Did you know that anyone can easily make their own yogurt? And given that many store bought yogurts have harmful food dyes and preservatives in them, there is good reason to make DIY yogurt. Contrary to common belief, you don’t need a special yogurt-making machine. And you don’t need a cow or goat, either. All you really need are a few common kitchen tools and ingredients. Try it!
1. Gather together:
½ gallon of milk – any type will do as long as it’s not ultra-pasteurized (a.k.a., UHT, or ultra-heat-treated)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
½ cup sweetener of your choice (real honey or pure maple syrup are good choices)
½ cup store bought yogurt (or yogurt starter, which can be purchased online)
2 three-quart glass jars (canning jars are perfect and least likely to break)
Another pot (for boiling water)
2. Pour the milk into the pot. Add the honey or maple syrup and (if using) the vanilla extract.
3. Over medium to medium-high heat, warm the milk until it reaches 180 degrees F. It should bubble a bit and form a skin.
4. Remove the pot from the stove and let the milk cool to 120 degrees F. To speed things up, you can place the pot in a sink of cold tap water.
5. Fill the second pot with water and bring to a boil. Warm the jars with hot, running tap water, then pour the boiling water over them to help sterilize them. Pour out any water in the jars.
6. Pour 1 cup of the cooled milk into the mixing bowl and add the yogurt or starter. Swirl with a spoon. DON’T mix or stir.
7. Pour the milk and yogurt mixture back into the pot. Swirl (again NOT mixing or stirring).
8. Pour the mixture into the jars. You should already see chunks of yogurt. Divide these chunks between the jars pretty evenly.
9. Screw the lids onto the jars and place them in the large pot. Pour enough hot tap water into the pot that it comes to the rims of the jars. Allow to sit on the counter for 10 – 18 hours, then remove the jars to the refrigerator. After chilling, eat. The yogurt will last 1 – 2 weeks.
“But,” you may wonder, “what if I want flavors, like strawberry?” Just add a wee bit of jam. Yes, really. Store bought yogurt is flavored with sugared fruit, so jam is an easy DIY way of achieving a similar flavor.
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