Making Homemade Yogurt
By Crystal Miller
Yogurt takes a little bit of time to make. Not actual 'working
on it' time but time for it to sit and culture. Yogurt is a cultured product,
much like cheese. It is a very easy and economical to make.
Before you begin there are a few things to make sure you have on
hand and a few things to know and understand about the process. Most of what you
need you will be able to find in the grocery store.
You need to begin with "starter yogurt". Starter yogurt is
yogurt that has been made with active live cultures; this is the friendly
bacteria that will turn your milk into yogurt. You can buy a small container of
yogurt at the grocery to use for this purpose. Make sure that the container says
"Made with live cultures" or something of this nature. You want to buy plain
yogurt, not flavored. Each time you make yogurt you will need some starter. You
can use your own starter, but over time it looses its potency and your yogurt
will not turn out. So I always begin with store bought yogurt. You can freeze
your starter yogurt in ice cube trays so that it is convenient to have on hand.
As far as tools for making yogurt go, you will need a
thermometer. A candy thermometer bought from the grocery store will work just
fine. You will need a large pot to heat up your milk and then something to
incubate your yogurt for about 12 hours. The temperature of the yogurt must stay
between 90 and 110 degrees during this incubation time.
There are a variety of ways of maintaining this temperature. If
you have a gas stove, putting your yogurt in the stove and leaving the pilot
light on may be enough. Make sure you have a thermometer in the oven so you can
keep an eye on the temperatures. If you have a stove that you can set at around
100 degrees, this works also. Another method that works is to use a small
styrofoam ice chest. While you are making the yogurt fill up the ice chest with
hot tap water. Right before you set the jars in the ice chest empty the water,
place filled jars in the ice chest, and fill with 110 degree water up to the
bottom edge of the lids. Put the cover on and place a blanket over this. After
about 4 hours check to make sure the water is still the right temperature
(between 90-110 degrees). If the water is cooling down, dump half of it out and
replace with 110 degree water and cover again. Check every 1 ½ hours or so to
make sure the water is staying warm. If the temperature of your yogurt gets to
high or to low then it will kill the culture. So it is important that during the
incubation period that your temperature stays between 90 and 110 degrees.
Here is my easy and tasty homemade yogurt recipe
By Crystal Miller
-8 cups milk, cow or goat (I raise Nubian goats and use my own
goat's milk most often, but have made lots of yogurt
with cow's milk from the store)
-1/3 cup powdered milk (this is optional but will make a thicker yogurt)
-1/4 cup pure maple syrup, optional for sweetened yogurt
-1/2 cup starter yogurt
Before you begin wash 2 - quart sized canning jars. If you want
to use 4- pint sized jars instead that would be fine too. Have the metal rings
and lids ready to cover the jars when you are done.
Pour your milk into a large cooking pot. Heat the milk up to 185
degrees. Allow the milk to cool down to 110 degrees. The cooling can take a long
time. If you want to speed the process up fill your sink with cold water and
place the pot of hot milk in the water and stir and stir. The temperature drops
fairly quickly this way, so make sure to have your thermometer handy to keep
After you reach 110 degrees add the remaining ingredients and
stir until everything is dissolved very well. Pour this mixture into your ready
and waiting jars. Put the lids on and put them into what ever place you are
planning to incubate and culture them. Leave them there for 10 to 12 hours. Try
not to disturb the jars to much. When the yogurt is firm it is time to remove
them and put them in the refrigerator to get nice and cold. Usually 12 to 24
hours. If you make and incubate the yogurt during the day it can refrigerate
overnight and be ready for breakfast the next day.
If you would like flavored yogurt you add fresh cut up fruit or
a little bit of flavored jam when you are serving your yogurt.
Crystal Miller (
mailto:email@example.com ) is a mother of 8 children and enjoys
her God given role as wife, homemaker and mother! She has a homemaking and
country living web site called The
Family Homestead and has a free monthly newsletter called Homestead
Happenings. You will find sign up information on her website.