So today I’m going to try my hand at making homemade yogurt. I found out a while back that you could make yogurt at home and I thought it sounded like a fantastic idea!
March 20, 2016
This post contains affiliate links.
I found the recipe at granny-miller.com. I’ve seen other recipes online as well but this one seems the most credible to me so I’ll be trying her method.
Update: granny-miller.com appears to be offline.
I’ve posted a whole bunch of pictures to show you what I’m doing, how I’m doing it, and even when I’m doing it (as you can see the clock in the background).
So I put (almost) a jug of milk in my “new” crock pot ($5 on Kijiji!). It didn’t hold the whole 4L (1 gallon) but it was close.
I put my candy thermometer in and turned the pot on high. Then down to low, once I thought better if it.
Now, the recipe says to heat the milk to 180° first in order to kill off bacteria but while I was waiting for my crock pot to heat the milk that much I found out (as usual, by reading comments) that I may not need to because I’m using plain old store-bought milk which has already been pasteurized. Not to mention I’m using a brand new jug that wasn’t opened until I started.
Once it FINALLY heated to 110°, which is the temperature needed for inocculating, I removed one cup and mixed it in a small bowl with two tablespoons of plain yogurt (also freshly opened). I then gently whisked the cup of milk back into the crock pot using an up-down (not circular!) motion.
I removed 8 cups of milk (roughly half of it) to another pot (previously warmed with hot water) and in the new pot I mixed in 2/3 cup of honey and 5 tsp of vanilla. Hopefully this will end up as vanilla yogurt, we shall see.
Then I took the crock out of the cooker and wrapped both pots individually in towels, put them in the oven, and snugged them in with another towel.
I had previously preheated the oven to 170 (which is as low as my oven goes) then turned it off. It was still quite warm when I added the toweled pots so I left the door open for a little until it had cooled some. We’re trying to maintain 110 here, not increase.
I left the oven light on and I also put my oven thermometer in (nestled in the towels, not in the soon-to-be (I hope) yogurt).
It turned out to be rather difficult to maintain the 110° in the oven; I had to leave the light on but keep the door cracked with a tea towel. I left it incubating in the oven for around 15 hours. I was leaving for work at 4:30am so I just whipped off the towels and crammed both pots into the fridge. I had meant to get up early enough to continue to the straining step but … I should have known that was simply not going to happen!
When I got home that night at 5:30 I took the yogurt out and actually got to look at it for the first time. And you know, it actually looked like yogurt. Surprise!
I love being pleasantly surprised.
I took the plain yogurt out of the fridge at 6 pm, so it was in the fridge for 14-ish hours. I could see the layer of whey on top but it was thicker than I’d expected. Being in the fridge thickened it.
So then I got my big stock pot and put my colander in lined with a muslin baby blanket (my cheesecloth wasn’t fine enough so … do what you gotta do, right?). Then I poured the yogurt in and left it for 1 ¾ hours.
My colander is mostly solid with some big holes, but I bet this one, or one like it, would work way better!
And this part was boring again. I don’t like having to be patient! I kept peeking into the bottom of the pot to see if the whey (the liquid) was actually draining out of the yogurt.
And it was!
I strained a whole jar of whey from it in the 1 ¾ hours, and it wasn’t even done! I got tired of the plain yogurt hogging my colander and stock pot because I couldn’t wait to try the vanilla!
I scooped the plain yogurt out into a jar with a soup ladle. Most of the yogurt was somewhat liquidy but the edges had begun to thicken VERY nicely. It was a shame to stop it early but I’ll just be using it in smoothies so I don’t think the texture is terribly important.
On to the vanilla! The vanilla was in the fridge for almost 16 hours. It was thicker than the plain yogurt and looked chunkier. For the vanilla batch I skipped the colander and used an elastic band to secure another muslin baby blanket to the pot (thanks to Hubby for the idea).
I scooped the drained yogurt into jars (and took a crap-load of pictures because it was like being a proud new mom all over again), saved the whey and put it all in the fridge before falling into bed with Doll for a nice long sleep (it’s never really long enough though).
If you like yogurt, you will love homemade yogurt. You can make it as thick or liquidy as you want and even the plain yogurt tastes good!
Since I originally rough drafted this post I have made yogurt about once every 10 days and it’s great every time! I don’t think I’ll ever buy yogurt again.
I loved the vanilla but I used up all my honey on this first batch and I keep forgetting to get more. So I’ve actually been making it with pancake syrup instead, which is quite interesting. The yogurt smells a little like syrup but it doesn’t taste like it. It’s actually pretty good!
Update if you make this during the colder months, it may be a little harder to get the oven up to 110°, and to stay there. I actually had to keep putting a heat bag in the oven.
Equipment you need:
large crock pot
colander (or big rubber band)
thermometer that measures between 100-200 degrees Fahrenheit
4L milk (approximately)
2 Tbsp plain yogurt
What to do:
Heat the milk slowly in the crock pot with the lid on. You want to heat it to 180-190 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s very important that the milk reaches at least 180 degrees; this will sterilize the milk. (Or if you’re using store-bought, regular old pasteurized milk you can skip this step like I did)
Then you let it cool naturally until it’s 110 degrees Fahrenheit. This could take 3½ to 4 hours. You must catch the milk at 110 degrees!
Depending on the type of milk you use there may be a skin on top. Remove the skin otherwise you’ll have hard flakes in your yogurt. (I didn’t get a skin so I don’t know if this is true, I used whole (aka homogenized 3.25%) milk)
Remove one cup of milk into the small bowl add 2 tablespoons of the plain yogurt. Mix together then whisk gently back into the pot in an up-and-down motion. Do not stir in circles!
Remove the a crock pot from the cooker and wrap in the bath towels.
Place in oven. If you have a gas oven it’s good for the pilot light to be on, if you do not it helps to turn on the oven light.
Make sure the crock pot is well insulated with towels. Leave overnight or for 10 to 12 hours.
After 10-12 hours it will be solid with a layer of whey on top. If you like thicker yogurt (like Greek yogurt) then you can drain all the whey off:
Put the muslin inside the colander either in the sink or over a large pot. Do it over a large pot if you want to keep the whey but in the sink if you don’t. (Or secure the muslin to the pot using an elastic)
Pour the yogurt into the colander and allow it to drain for about 2 hours (or 3-4 hours to make Greek yogurt). If you leave it for longer than that you may end up with something that is known as yogurt cheese, which is delicious I’ve heard.
Please comment! I would loooove to hear your thoughts on homemade yogurt!!!