raw or pasteurized – full fat or fat free
Homemade yogurt is made in three easy steps using milk, or milk and cream, with a small amount of cultured yogurt.
While trying multiple types of milk – raw, pasteurized, with cream, 3% fat and non-fat, I didn’t notice any difference in reaction; they all took the same time and temperature to set. While trying different yogurts and yogurt starters I had more success with cultured yogurt than any of the dried starters. Nancy’s Cultured Yogurt provided excellent results every time, especially the Organic Probiotic Greek Yogurt. After the first batch is done, it’s ok to use that as a starter for the next one.
Keeping the yogurt warm for several hours is the tricky part. Without a yogurt maker, I like to use a dehydrator. It’s easy to set and keeps a consistent temperature. Other ways include keeping the jars in a warm water bath or wrapping the jars in hot towels and leaving them in a warm place, such as the oven with the light on.
With milk: for every 2 cups of milk, add 2 tablespoons cultured plain yogurt
1With milk and cream: for every 1½ cups of milk, add ½ cup cream and 2 tablespoons cultured plain yogurt
Heat milk, or milk and cream, to 180F and keep it at that temperature for 15-20 minutes. I highly recommend using a digital thermometer with a sounding alarm when desired cooking time or temperature is reached, like this one.
Remove the milk from the heat and bring down the temperature to 115F.
Mix in yogurt, transfer to mason jars, and keep temperature at 115F for 5-7 hours until set. It should have the consistency of custard and leave the sides of the jar when tilted. Refrigerate.
For thick yogurt, strain some of the whey out by draining it in a colander lined with cheesecloth set over a bowl for a few hours until desired consistency. For extra thick yogurt, leave it to drain in the refrigerator over night. It it turns too thick, just stir some of the drained whey back in. After it’s drained, whisk with an electric mixer for a fluffy and smooth texture.
Jars from Le Parfait.
Photography by Philip Blankenship.