Easy Yogurt

Yogurt is one of the easiest and quickest fermented foods to make at home. It’s also delicious and healthy. This is a variation of the recipe my housemate Raj makes almost every week. You can easily halve or double this recipe to suit your needs.

Ingredients & equipment:

  • half gallon milk
  • 2 tablespoons plain live/active culture yogurt
  • a pot, with a lid, large enough to fit the milk
  • thermometer (optional)

1.  Gently heat the milk, covered or uncovered, until it comes to a simmer. It’s ok if the milk boils. Let it continue to simmer for a few minutes, stirring often to avoid burning the milk at the bottom. If a skin forms on the surface, just stir it in.

2.  Let the milk cool until it’s just slightly warmer than body temperature. If you’re using a thermometer, between to 108 and 113°F is ideal, but you can estimate this with a (clean) finger: it should definitely feel warm to the touch, almost hot, but not so hot that you can’t keep your finger submerged comfortably. Some say it should feel like a nice warm bath. If you touch your neck and then the outside of the pot, the pot should feel slightly warmer than your neck.

3.  At this point gently mix in the yogurt, cover the pot, and place it in a (turned off) oven, microwave or insulated cooler. If your oven doesn’t have a pilot light, but does have a regular light you can turn the light on for added warmth.

4.  Leave the pot undisturbed for 8 to 12 hours. By this point the milk should be thick and tangy. Enjoy right away or refrigerate; the chilling will further thicken the yogurt.

Note: If you are starting with raw milk – and want to keep it that way – don’t heat the milk past 117°F, then continue with step #2.

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2 thoughts on “Easy Yogurt

  1. mpaone says:

    Cooool. Thanks. What’s the best way to get yogurt cultures?

    • Zack says:

      Almost all homemade and commercial yogurt has live cultures in it. People making yogurt at home can generally use their yogurt as a starter, unless they’ve cooked the yogurt after incubating (fermenting) it. Commercial yogurts usually advertise “live & active cultures” on their packaging. So, you should be able to get some from a friend, neighbor or local grocery store. Just remember to use plain yogurt as a starter.

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