over yogurt from this batch. I wouldn't use something with fruit chunks or syrup in it.
I cooled it in an ice bath.
I added a TB of more starter to each jar at 4 hours (it was pretty runny) and let it go another 4.