There are about a gazillion posts out there on the interwebz about how to make homemade yogurt. This is one of them.
I consulted various websites, blogs, and friends before attempting my yogurt batch. They all said the same thing: “making yogurt at home is easy!” Score. That sounds right up my alley.
So, I bought some yogurt cultures from an online retailer. The cultures were to be mixed with a cup of milk and left on the counter for 16-48 (48?!) hours to create the starter. After 22 hours, I was tired of waiting, my milk was just curdled (not solid, like yogurt) and I decided that was a bust. So much for easy, no-machine-required yogurt making. “Maybe you’re just not cut out to make yogurt,” said Hubs.
I moved on to “the crock pot method,” determined to make some mother-effing yogurt. This method seems to be the most popular among People Who Blog About Yogurt. I followed the blog post exactly:
After mixing your starter back into the pot of warmed milk,
Yes, people, that’s correct. The bottom of my Crock Pot(TM) cracked at the edge and milk was pouring across the counter and down the cabinets. And here’s why you shouldn’t always trust bloggers: (Wait. I’m a blogger. Trust me! You can trust me! Really, you can trust me. You can trust me? You trust me? Really?) Anyway, bloggers don’t always get recipes right. In fact, I will tell you straight-up that you should proceed with caution if you’re not much of a cook when following a recipe found on a blog. And, apparently, I’m not much of a cook.
The recipe I followed instructed to turn on your Crock Pot(TM) BEFORE heating the milk, to get it warmed up. Now, the First Rule of Crockpot Club is Don’t Turn on The Crock with Nothing In It. I should have heeded my own knowledge and realized that the temperature change when the heated crock got splashed with slightly-cooler milk would create a problem.
But all was not lost!
Thankfully, stovetop yogurt (not this bastardized form of stovetop/crockpot ridiculousness I was following) is really simple. I had not poured all of my milk into the crockpot, so I covered the warmed milk again, wrapped the pot in a towel, and put it in my oven with the light on. After 16 hours, my yogurt was miraculously firm and adequately yogurt-y.
After losing some milk to my first failed attempt, and losing some milk in The CrockPot Incident, I had a little less than a gallon with which to work. I strained the yogurt through cheesecloth (probably not necessary, but I wanted it THICK), and it yielded about 40 ounces of Greek yogurt.
The yogurt tastes delicious and it’s super-thick & creamy.
Overall, I’m really pleased with the results and will be making this again, sans CrockPot. RIP, my friend.
And make sure to save that whey! You can bake with it, ferment with it, or make a tasty drink.
Homemade Greek Yogurt
- 1 gallon pasteurized organic milk
- 5 oz container of greek yogurt
- In a large pot, slowly heat milk over med heat to 185 degrees, stirring occasionally. Milk will appear frothy. Do not overheat. You can use a candy thermometer to monitor temperature.
- While milk is warming, fill a sink with cold water.
- When milk has reached 185, remove from heat, cover with a lid, leaving lid cracked for steam to escape, and place pot into the water bath. Be careful not to get water into the pot.
- When milk has cooled to about 100 degrees, remove a cup of the warmed milk and mix it a bowl with the greek yogurt.
- Pour milk/yogurt mixture into the pot with warmed milk and stir thoroughly.
- Cover the pot, wrap in a heavy towel, and place in the oven. The oven should not be hot nor turned on. Turn on the oven light and allow the milk to culture for 14-18 hours.
- Once yogurt has set, you can drain the yogurt through cheesecloth for an even thicker preparation or simply strain off whey (yellow liquid) and refrigerate immediately. Store yogurt in glass containers.
Have you ever made your own yogurt? What method did you use?