HOME MADE YOGURT
1/2 gallon milk (skim to whole fat, your choice) I used Battenkill low fat
4 tablespoons plain yogurt to use as a starter (I used Cabot Plain Greek - you can use any plain yogurt)
- In dutch oven or large pot on stove, over moderate heat, bring milk to 185 degrees F (bubbles start forming around edge), or to just before boiling, stirring to make sure milk doesn't scorch on the bottom of the pot.
- Remove pot from heat and cool down to 110 degrees (a candy thermometer would be very helpful for this process.) If you don't have a thermometer, 110 degrees is when it's still hot but not painfully hot when you dip your pinky finger in (a standard gauge for measuring heat in a lot of yogurt recipes!).
- Take 1 cup of the heated milk and mix with the 4 tbsp. of starter yogurt (whisk together) and stir back into the hot milk mixture.
- Wrap a thick towel completely around the pot (with lid) to incubate the yogurt and keep it warm. Place wrapped pot in oven (turned off!) with the light on, and let sit for 8-14 hours. I let mine sit overnight and then all day while I was at work.
- Unwrap pot and place yogurt in fridge to chill completely before straining (I poured the yogurt into a large bowl for the fridge).
- To strain, pour yogurt into a lined colander set over a large bowl. I used a few sturdy paper towels as the liner. (To create space for the whey to drain, I inverted a small pyrex dish in the bottom of the bowl and set the colander on top of that.) Allow yogurt to drain until it reaches the consistency you prefer. Pour off whey as it accumulates. I let it go overnight to make it thicker. To make it an even thicker Greek style yogurt, strain again.To make yogurt cheese, strain even longer. I had saved yogurt containers (washed in the dishwasher) so I had a quart container ready. My half-gallon of milk made just under a quart of yogurt, pretty much for the price of a half-gallon of milk. Well worth the effort!
I made home-made yogurt! You can, too!