Homemade Yogurt

I don’t know about you, but my family eats a lot of yogurt. A lot. Once I realized it was possible to make my own yogurt (without a new appliance/yogurt maker), I decided to take the plunge.

Make yogurt? I know. But once I realized that I could take a gallon of milk and turn it into a lot of great yogurt, I was like, “I can make yogurt?! I can make ANYTHING!”

Okay. Not anything. But it really opened me up to trying new things.

What you need:

Ingredients

TO MAKE VANILLA YOGURT
Milk      Prepared Yogurt Gelatin
(optional)
Sugar*
(Granulated/Brown)
Vanilla     
16 c. 1 c. 1 T. (1 packet) 1/2-1 c. 2-4 T.
12 c. 3/4 c. 2 1/4 t. 6-12 T. 1-3 T.
8 c. 1/2 c. 1 1/2 t. 3-6 T. 1/2 -2 T.
4 c. 1/4 c. 3/4 t. 1-2 T. 3/4-1 T.

*You can use a combination of granulated sugar and light brown sugar. For 1 gallon of milk, I use 3/4 c. granulated sugar and 1/4 c. brown sugar.

It can take some trial and error to find the flavor and consistency that works best for you and your family. I made 3 or 4 batches before finding the right balance.

Before serving, stir in any of the following: fruit jams (blueberry, raspberry, strawberry, mixed berry, etc.), lemon or lime curd, maple, chocolate, caramel, or strawberry syrup, granola or muesli. Stirring in a thinner syrup does thin the consistency of the yogurt, so you may want to use gelatin in the base recipe if you plan to add in syrups.

Equipment

  • Dutch oven
  • kitchen thermometer (one that clips to the pot is helpful)
  • small mixing bowl
  • fine mesh strainer
  • funnel and jar lifter (optional, but helpful)
  • large bowl, colander, and cheesecloth (if making Greek yogurt)
  • Jars! (For 1 gallon of yogurt, I use 4 Quart and 1 Pint mason jar for incubation, and then transfer the yogurt to 4 or 8 oz mason jars for individual servings)
  • Cooler, large enough to fit the number of jars
  • I find Ball’s plastic lids to be very convenient, especially when the yogurt will be packed for a to-go lunch or snack.

Time: 90-120 minutes prep (mostly hands-off), 3-7 hours incubation

Freezeable: You can technically freeze your yogurt starter, but I’ve never needed to. We always eat all of the yogurt within two weeks.

Homemade Yogurt:

  1. Put one ice cube in the Dutch oven and swirl it in the pan as it melts. “Icing the pot” helps to prevent the milk from burning to the bottom of the pot (and the need to scrub the pot a lot later).
  2. Attach thermometer to the side of a Dutch oven. Heat 1 gallon of whole milk to 185 degrees over medium-low heat. This will take about 30 minutes.
  3. Remove the pot from the burner and allow to cool to 120 degrees. This will take 45-60 minutes. Meanwhile, sterilize your mason jars by filling them with water and boiling them in a pot for about 10 minutes.
  4. Once the milk has reached 120 degrees, whisk together one cup of the heated milk and the prepared yogurt in a small bowl. Add to the pot. If you would like to make vanilla yogurt, this is also when you add any sugar and/or vanilla extract. If you would like a denser yogurt, you can also add gelatin.
  5. Remove sterilized jars from the water with a jar lifter. Place a fine mesh strainer over a funnel and pour the yogurt mixture through the strainer to fill the mason jars.
  6. Place filled mason jars in a cooler, and fill the cooler slightly over halfway with 115-120 degree water. If the water is too hot, the yogurt will become gritty or lumpy.
  7. Close the lid and leave undisturbed (somewhere it won’t get bumped) for at least 3 hours. Check consistency. If you want a thicker, more solid yogurt, allow to incubate for longer. I typically leave my yogurt in the cooler for 7 hours.
  8. Set aside 4-8 oz for your next starter. After 6 to 8 batches, start with store-bought yogurt again to maintain the cultures.
  9. If you want to make Greek yogurt, line a colander with cheesecloth or butter muslin and set over a bowl. Pour in the yogurt and allow to drain for 30-60 minutes. Reserve the whey that drains to replace the water or milk in bagel or bread recipes. You will reduce your yield of yogurt by about 25 percent when draining it. For example, 12 oz of yogurt drained becomes about 9 oz of Greek yogurt and 3 oz of whey.
  10. If you want your yogurt in individual serving sizes, transfer yogurt to smaller jars with a funnel.
  11. Refrigerate and enjoy!

Yogurt

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About Cooking for the Fam

Katie and Theresa are sisters-in-law who are passionate about food, passionate about family, and passionate about making and sharing food with their families. The Fam needs to eat. Make it good!
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