Sunday, April 19, 2009

Homemade Yogurt

We have been talking about making our own yogurt for months. We were especially intrigued by the Greek style yogurts that started popping up at all of the big grocery stores. When the Greek style was first introduced at our local store there were regular two for one sales for a time. We haven't seen a sale in while and can't get over the high prices. Just yesterday we saw a quart of yogurt for $6.99. At that point, we decided to buy a gallon of milk and see how hard it was to make ourselves. For our first batch we decided to make a plain non fat yogurt with organic milk. Fortunately, the NY Times had recently written about making yogurt. We will experiment in the future with different styles. Making yogurt is incredibly easy. So, save a little yogurt from your last store bought batch and let's get started!


1 Liter Organic No Fat Milk
2 Tablespoons yogurt with live culture


1 Large Stock Pot
1 Sauce Pan
1 1 Liter French Terrine
2 Bath Towels
1 Dial Thermometer that measures up to 200 F.
Tongs- these are a handy cooking utensil

We had the terrine in the cupboard waiting to be used for something just like this. It worked great because it is glass and it has a secure flip top lid it and could be sterilized easily.

Measure the amount of milk needed by pouring milk into the terrine and leave about ½” of space at the top. Pour the milk from the terrine into your sauce pan.

Place your terrine on its side in your stockpot and fill the stock pot with water. You can now place your stockpot on the stove and start heating over medium high heat to sterilize the terrine. Bring to a boil and cook the water for about ten minutes to sterilize.

During this time you can start warming the milk over low to medium heat. You want to keep an eye on the temperature of the milk. Place your thermometer in the milk and when the milk gets to 180 – 185 degrees take it off the heat. You could use a double boiler if you have one to keep the milk from scalding. We didn’t have one and so we kept a good eye on it.

Carefully remove the terrine from the hot water, drain, and place it right side up on your work area. You are now ready to pour the hot milk into the terrine.

Again, carefully pour the hot milk into the terrine and place your thermometer into the milk. You want to let the milk cool down to about 115 – 120 degrees.

Allowing the milk to cool takes a while – be patient. We don’t want to shock the glass with cold water which could cause it to break. Find something to do for a bit while the milk cools. You can check the temperature every ten minutes or so.

Once the milk is at the desired temperature you can add two tablespoons of starter yogurt to get your new batch going.

Close the lid on the terrine and give it a good shake to mix the starter yogurt in with the milk.

Now, get your bath towels out and swaddle that terrine up like a baby. Unlike a baby – cover it completely. This is to contain the heat. Place your baby yogurt someplace where it won’t be disturbed. Let it sit for anywhere from 4 – 18 hours or possibly longer.

The longer you let it sit the thicker and more tart it will become. We let ours sit for about twelve hours. We opened up the towels after five hours, took a peek and wrapped it back up to let it sit over night as it didn’t look quite thick enough. The quality of the live cultures in the starter probably has a lot to do with the amount of time needed to turn the milk into yogurt.

When we woke up the next morning we checked the yogurt again – it looked much thicker. It was exciting to see that the process appeared to be working. We opened up the terrine and gave a good sniff – it smelled like yogurt! We closed the terrine and put it in the refrigerator to let it cool down completely.

As we had recently made two more batches of granola after going through our first batch in less than a week - we were ready to try our fresh yogurt with our fresh granola. We put some granola in a bowl, spooned some of the fresh yogurt on top, added fresh strawberries and dug in.
The yogurt was light and slightly tart. It was a success and we know everything that is in sugars, syrups and artificial whatever.

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