To make yogurt, you’ll need a starter that contains live cultures. You can buy yogurt makers and freeze-dried starters online, but you don’t need any of it to make homemade yogurt successfully. Yogurt from the store makes an effective starter. We recommend plain, organic, whole milk, Greek yogurt for best results.
Homemade Organic Yogurt (Modified from Epicureous.com)
3 tablespoons unsweetened, organic whole milk yogurt (this is your “starter”)
4 cups organic whole milk (you can use a low-fat milk, if you prefer, and this recipe also works with goat or sheep’s milk)
◗ Sterilize a glass container that is large enough to hold 4 cups of milk. Many dishwashers have a sterilize setting. If yours doesn’t, use boiling water to sterilize the glass container.
◗ Heat the milk over medium heat until the temperature reaches 180°F/82°C (use a thermometer to be sure). Stir often to prevent a skin from developing, making sure the milk does not boil over or scald.
◗ Remove the milk from the heat and allow it to cool until it reaches 115°F/46°C. You can put your container in an ice bath to speed up this process, but if the temperature drops below 110°F/43°C, return it to the heat.
◗ Remove a cup of the warm milk and stir in the 3 tablespoons of starter yogurt to incorporate. Then add this to the remaining warm milk and gently combine the ingredients. Avoid a vigorous stir.
◗ Cover the container and place it in the incubator (see below). Leave undisturbed for 5-10 hours. The longer it incubates, the thicker and more tart the yogurt becomes.
◗ After incubation, place the covered glass container in the refrigerator for about 3 hours.
Enjoy yogurt plain or sprinkle with fruit, nuts, extracts, granola, or other favorite add-ins. Yogurt will last up to 10 days but tastes best within the first week.
During incubation, the probiotic bacteria convert lactose into lactic acid. The result is a tart, tangy taste and thicker texture.
Here are three methods to incubate your homemade yogurt, after first covering the container and wrapping it in towels.
◗ CROCKPOT: Place your yogurt in the crockpot on the warm setting and close the lid.
◗ HEATING PAD: Position the yogurt on a heating pad on the medium setting.
◗ INSULATED COOLER: Set a heating pad to medium and place it in the cooler. Position your yogurt on top and close the cooler lid.