Greek yogurt is becoming more and more popular, for good reason, as we fall in love with its creamy, thick texture and it’s protein-rich content. But knock-off versions at the store use filler ingredients to make it have a similar texture, but without being made the traditional method. Plus, many store-bought yogurts don’t have live-cultures, can be full of sugar, and can be pretty expensive.
For those who want to make yogurt without a yogurt maker, follow these instructions. Yes, they are long, but it is a simple process
You can make your own yogurt at home using supplies you are likely to already have on hand! I give directions for making one quart of yogurt, but I generally make at least two quarts at a time.You can use 3 parts whole milk, and 1 part cream for an ultra-rich yogurt!
1 quart canning jar with lid and band, plus more for filling with water for a heat source
1 candy thermometer
A pot large enough to put several quarts of yogurt in
1 quart of whole milk
2 tablespoons plain, live culture Greek style yogurt, or yogurt of choice
1. Start with sterilized canning jars (either run through the dishwasher on the sterilizing function or fill and cover with boiling water).
2. Heating the milk: In a medium sized pot about half filled with water, place the sterilized canning jar filled with whole milk (leaving about 1 inch space on the top). Place the thermometer on the side of the pot so that its tip is sterilized as the water comes to a boil. Bring the water to a boil, and then turn down heat to a medium high heat. Place the thermometer in the milk by connecting it to the jar and heat until the temperature reaches 185 degrees Fahrenheit. Carefully take the jar out of the water.
3.. Cooling period: Now we need to allow the milk to cool to a proper temperature (somewhere between 110 and 120 degrees). You can leave it on the counter (it will take most likely over an hour) or let it cool in cool water in the sink or the refrigerator. Just keep checking the thermometer.
4. Adding yogurt starter: Add two tablespoons of yogurt starter (don’t add more!) and gently stir in. Lid the jar. Feel the jar. This is the temperature that you want to keep your jar.
5. Keeping the yogurt warm: Now we need to grow that good bacteria for 4 to 24 hours, until the yogurt thickens up. My preferred method: Stock pot method. Place the yogurt in a large stock pot and place two jars filled with boiling water near the yogurt jar. Cover with towels and lid the pot. Replace the water in the jars as needed to maintain a warm temperature (every 3-4 hours). Alternatives: Place the jars of yogurt in the stock pot and cover or wrap around with a heating pad. Cooler Method: Place however many quarts of yogurt you are making in a towel laden cooler. Place a pot of very hot water beside it and cover with more towels. This should stay warm for a long time. If you have a dehydrator they also work wonderfully. Just set the temperature for about 110-115 degrees. Or you can use a yogurt maker.
6. Cool: Place either in the refrigerator or freezer (for about 1 hour), treating the jars gently (no shaking!). Placing in the freezer may help make a smooth texture, by cooling the yogurt faster. After chilling completely, you can strain to desired texture for a thick, extra creamy yogurt. Strain through cheesecloth set over a sieve over a bowl, or use a Greek Yogurt strainer. Enjoy!