Yogurt is a really inexpensive food to eat if it’s homemade. A quart of non-organic yogurt costs $2-$3 in my area, but I can make yogurt for $1 a quart, which is a large savings. Four quarts of grocery store yogurt per week would cost me between $416 and $624 a year, and this yogurt(from milk purchased at $4/gallon) costs me $208.
I make my yogurt with raw milk from a local farm, but it can be made with pasteurized, homogenized milk as well. The recipes requires no special machines…you probably have most, if not all of these items in your kitchen already.
For directions on how to make vanilla yogurt, see the bottom of this post.
1 gallon of milk
1 cup yogurt starter(you can use a small cup of plain Dannon or Yoplait yogurt, or you can use a cup from your previous batch. I’ve had not so good luck with off-brand yogurts. Whatever starter you use, make sure you don’t open it until you are ready to use it.)
1. Place four quart glass canning jars, four lids, and four screw-tops in a large pot. Fill with an inch of water; cover with lid and heat to boiling. Boil for ten minutes. Leave the lid on the pot and move it off the heat until you are ready to use the jars.
2. Pour one gallon of milk into a large stockpot. One with a heavy bottom will make the heating process simpler(you won’t have to watch so carefully for burning). I use a Revere Ware copper bottomed stock pot. Heat the milk to 185-195 degrees Farenheit(90-90 Celcius).
3. Place the pot in a sink filled with cold water and let the milk cool to 122-130 degrees farenheit(50-55 degrees celsius)
4. Stir one cup of yogurt starter into the cooled milk, using a whisk. Stir well to ensure that the starter is thoroughly incorporated into the milk.
5. Pour the milk into jars, and put the lids and bands on. Place them into a cooler. To simplify this process, I pour the milk into a clean pitcher, because I can never manage to pour milk neatly from a pot into the jars.
6. Heat one gallon of water to 122-130 degrees F(50-55 degrees C) and pour into cooler. Note: Do not use plastic containers, because they float, as I discovered while making this particular batch. Ahem.
7. Shut cooler lid and leave in a warm place for three hours. When the three hours are up, place the yogurt in the refrigerator. If all went well, your yogurt should be thick like this:
Don’t worry if it’s not this thick right out of the cooler…sometimes mine isn’t thick until it’s become completely cool in the refrigerator.
The first time I made yogurt, I thought it was a total pain-in-the-rear and I was SO never doing it again. But, after I did it a few times, I realized that it didn’t really take that much hands-on time, and that I could get some kitchen tasks done easily while I waited for the jars to boil and for the milk to heat up. And of course during the three hours that the yogurt sits in the cooler, I’m free to do whatever I want to do as the yogurt requires no supervision. =P
To make a vanilla version of this yogurt, add 1/2 to 1 cup of sugar to the four quarts of milk when it’s cooling in the sink. Then stir in 2 tablespoons of vanilla(I use one tablespoon real and one tablespoon imitation) and proceed as usual with the recipe.