So easy an unorganized ditz could do it.
And I’ll prove it to you.
Step one - get a quart sized mason jar
Step one A – get a step ladder
Step two - which probably should have been step one, find your recipe
Step three - heat a quart of milk in the microwave to 180-185 degrees F in 2 minute increments, stirring each time. This takes about 6-7 minutes in my microwave.
Get distracted by step 4 & fail to photograph step 3
Step four– search for thermometer to check the temp of the yogurt after first 2 minutes
Find only cases and the long missing apple corer
Step 4a – stick yogurt back in the microwave for another 2 minutes while you tear through every drawer in the kitchen until you come up with one of the thermometers.
Step 4b – once yogurt reaches 180 degrees leave it to cool on the counter to 110-115 degrees. This takes about 45 minutes. Do not put the hot glass jar in the fridge!
Step five – gather your other ingredients (probably this should have been step 3 as you will see)
Check the expire date on the ingredients. This is especially important in my kitchen. I haven’t made yogurt since Sept 09 since yogurt is a warm weather thing for me.
Step 5a– Google ‘homemade yogurt recipe’ and compare eleventy billion of them to see just how many require the use of dry milk and whether you can get by without it.
Turns out you can. Dry milk apparently is used as a thickener when using lower fat milk and it adds protein. I’m using 1% milk but I have plans for this yogurt that should get around the thickener issue. I don’t really care about the protein content.
Step 5b – check the yogurt you will use as starter since this is absolutely necessary. I like Greek yogurt because it has more types of active culture. I just bought it 2 days ago, so I’m good on the date.
Step six – once the milk is at 112 degrees or so whisk in 2 tablespoons of yogurt. Whisk well until blended.
Step seven – put the lid on the mason jar and wrap it well in a couple dish towels or some fleece then put it in a warm place. In my kitchen this is the microwave.
Leave it alone for 8-12 hours. The longer it sits the thicker it gets.
You can also wrap a lot of towels around it and put it in a small cooler. I think Alton Brown wraps a heating pad on really low around his. I have a yogurt maker, which is basically an insulated container that gets a bit warm when you plug it in and keeps the yogurt at a constant temp. The mason jar fits in it nicely when wrapped in one towel, but I couldn’t find it in a timely manner this time.
(Step 5c – find yogurt maker)
Step eight – 8 to 12 hours later remove yogurt from warm place, unwrap and stick in the fridge for 2-3 hours to cool (you can drain the whey from the top of the yogurt before putting it in the fridge if you like. I do because I need thick yogurt this time)
Step nine – remove yogurt from fridge and look at it
Open the jar and take out a spoonful
Hey! You made yogurt!!
This yogurt at this thick yet loose consistency is good for smoothies, or eating by the bowl with granola and fruit, or for marinating chicken with Indian spices.
But I have other plans for this yogurt.
It has a different destiny.
It is going to be used in spreads and dips, which require it to be thicker,
Step ten – line a strainer with paper towels and set it over a bowl
Pour the yogurt into the strainer & stick it back in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
This is what happens
The yogurt has lost half it’s volume & is now much thicker
Put it in a pint sized mason jar until needed
About half of this is going to become tszatziki – blending it with grated cucumber and garlic. The rest will appear as a replacement for mayo in chicken salad and mixed into roasted eggplant & garlic for a savory dip and mixed into chocolate peanut butter for a sweet dip (great on apples, strawberries and graham crackers)
So despite missing a major ingredient and doing things out of order I still managed to make yogurt. That is how easy making yogurt really is
1 quart milk, any kind will do but if using 1% or fat free you might want to add a couple tablespoons of cream or the dry milk
2 tablespoons of good plain yogurt with live cultures
1/4 c dry milk, as I have found out, this is nice but not necessary
1.5 tablespoons honey or other sweetener – if you want sweetish yogurt.
Pour the milk into a quart glass mason jar or other non metal container & microwave it on high in 2 minute intervals stirring each time until it reaches 180-185 degrees F. This takes about 6-7 minutes. You can also heat the milk on the stovetop directly in a pan or put the glass jar in a pan of water & heat that on the stove top. Both take longer.
Whisk in the sweetener if using it then set the milk aside to cool to 110-115 degrees F.
Whisk in the yogurt and the dry milk (if using) and mix well.
Wrap in warm towels and put in a warmish place (a small cooler packed with towels works really well for this I am told by friends but I don’t own one) for 8-12 hours. The longer you wait the thicker it gets. If this is your first time making it, check it at 9 hours. If it is not thick enough you can put it back in the warmth for a couple more, but don’t go longer than 12 hours.
Remove from warmish place and put in the fridge for 2-3 hours.
Share and enjoy!
If it seems really thin there are a few things to try in your next batch – use slightly less yogurt, find a warmer place and/or use fattier milk