Did you know that you can make your own yogurt at home? Most of the yogurt brands on store shelves are full of sugar and other unhealthy ingredients, and you can avoid these by making yours at home. A cultured dairy product that can be made from whole, low-fat, or skim milk, yogurt requires only a few ingredients. Here's how you can make 4-5 cups of yogurt at home:
Gather your tools and ingredients:
- A pot that will hold at least 5 cups
- Candy thermometer
- Container to hold the finished yogurt.
- 1 quart of milk
1/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder
Small cup of plain store-bought yogurt with active cultures
2 tablespoons sugar or honey (optional)
1 teaspoon Gelatin (optional)
Make an incubator: You also need an incubator to keep the yogurt mixture warm. You may want to consider the purchase of a yogurt maker. While you can substitute other equipment to keep the yogurt at a constant temperature of 108 to 112 degrees, this is the most foolproof method of doing so. You can also use an insulated container, such as a cooler, with jars of water at about 140 degrees to keep the yogurt warm. If making only a small amount of yogurt, you can also try using a thermos or a heating pad.
Starting the process: Place the milk in the pot, and stir in the milk powder. Add a few tablespoons of sugar or honey if you want your yogurt to be less tart. Sprinkle gelatin over the milk and let stand 5 minutes if you desire thicker and firmer yogurt. Heat it to 200 degrees and stir gently for 10 minutes (longer if using gelatin). Make sure that the milk does not boil. Next, place the mixture in a cold water bath to cool it to 112-115 degrees, and then remove the pan from the cold water. Blend a cup of the warm milk with the store-bought cup of yogurt to start the process. If you keep some of your homemade yogurt, you can use it to start the next batch. Now, return this mixture to the pan, and mix it with the rest of the heated milk. Your mixture should have cooled to around 110 to 112 degrees.
Incubate the yogurt: Immediately transfer your yogurt to the prepared incubator, and let it set for about 4-6 hours.
Enjoy: Transfer the yogurt to the refrigerator from the incubator after it has set. You can store the yogurt in the refrigerator for about 10 days. While you can double or even triple the recipe, make sure your equipment is large enough and that the yogurt won’t go to waste. Try topping your yogurt with fruit or granola!
If you eat a lot of yogurt, you can even save money by making it at home. Once you know how to make yogurt at home, feel free to experiment by adding a few drops of food coloring or flavoring.