I’ve been making my own yogurt for several years now* and I’m here to tell you: it’s easy. Homemade yogurt is tasty, MUCH cheaper than store bought, and it doesn’t come with any packaging. I make vanilla yogurt and top it with homemade jam or jelly for a variety of flavors.
- Half-gallon milk. (I’ve used whole raw milk and low-fat local milk with success. Use milk that has not been ultra-pasteurized, if possible.)
- 6 oz container of yogurt with active, live cultures
- Honey (about 1/4 cup)
- Vanilla (a splash)
Pour the entire carton of milk into a large pot. Heat to 180 degrees (F) over medium-high heat stirring occasionally. Once you’ve achieved that temperature, remove the milk from the heat and allow to cool for about half an hour, depending on your household temperature. (I set my kitchen timer in ten minute increments otherwise I will forget about it)
While your milk is cooling:
- Fill a container with hot water and place it inside a cooler. Close the cooler, allowing the hot water to warm the inside so it’s all ready to incubate your milk. I use an Icee Kool oversized lunchbox cooler and it is fabulous. Seriously, if you’re in the market for a cooler that will hold ice for a week, these are awesome.
- Prepare your jars. You’ll need 2 quarts or 4 pints.
- Keep an eye on your thermometer.
At 125 degrees: add about a quarter cup of honey (don’t measure – just eyeball it and save yourself a sticky container to clean) and a splash of vanilla. Adding these ingredients now will help the honey to dissolve and will cool the mixture a bit more. If you like a sweeter yogurt, add a bit more honey.
At 110-115 degrees: Stir in half of the container of store bought yogurt. Use a whisk and make sure it’s really mixed in well. Do not get excited and add the yogurt before the milk cools to this stage or you will kill the live cultures.
Once the starter yogurt is well incorporated, pour the mixture into jars, seal, and place immediately into the pre-warmed cooler alongside the hot water bottle. Close the cooler securely and leave it for eight hours or overnight. When you open up the cooler, you’ll have lovely thick yogurt to enjoy. Store in the refrigerator.
*Shout out to my colleague Diana Burrell who promised me years ago it wasn’t too hard to make yogurt and shared her method, which I’ve modified a bit. Or a lot. I can’t quite recall.
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This post is part of Fight Back Fridays.