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Jan 13, 2009

Making Yogurt at Home

jar of homemade yogurt
Hard to believe, but until yesterday I had never made my own yogurt. That whole craze of electric yogurt makers some years ago passed me by unscathed. Instead, all this time I've obtained my quarts of low-fat plain in the grocery store.

But recently, browsing through a magazine, I stumbled across a recipe for homemade yogurt that had two great things going for it: (1) it was easy; and (2) it didn't call for me to buy any new gadgets. So I thought, what the heck, and give it a whirl. The yogurt turned out just great and is supposedly full of probiotics.

Now that I've made a delish batch using 2% milk, I'll be more experimental in the future. I may try soy milk, or rice milk, or even goat milk. The world is my yogurt!

Want to try it yourself? You will need a thermometer that reads liquids; for some reason, even though I have never, ever made candy, I had a candy thermometer. It worked perfectly with this.

Here's the recipe:

Ingredients
1 quart (4 cups) whole or lowfat milk
2 tablespoons high-quality, plain yogurt

Instructions
  1. Pour milk into a saucepan, and bring to just below boiling over medium heat. When it approaches the boil, turn down to a simmer. Let simmer for 2 minutes. Stir from time to time, taking care that the milk doesn't scorch.
  2. Remove from heat. Place pan on hotpad and let cool until the thermometer reads between 110-115° F. *(See note below)
  3. As the milk begins its cooling process, preheat the oven to 200° F.
  4. When the milk has cooled to the desired temperature (110-115°), place 2 tablespoons of yogurt into a large bowl.
  5. Slowly stir 1/2 cup of the warm milk into the yogurt until thoroughly blended.
  6. Turn off the oven (it only needs a little warmth to set the yogurt).
  7. Stir the remaining warm milk into the bowl.
  8. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and place in the oven. Be sure you've turned it off as in Step 6. It will take anywhere from 6-14 hours for the yogurt to set.
  9. When the yogurt has set (gelled), stir thoroughly and spoon into a storage container--old yogurt containers are perfect--and place in the fridge. Let it sit for a day before using.
* Note: Next time I'll experiment with speeding up the cooling process by filling the kitchen sink with cold water reaching halfway up the pan's sides.
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