This is the easiest way to make your own fresh yogurt. I make it everyday- it's just that simple! It has saved me so much money and you can also just as easily make a spreadable yogurt cheese from the technique.
Whole milk produces a bit more than non-fat and is also quite a bit thicker when finished. I like a really thick yogurt so I usually strain out a lot of the whey when I'm done. The whey strains out quicker in the non-fat than the whole, but again you're left with less of a yield that way.
Step 1: What You Will Need.
All you need to make your yogurt is:
- a large pot
- a glass jar with a lid (sterile)
- a starter (can be a couple tablespoons from store bought yogurt with live cultures)
- a spoon (sterile)
- a candy thermometer (optional)
- a wash cloth (optional)
Step 2: Preparing the Milk.
The next step is to bring the milk to a temperature that will kill any bad bacteria that is already present. You do this by scalding it.
1. Pour milk into jar.
2. Put jar into pot of water on stove. Make sure the water line comes to about half way up the jar of milk.
3. Turn stove on high.
4. Periodically check milk until it reaches the temp of 185 F, or if you don't want to use a thermometer just wait until you can see tiny bubbles starting to form around the edges of the milk. It will also begin to form a skin on the top.
Step 3: Removing the Jar to Cool.
Remove the jar from the stove top and let it cool for about 45 mins in the refrigerator. It will be between 100 F and 125 F.
Also, take out your starter from the refrigerator while the milk is cooling to bring it up to room temperature.
I also turn my oven on warm at this point to make sure there is no temperature fluctuation while the yogurt is in incubation phase.
Step 4: Adding Starter.
So it's been about 45 mins and your milk is ready for the starter! Just add it with your sterile spoon and stir.
Step 5: Incubation Phase.
Now the trick is to keep your milk at a temperature between 90 F and 130 F. You have to do this to keep the cultures doing their thing.
My oven vents it's warm air through the back stove top burner. Which works perfectly when I have the oven on warm to incubate my milk into yogurt.
Step 6: You Got Yogurt!
Let your yogurt incubate anywhere between 4 to 12 hrs, it just depends on the tanginess and thickness you want. More time means more of a tangy flavor and a thicker yogurt, but you can always thicken it up by straining it for an hour or so.
I usually get my jar incubating right before I go to bed and wake up in the morning to strain it in the fridge.
Remember to remove some of the yogurt for your next batch. I remove a few tablespoons before straining.
Step 7: Straining the Yogurt.
To strain the yogurt just lay some coffee filters in the bottom of a colinder fitted inside a large bowl, pour in finished yogurt, and cover.
I usually let it sit in the refrigerator for an hour with non-fat or a few hours with whole, but then again I like a really thick yogurt. If you leave the yogurt straining overnight you get a nice spreadable yogurt cheese.
After it is to the thickness you want, just spoon into a storage container and you're done.