How to make your own yogurt

I have been making yogurt for over 30 years now and I will hopefully continue for the rest of my life. This culinary journey began for me out of necessity. I moved to a remote ranch in Mexico in 1987 and I was not able to find any unflavored, non-fat yogurts in the small markets at the time, so I decided I would make my own. I am now living back in the United States and there is a large variety of unflavored yogurts available in the store. I still prefer to make my own, since I do not have to bring another container into my home that will need to be recycled, and you can’t get any food more local than your own kitchen.

The recipe in 5 simple steps

Internet did not exist back in 1987, so I turned to the Joy of Cooking to learn how to make yogurt. My mother had given me one of her yogurt makers (which I still use to this day), I had the recipe, so all I needed were three other items:

  • milk

  • yogurt cultures and

  • a cooking thermometer

I am sure there are variations on this recipe for yogurt, but this is how I have been doing it for over three decades. Here are the steps.

  1. Pour the appropriate amount of milk to fill your yogurt containers. My yogurt maker has 5 individual containers for the yogurt and each container hold ¾ of a cup of milk, so I pour 3 ¾ cups of milk into a saucepan.

  2. Warm the milk until the thermometer reads 175°F - 185°F. There were times when I couldn’t find my thermometer, so I warmed the milk until I saw little bubbles forming along the rim of the saucepan.

  3. Turn off the stove and let the milk cool until it reaches 100°F - 110°F and pour it into each of the containers that are placed in the warming yogurt maker.

  4. In each container, mix in about 1 1/2 teaspoons of yogurt (store-bought or from a previous batch).

  5. Put the lids on, and then let the yogurt sit for at least 7 to 8 hours. Yogurt does not like to travel while it is growing!

I usually make my yogurt in the evening, while I am making dinner, and the next morning it is ready for my fruit and granola. Enjoy!!!

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