In my quest to become more environmentally friendly, I thought we could start to make our own yogurt. I had no idea what this entailed though.
Would it take tons of time, money or effort? None of which I really had any interest in putting into yogurt.
I read that you can make yogurt without a yogurt maker. I did not have a desire to do that though, I won't deny it. So I researched yogurt makers and yogurt recipes. The only type of yogurt recipes I found involved two ingredients: milk and yogurt (or a yogurt starter). Seriously, that's it? Occasionally I came across a recipe that added honey, agave, maple or vanilla. But in general just two ingredients. Alright, that seems easy enough. So I bought the yogurt maker (I found one at Sur La Table for $50). I'm committed, I'm doing it.
I started my first batch of yogurt on a Sunday evening at 4:00 p.m.
- 4-5 cups milk
- 3/4 cup plain yogurt, with live active cultures
- Warm the milk in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Warm the milk until it is almost boiling, but not quite (which took about 5-7 minutes).
- Take it off the heat and let it cool to about 80 degrees, give or take a few degrees (I just stuck my finger in the pot and if it felt a little cooler than a jacuzzi I knew it was good to go). This will take 45(ish) minutes to cool. This is non-working prep time so you can go for a run, watch a recorded hour-long show, clean the house, take the dog for a walk, go to the grocery store, etc.
- Once it has cooled, add 3/4 cup of plain yogurt to the milk and stir in until it is completely mixed in. Fill each glass jar with the yogurt/milk mixture. Fill it just until the neck.
- Screw on the lids. Put the jars in the yogurt maker and put the plastic covering/lid on the machine.
- Set the timer for 11 hours (that is the amount of time I have found works great for 1% milk).
The next morning I woke up at 5:00 a.m., so excited to see my yogurt. Did it turn out? I was sort of nervous too. What if this is all a scam? What if the only way to get decent yogurt is from the store?
I took off the plastic covering and unscrewed the jar of yogurt. Stiff, firm, solid. Whatever you want to call it, it was yogurt, and not the running kind, but a good, firm, smooth texture. Man was I excited.
After the 11 hour "cooking" time you just put the jars in the fridge to chill. They can stay in the fridge for up to 10 days.
- 15 minutes of actual work to make 7 jars of yogurt.
- The yogurt is delicious.
- The two questions people keep asking me:
- Can you use non-fat milk? Yes.
- Can you use fruit to flavor it? Yes. Make a puree and add that to the top after the yogurt has "cooked." So instead of "fruit on the bottom" you have "fruit on the top."