Yogurt is a healthful cultured dairy product that you can make at home fairly easily. Grass fed, farm fresh milk is the best variety to use (easy for us (-: ), but store-bought pasteurized milk will do.
Although you can make raw yogurt, this recipe is for a more usual yogurt made from milk that is heated to kill potential microbial competitors, and to change the protein – which makes for a firmer yogurt.
To inoculate your milk, you can use commercial plain yogurt (make sure it has live and active cultures in it, and no added sugar), homemade yogurt from a previous batch, or even a packaged culture. We usually use our yogurt, and then ‘refresh’ every now and then with a store-bought yogurt.
In the fermentation process, some of the lactose (milk sugar) in the milk is ‘eaten’ by the bacteria, producing lactic acid – which helps preserve the product, and also makes it easier for lactose-intolerant people to digest.Yogurt provides live probiotics, protein, calcium, important vitamins and other nutrients, as well.
1 gallon Milk
1 1/2 c. Yogurt (for culture; fresher is better. Don’t use something that is contaminated or old)
6 qt+ Cooking pot
A large pot or water-bath canner that your cooking pot fits in
Clean jars (5 quarts)
2-3 clean bath towels
*Tip: make sure that your cooking utensils and jars are clean. You can sterilize them if you want to. The less contamination there is, the longer you will be able to go without needing to refresh your culture.
- Heat the milk gently in a large cooking pot, stirring often, until it reaches 170-180 F.
2. When the above temperature is achieved, remove the pan from the heat and place in a large pot, water-bath canner, or sink filled with cold water.
3. Stirring occasionally, cool the milk down to 110-116 F.
4. Your milk is ready to be inoculated! Measure the yogurt. It is helpful to have your jars and funnel (if you have one) ready.
5. Pour in your yogurt, mixing well to break up clumps.
6. Ladle or pour the inoculated milk into your clean jars. A funnel is very helpful, but not absolutely necessary (-:
7. Put the lids on the jars. Now you need to keep the milk warm and cozy, so that the bacteria can work. Place a few towels in a large pot and set the jars inside. Then tuck the towels over the jars.
8. Leave the pot in an out-of-the-way location (an oven that is not in use is a good place). It is better not to jiggle or move the yogurt while it is culturing. Let the yogurt set quietly for about 6 hours, then unwrap the towels so that the yogurt can cool for an hour or two before you put it in the fridge. Now you can check how thick the yogurt is, by tipping the jar back and forth.
Chill your homemade yogurt in the refrigerator for a few hours before eating it (unless you can’t wait to sample it 🙂 Enjoy!
Remember to save some as a culture for the next batch, if you plan to make more (-: