The Winging It Way to Homemade Yogurt
My first attempt at making yogurt fell somewhere in the middle realm — not an epic fail of soured milk, but not thick and creamy either. (At least it was more successful that my attempt with homemade peanut butter, which came out more like peanut paste.) My yogurt was a little on the runny side but had the most amazing sour tanginess. With maple syrup, a chopped peach, and my mom’s granola, I was in breakfast heaven.
There are more detail oriented recipes for homemade yogurt, but the lazy way seemed to work just fine for me. If you don’t have a thermometer, don’t fret — all is not lost. I used the “thermos method” which involves simply pouring the ingredients into a thermos rinsed with hot water. If you have a yogurt maker, you’re obviously in business, but you can also make yogurt by placing it in a warmed oven overnight — instructions here. For having totally winged it (couldn’t find a thermometer), I thought this turned out admirably well and was a cheap way to make a lot of organic, low-fat yogurt.
Have you ever done this? Would you ever do this? Are you not into kitchen science experiments? Or does this seem like the kind of simple DIY project that’s right up your alley?
adapted from Whole Foods for the Whole Family
4 cups milk (I used 1%)
2-4 tablespoons plain yogurt with active cultures
Scald milk. Let cool to 110°F (I estimated by letting it cool till it was warm to the touch — like warm water from the faucet before it turns hot or like a warm bath). Stir in yogurt. Pour into a thermos rinsed with hot water. Wrap thermos with a towel, place in a warm place, and let sit for 6-12 hours until yogurt has thickened.
Words of wisdom from the cookbook: “The heat source is the most critical factor for successful yogurt making. Too low a temperature will incubate sour milk bacteria rather than yogurt bacteria; too high a temperature will kill the bacteria. There are other alternatives to a commercial yogurt makers or a thermos. You can put the dish or jars in a water bath (95°F to 115°F) in an electric fry pan or crock pot, in a gas oven with pilot light on, in an electric oven preheated at is lowest temperature setting, then turned off, in a box with a light bulb [!], or in a box set on a heating pad. All of these sources work well, so experiment and see what works best for you. Once you establish your heat source yogurt making will be simple.”