Homemade Yogurt instructions
You will need:
—1/2 gallon milk (I use Organic Valley 1%)
—Pot large enough to heat ½ gallon of milk
—Two bowls – one large enough to hold the milk, and one large enough to let the milk bowl nest in ice (or you can just use your sink)
—2 Tbsp plain yogurt as a starter
—An extra canning jar for blending the culture – or you can use a bowl and whisk it together
—A spoon (to stir the milk)
—A measuring spoon to measure the starter
—A thermometer (one that has a range of 100°-180° F)
—A suitable number of canning jars/lids/bands to ferment your yogurt in (for ½ gallon I have about 11, plus one 8 oz jars)
—Couple of jars of warm water – to maintain the fermenting environment
—A cooler big enough to hold all of the jars. This is your fermentation environment
—A couple of towels – to help insulate your fermentation environment
—A canning funnel (optional)
This is a multi-step process.
—Before you begin refer to the tips regarding sterilizing all equipment. (click here)
—Heat the the milk slowly to 170°/180° F. Stir occasionally and before testing the temperature. (I use medium heat. About 20 minutes.) Stirring prior to taking the temperature makes for a more accurate reading on your thermometer. When the correct temperature is reached your milk will be steaming and you will be able to smell it. It will be a pleasant sweet smell not burned.)
—While your milk heats up, prepare the cooling bath by filling one bowl with ice & water and nesting the other bowl on top of the ice-water. I fill one side of my sink with water and ice then I put my pot in the ice/water.
—After the milk has reached 170°/180° F, pour the milk into the bowl sitting in the ice water or put your pot in the ice water. Cool the milk to 110° F. Stir frequently to distribute the cooling milk from the sides of the bowl/pot with the warm milk in the interior. This will help speed the process and help you get an accurate reading from your thermometer.
—While the milk cools, fill your jars that are going to sit with the yogurt with warm water. Arrange them in the cooler.
—While the milk cools, warm your canning jars with warm water. Just fill them up with hot water and empty them when you are ready to fill the jars with milk. This helps maintain the temperature for fermentation. Alternatively, if you have run your jars through the dishwasher and they are still hot from the cycle, leave them in the dishwasher until they are needed.
—When the milk has reached 110° F remove the bowl/pot from the ice bath. This keeps the milk from cooling even further.
—Ladle a small amount of the cooled milk into the extra canning jar. Add the 2 tbls of yogurt and shake. Then add the mixture back into the bowl of cooled milk, mixing well to make sure that the yogurt culture is distributed throughout the milk.
—Ladle the milk into your jars. Here is where you use the canning funnel if you have one. Wipe any spilled milk off the top of the jar rims and seal the jars tightly with a lid and band. Label the jars with the date the yogurt was made.
—Place the jars into the cooler, interspersed with the jars of warm water. Snug the jars up with a couple of towels. The idea is to maintain ideal heat conditions for fermentation. Close the cooler and put it in an out of the way place for 8-12 hours.
—Leave it alone for the entire 8-12 hours. While the yogurt is growing its good stuff it does not want to be disturbed.
—After the 8-12 hour period, open up the cooler and check the yogurt. It should have set up and become firm.
— Refrigerate and enjoy within two weeks of the “made on” date and remember to reserve two tablespoons for your next batch.
If you have doubts as to the safety of the product (doesn’t smell right, color/texture is wrong), don’t take any chances. Just throw it out and start over.
Remember this is an unstrained yogurt so it is going to be much more “runny” than the average store bought yogurt.
These original instructions I received were taken, but not directly quoted, from, “Canning for a New Generation” by Liana Krissoff and Rinne Allen. If you are interested in sharing this with anyone, please also refer them to this book. I have adjusted and added to it to document the process I have used.
So are you ready? Let me know how your yogurt turns out!