*Making Homemade Yogurt*

By Stryder

My family likes to eat and drink. If you’ve seen our waistlines then you know that’s true. Not that we always do, but we CAN and HAVE made anything we eat or drink from scratch. One thing that the whole family likes is yogurt, and we eat a lot of it so we make a lot of it. Making it is VERY easy.

We make 2 quarts at a time. Take a half gallon of milk and heat it on the stove to just below boiling (about 180 degrees F). Then let it cool down to baby bottle warm so that a few drops sprinkled on your wrist or the back of your hand does not feel hot (100-105 degrees F).

Use a fork or a whisk to whisk in about two tablespoons of active yogurt culture that is at room temperature (65-75 degrees F). What’s that? Either some plain active culture yogurt from the store (like Dannon), or once you start making your own, a little from your last batch to start the new batch.

Now you need to keep it a little above room temp. for a few hours. About 80 degrees F, should do. Sine the milk is about 100 degrees when you start you can put it in the kitchen on baking day and let it slowly cool that way. You can pour it into an insulated thermos bottle or you can set the pan it is in into a cooler to let it cool slowly. You can even wrap it in a blanket to insulate it. The yogurt culture does not like to be jarred when it is working though so try to set it out of the way where it will not disturbed for a while because moving it sometimes stops the process. We use a yogurt maker to keep ours warm and it works very well. I started with a maker that had 5 one cup glass containers and it worked but made very small batches and was somewhat inconsistent.

Someone on the Rubicon Board suggested a Big Batch Maker that could do 2 quarts and I got one and love it! King Arthur Flour sells them, as do others. Shop and you’ll find them if you get interested after you make a few batches. The simple methods work just as well 99% of the time though, without the expense.

Now after 6 – 8 hours you’ll have smooth, creamy, tart, fresh, delicious yogurt. (I just got tired of writing adjectives, not that I ran out of good things to say about homemade yogurt!) The longer you wait the tarter the batch will be. You need to experiment a little to see where you like the tartness factor for your family. We use store bought yogurt cups that we’ve saved up to package our yogurt into. Remember that this is also plain yogurt with no flavoring. We take a tablespoonful of room temperature fruit jam or crushed fresh fruit and add it to the bottom of the cup. Then fill ‘er up with yogurt, put a cover on, and refrigerate. Stir it up when you’re ready to eat. Think about fresh blackberry jam, a little homemade chunky cinnamon apple sauce, or fresh blueberries or strawberries sitting in there, ready to get mixed in and eaten! It will keep for about 10 days to 2 weeks at best. The fresher it is if you want to use some to start a new batch, the better and remember to keep a little set aside and not flavored for the starter.

Try it if you like yogurt. The instructions here may seem a little simple and imprecise. That's ‘cause this IS easy and doesn’t need to be precise. It will work if you give it a try. As I always say -

Get out and train!


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