Making yogurt at home for you and your family is fun, easy and can save you a lot of money in the long run!
Even better, yogurt making does not require any specialized equipment.
Yogurt is one of the most common fermented foods eaten for people. Most of peoplebuy their yogurt, but it’s possible to make your own yogurt at home, and save money while you’re at it. The recipe below makes about 2 litres of yogurt.
1 Homemade Yogurt Recipe
2 litres pasteurized milk (whole or 2% makes the creamiest yogurt).
½ cup plain yogurt (look for the words “live” or “active” cultures in the ingredient list). Choose a yogurt with a variety of cultures as each culture may provide a different health benefit.
4 Litre or larger Dutch oven, or heavy pot with a lid
Cooking or candy thermometer – one that clips to the side of the pan is best (accurate temperatures are essential when making yogurt.)
Small measuring cup or bowl
Yogurt containers (e.g., clean, plastic containers or canning jars with lids)
Heat ingredients. Pour the milk into the pot and heat on stove over medium-high heat. Whisk milk gently during heating to make sure the bottom doesn’t scorch. Warm milk to right below boiling, around 200°F (93°C). Do not let the milk come to a boil. (This heating step is necessary to change the proteins in milk so it sets as a solid rather than separating.) If you prefer a thicker yogurt, hold the milk at this temperature for 10 to 20 minutes, stirring gently.
Cool ingredients. Remove the milk from the element and let cool, stirring occasionally, until the temperature is 115°F (46°C). For faster cooling, place the pot in an ice water bath.
Inoculate. Scoop out one cup of the warm milk with a measuring cup and mix in the ½ cup plain yogurt. Whisk mixture until blended. Pour mixture back into pot of warm milk and whisk gently. (This inoculates the milk with the yogurt culture.)
Incubate. Cover the pot with its lid and transfer it to the (turned-off) oven. Turn on the oven light and wrap the pot in towels to keep it warm as it sets. This ensures that the temperature remains close to 110°F (43°C), the temperature needed for the yogurt to set properly. Let the yogurt sit for at least four hours, or as long as overnight. The longer it sits, the thicker and more tart it becomes. Check the yogurt after four hours, and continue to check until it reaches a flavour and texture you like. When checking, be careful not to stir or jostle the yogurt until it is set.
Refrigerate. Once the yogurt has set to your liking, remove it from the oven. If you see any liquid (whey) on the top of the yogurt, drain it off or whisk it into the yogurt. Whisking the yogurt will give a creamy, consistent texture. Pour or ladle the yogurt into the storage containers, cover, and refrigerate. Homemade yogurt will keep about 10 to 21 days if held in a fridge at 40°F (4°C) or lower.
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2 Homemade Yogurt Recipe
1. Boiling the milk.
Place the two pots inside each other and pour the milk in the inner pot. Using two pots ensures the milk does not heat too fast and burn. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar (For a healthier but still sweet mix, you can go with honey instead of sugar). Add two tablespoons of cocoa powder if you want to make chocolate yogurt. Let the milk heat up to 200 F(93.3C). If you don’t have a thermometer, this is the point just before the milk boils and it looks frothy at that time.
2. Cool It
Take the inside pot out and place it in a basin of cold water. This will allow the milk to cool fast without forming cream on top. Let it cool until its baby warm and stir every once in a while. The ideal warmth should be about 110 F(43.3C). Remove the pot from the basin.
3. Warm the culturing Yogurt
I usually add some of the hot milk into my culturing yogurt and mix it well before pouring it in the milk. Doing this ensures the yogurt is warm and thinner which makes it easy to blend with the milk. Whisk the yogurt and milk mixture thoroughly until it’s smooth. Tightly cover the pot with the lid.
If you don’t have a yogurt maker, there is no need to worry. Now that I have an oven I usually pre-heat it and then turn it off. The temperature therein is enough to incubate my yogurt for at least 2 hours if I don’t keep opening it. Every two hours I turn the oven on for 5 minutes and turn it off again. Before I bought the oven, I would place my yogurt pot in a bowl of hot water and replace the water every two hours. Some people also use a rice cooker and set it on warm or place the pot in a warm car or sunny window. However, it’s important to ensure the temperature of the yogurt remains below 120 F(48.9C) and above 90 F(32.2C).
The incubation period should be at least 4 hours but the longer the better. Let the yogurt sit undisturbed for four good hours and check the consistency after that.
5. Cool the yogurt
Remove the yogurt from the incubator after your preferred time and let it cool. Whisk it thoroughly and transfer the contents to a plastic container. Cover the container and refrigerate immediately to ensure fermentation stops. The yogurt should stay in the fridge for at least six hours before use. Always keep the yogurt covered and eat it within a week or two. If the yogurt smells or tastes funny, get rid of it immediately, because that right there is poison beckoning.
The yogurt is already sweet because of the sugar you added in the milk. However, if you are wondering how to make your own yogurt yummy, add more honey or vanilla or strawberry essence and some fresh fruits like strawberries and blueberries. Sprinkle some nuts or coconut shavings on top of the yogurt when you serve to make it more attractive and tastier.
Homemade yogurt lacks all the artificial ingredients and machinery required to make it as smooth and thick as the commercial type. However, you can make your yogurt thicker by letting it incubate for a long period at the correct temperature(the rule of the thumb here is to go up to 114.8 F/46C for a real thick result). Anywhere between 8 to 10 hours will do. Additionally, strain out most of the whey after removing the pot from the oven instead of whisking it in. Put the yogurt directly in the freezer for two hours to cool and then place it back in the fridge.
Making yogurt at home enables you to try several methods and ingredients until you get the perfect flavor and consistency. It’s also really fun when you can do it with the kids as a family and enjoy the results later. Yogurt enhances healthy digestion, strengthens bones, lowers the risk of blood pressure and boost our immunity. It’s also great when it comes to lowering blood pressure and losing a bit of weight.
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