A few days ago, we wrote about evening snacks and we mentioned yogurt as well. Actually I'm quite a big fan of yogurt because it fits so good in my fitness diets (see here). High protein and low fat! I eat it a lot and not only as evening snack ;)
But there is a lot of myths about homemade yogurt. During the 70's there was a lot of yogurt making going on and there were special incubators you could buy to make your own homemade yogurt. You can still buy an incubator but you should know that you do not really need one.
Yogurt maker machine
It may come to you as a surprise, but you don't really need a yogurt machine to make yogurt! We'll explain how you can make homemade yogurt with your normal kitchen tools but that will involve a bit more planning and fiddling around in the kitchen. A yogurt maker (more info from recommended brands like Euro Cuisine, Salton and Dash greek yogurt maker) will take all the timing, mixing, heating and cooling from you and you can eat fresh homemade yogurt every morning! If you want to buy a yogurt machine, make sure you do some comparison and get the best quality. What the best one for you is, depends on how often you'd like to have fresh yogurt, how many people would like to have a bowl of yogurt etc etc. You understand if you have to make bulk yogurt quantities you need another machine then just for one bowl.
But like I wrote above, you can use store bought yogurt to make your own yogurt. As long as you have a live yogurt culture you can make yogurt. It is actually not even too difficult.
What You Absolutely Need
You need a thermometer. You need a 3 quart pot with a lid. You need a half a gallon of milk. You need ½ cup of yogurt with live culture. You can opt instead to purchase live yogurt culture (yogurt starter) from a health food store.
Some variations to the recipe for homemade yogurt include using live powder culture, adding powdered milk and/or gelatin to firm things up. Using a cheesecloth (what's that?) to squeeze the whey out of the yogurt to get a more Greek type yogurt but the basic is very simple.
Heat the milk. You want the milk to heat up to a temperature of about 200 degrees. Do not leave the milk on the stove alone you will have to watch to make sure that it does not boil or scorch. Once it reaches 200 degrees set it aside to cool.
Once the milk has reached about 112 degrees take a cup of the milk and mix it with the ½ cup of yogurt until it is blended well. Stir in the yogurt milk mixture back into the pot. Make sure it is all mixed together nicel.
Put the lid on the pot. Wrap the pot in towels and stick in all in the oven. Do not turn the oven on. In about 4 hours you will have yogurt. Start checking it at 4 hours for a full set, it can stay in the oven as long as over night without any concerns.
If there is whey left on top of the yogurt you can either mix it back in before putting it in the refrigerator or you can strain it off. Put yogurt in containers and refrigerate.
Start out simple and make plain yogurt the first few times. Each time you make a batch be sure to reserve ½ cup because that will be your starter culture for the next batch. If your yogurt starts to taste a bit too tangy or has a funny taste than you know it is time to switch up your culture. Try to make Greek yogurt (recipe). It's just a few extra steps after this basic yogurt making.
Why Homemade Yogurt?
It is easy to make, it saves you money and cuts down on packaging waste. It is also a lot tastier than what you find in the supermarkets. Of course if you use live cultures from the health food store and purchase organic milk for the recipe than homemade yogurt is a healthier option that has no preservatives in it. Really the question is why not make homemade yogurt! Enjoy the healthy yogurt!