Yogurt is a staple at our home. Whether it’s used to marinate some chicken, stir into a creamy soup or eaten for breakfast topped with granola, canned peaches or fresh berries, it’s pretty much consumed on some level every day.
I’ve been planning to test out making yogurt for literally over a year now. This is actually my 3rd wholehearted attempt. The first time I tried making yogurt, I got through the first heating and cooling stages but when I went to add in my yogurt starter, I found it a bit fuzzy so had to scrap the whole process. The second time I had everything but decided making yogurt a few days before heading out on a weeklong vacation wasn’t very practical. Third time’s the charm, right?
As long as you have a thermometer and some patience, you pretty much can’t go wrong. Heat the milk slowly, cool it slowly, add the yogurt, incubate, cool and enjoy. Originally I planned to let it incubate for 4 hours, to test the flavor. 6 and a half hours later I remembered my yogurt bundle sitting in the oven and rushed to take it out. The flavor was perfect. Creamy, a bit tangy and just thick enough. Seriously, a recipe you can’t screw up. Just remember to save a quarter cup before gobbling everything up so you have enough starter yogurt for your next batch!
Homemade Yogurt (Adapted from Kitchn)
- Quart of milk (whole or low-fat)
- 1/4 c yogurt
In a small dutch oven, heat the milk to right below boiling, 200°F. Stir the milk gently as it heats to make sure the bottom doesn’t scorch and the milk doesn’t boil over. Remove milk from heat and let it cool until it is just hot to the touch, 112°F – 115°F. Once the milk has cooled, in a small bowl whisk together 1/2 cup of milk with starter yogurt until smooth. Then whisk back into pan of milk.
Next incubate the yogurt by keeping the milk around 110°F until it has set, usually 4-6 hours. If you don’t have a commercial incubator, you can do so by warming your oven to about 115°, then immediately turn it off. Put a lid on the dutch oven with your inoculated milk and wrap the whole pot in a few layers of towels to insulate the pot and keep it warm. Set this bundle in the warmed (but turned off!) oven and let it sit for 6 hours. It’s important not to jostle the milk too much as it’s incubating so that it sets properly.
Remove the dutch oven from its towels. The texture should be creamy, like a barely set custard. Place in refrigerator to chill further. Once it’s completely chilled, transfer it to airtight containers for easier storage. Yogurt lasts about two weeks in the refrigerator.