Homemade Yogurt (I made it, and you can too!)
My latest kitchen experiment has been homemade yogurt. I’ve made it four times already and with the exception of the first batch (fail), it’s all turned out perfectly! Once you have the process down it’s really easy to make your own yogurt. I literally woke up one morning and asked myself ‘Could I make my own yogurt?’ My girls have yogurt quite frequently, we use in it pancakes, for baking, eating and more and all this adds up. It has to be easy right, and it is! I consulted a couple web sites before trying to make my own yogurt.
Links that helped me:
These sites helped me the most, but there are a ton of sites out there that will help you make yogurt at home. There’s even sites that will tell you why your yogurt didn’t work. Check these out, as I try my best to explain to you about making yogurt!
- Epicurious Homemade Yogurt – Explains a lot of the science behind yogurt making
- MoneySavingMom – Crockpot Yogurt
Selecting a Yogurt Starter
Be sure to take a yogurt that your family likes the taste of. It should be plain, and contain active cultures. I used plain yogurt from Stonyfield Farms, and it has six active cultures. Many find success in using Greek Yogurt as well, just use what you like the taste of – because that’s what you’ll get.
Sterilization and Incubation
Making your own yogurt is easy, the key tips are: temperature and sterilization. We are creating the perfect environment for bacterial growth, and we want that to be our yogurt culture, not any other funky things. I sterilize my thermometer, whisk, measuring spoons and glass Pyrex dish (to hold yogurt). Drop as many of these items into a boiling pot of water. My Pyrex dish doesn’t fit, so I run it under hot water in the sink. Place on a paper towel or clean towel to dry.
I incubate my yogurt in our crock pot. I preheat the crock pot while I am heating my milk. I warm the crockpot to about 105 degrees with my incubation dish inside. When it reaches this temperature I place on warm until my milk/yogurt mixture is ready. I then use beach towels to wrap around my crockpot, leaving the plug out in case I need to warm everything up again.
Let’s Make Yogurt!
- Double boiler
- Liquid measuring cup
- Tablespoon measuring spoon
- Bowl filled with some ice
- Container to incubate yogurt in (I use an oblong shaped dish from Pyrex about 4.8 cups)
- 4 cups milk
- 3 tablespoons, plain yogurt with active cultures (from store bought or previous batch of yogurt)
- Crockpot, or Find some place to keep your yogurt warm for at least 5-6 hours.
- Heat the milk 180 degrees over a double boiler.
- After your milk has reached 180 degrees F remove it from the heat and cool it in an ice bath to 110-115 degrees F do not go any lower than 110 degrees. Remove from ice bath.
- Measure 2 to 3 tablespoons of your yogurt starter to liquid measuring cup. Add one cup of the milk you just cooked. Whisk together.
- Add this cultured mixture to the rest of the milk. Whisk together gently.
- Pour milk into incubation container/s. I happened to put plastic wrap on top, so the thermometer wouldn’t poke the milk.
- Now it comes time to incubate your yogurt. The yogurt incubates for a minimum of 5 hours or as long as 10 hours it really depends on what your preferred taste is. (Crockpot wrapped in towels with thermometer peeking through.
- After incubation time, slightly tip container and yogurt should wobble a bit. If it’s still milk, then try again – something went wrong. If there’s a bit of liquid on top, no worries that’s just some whey.I find our yogurt tastes great at 5.5 hours, but I have noticed a difference if the temperature drops slowly vs. rapidly.
- Put the yogurt in the fridge to cool, and to stop the yogurt process. Save same starter for the next batch before portioning off/eating! I use the Easy Lunch Box Mini-Dippers (buy) and add a dollop of jam for the girls lunches.
My Yogurt Results:
- Batch 1: Very mild yogurt taste. Fussed with the setup a bit too. Temperature dropped to mid 80s.
- Batch 2: Tasted more tangy. Fussed a little bit, not as much as the first. Temperature dropped really fast to almost 90.
- Batch 3: Really tangy. Stable temperatures second. Just set it an forget it mostly. Checked the temperature, turned the crockpot on for a minute or two on High to keep between 95-105.
- Batch 4: Tangy at 5 hours of incubation between 95-100 degrees
- Batch forever: Incubate for 5 hours between 95-105 degrees.