Does trying something new frighten you, especially something like making cheese or yogurt? We seem to have this mentality anymore that it isn’t any good unless you buy it from the grocery store. WRONG! I’m discovering that as we learn how to make these things at home they are so much better. No additives, preservatives, artificial flavorings. Just pure goodness.
Yogurt is one of those things for me that has always been scary, it seemed complicated. I would read blogs where people made it and I would say to myself, “Naw, too hard, too much effort.” I finally decided one day, just try it. I’ve been making yogurt now for a month. Each time refining the method and trying to make it simpler. This tutorial is a pictorial of my method. There are other ways to make it, but this works for me.
So for lack of a better name we are going to call this the Ice chest method.
Get out your ice chest and scrub it good and rinse it. Then pour boiling water in it to sterilize it.
Equipment you will need:
Large stock pan
Quart canning jars, with band and lids (Can use clean mayo jars., just make sure there are no smells as this will transfer to yogurt)
Long teaspoon to stir
1 container good quality Greek yogurt with live active cultures.( I’ve used Fage Greek Yogurt and Dannon’s Oikos Greek yogurt.)
Milk, depending on how much you want to make
You will need 2 -3 Tbsp yogurt for each quart.
Add ½ cup milk to yogurt and stir, we will add this later
Fill your quart jars to ½ inch below the ring with milk, you’re leaving space to add your yogurt culture later.
Add your jars to stock pot and fill with hot water, turn on stove burner to med high.
Using this method, your jars are working as a double boiler so you don’t have to worry about scorching your milk.
Heat for 10-15 mins. (each stove is different.) Use your thermometer,
Heat the milk to a temperature of 180 degrees.
Hold it there for 10 mins.
Prepare a cold water bath in your kitchen sink, don’t fill to full you don’t want to cover the pot.
Take the pot off the stove and immerse in your cold water bath.
You are cooling the milk to 120 degrees before we add our yogurt starter.
When temperature reaches 120 degrees remove from water bath and pour your starter in each jar
Filling to the top.
Stir each jar with your long spoon, mixing well.
Put on lids and bands and close tight.
Put into your ice chest and fill to bottom of lids with hot tap water. My tap water is around 118 degrees, I start at the beginning of making yogurt filling the ice chest partially with that, by the time I get the jars in the temperature has dropped a few more degrees.
You want to maintain your water between 110-112 degrees while your yogurt incubates.
(You can check it occasionally, but it seems to hold a steady temperature, if it is below, I take out a couple cups of water and replace it with hot tap water.)
Incubate about 6 hours. Yogurt should be set. The longer the incubation time, the more tart or acidic the flavor of your yogurt.
This is where you experiment: I like my yogurt tarter so I usually go between 8-10 hours. You need to taste and make your own determination.
(It will be warm so it’s not going to taste like cold yogurt)
Take jars out of ice chest, dry them off and immediately put them in the refrigerator. Rapid cooling stops the development of acid.
Greek Style Yogurt
Take a jar of your cold yogurt. Line a colander with cheesecloth or double sheets of Bounty paper towels (needs to be strong paper towels) inside a deep bowl. Pour your yogurt in the strainer and allow the whey to drain off. Put the bowl and strainer back into the refrigerator for this process. It will usually be the right consistency in 4-6 hours.
Save your yogurt
The first batch from using store bought yogurt is usually the best for using again to re-culture more milk. I make extra with that batch and freeze in 1 cup portions (an extra quart of yogurt will give you 4 starters).
Save your Whey.
It can be used for liquid in bread, soups and other uses. It has lots of nutritional values left in it.
I will give you a few recipes that I use in a couple of days for Frozen Yogurt and other good uses.