Make Your Own Yogurt
It’s easy to make yogurt—The trick is make sure you heat and cool to the right temps and to find the spot, or the method that will allow you to incubate the yogurt for 6–8 hours at a temperature just above body heat. Keeping the optimal temperature is important.
When you are new to yogurt-making, a thermometer is helpful. I have found either putting a sealed container into a thermos works well or for large batches I have sat a container in a water bath in the oven overnight too. Slow cookers filled with water also work well.
- 1 Litre Milk
- 60 mL skim milk powder*
- 60 mL (4 Tbsp) plain yogurt with live culture
*Using skim milk powder is optional. If you use whole milk, you may not need the thickening effect of the added powder. But if you use low-fat or skim milk, the addition of skim milk powder is recommended.
- Heavy-bottomed saucepan or double boiler
- Thermometer that reads in the range of 40°C–85°C
- Sterilize equipment. For best results, don’t skip this step!
- The easiest way is to boil some water in the pot you’ll use to heat the milk. Put in any other utensils that will contact the yogurt.
- Pour milk into the saucepan or top of the double boiler. If you are using skim milk powder, whisk it into the milk until it has dissolved.
- Heat milk to 83°C. This is around the time you begin to see steam rise, but before it boils.
- Heating helps to denature the proteins, so you’ll get yogurt that sets well.
- For even thicker yogurt, turn the heat down low and simmer the milk for 5 minutes.
- Cool the milk down to 44°C.
- A quick way to cool your milk down is to place the saucepan with your milk in it (or the top of your double boiler) into a sink filled with cold water.
- Stir milk until it has cooled. Add yogurt and blend it into the milk well.
- Pour the mixture into an incubating container. See notes above.
- Incubate for 6–8 hours at 40–43°C. The longer the yogurt incubates, the more sour it will taste. If you incubate yogurt overnight, don’t worry about setting your alarm just to stop incubation. An extra hour or two in the life of a yogurt isn’t much. While the yogurt is incubating, don’t disturb it! If yogurt is disturbed, it won’t set smoothly.
- Put the yogurt in the refrigerator. Be gentle. The yogurt will continue to firm up during the first day. Save some of the yogurt as a starter for your next batch. After making a few batches of yogurt, you may need to start with fresh commercial yogurt again.
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