This article will provide you with a simple way to save money-making your own yogurt.
Yogurt is nothing but milk that has been fermented (ripened) under controlled conditions with the proper type of bacteria. To do this, we first need to kill off any bad bacteria that may be present in the milk. This process is called pasteurization.
There is currently a debate in the United States over whether pasteurization does more harm than good. This article is not here to make a statement either way. Please do your own research on this subject.
For safety sake, the milk that you use to make yogurt should be pasteurized. If you are using raw milk (milk straight from the cow), you will need to pasteurize the milk yourself. This is done by bringing the milk up to 145 degrees Fahrenheit and holding it at that temperature for 30 minutes. Alternately, you can bring it up to 165 degrees Fahrenheit and leave it there for 15 seconds. This will pasteurize the milk. If you want to go to the extreme in the pasteurization process, you can bring the milk up to 280 degrees Fahrenheit and keep it there for 2 seconds. This is ultra pasteurization. However, you cannot do this at home because water (milk) boils at 212 degrees. You need to place the milk in a pressure chamber to bring it to 280 degrees.
If you are starting with store-bought milk, chances are that it has already been ultra pasteurized for you. Look for UHT pasteurization on the label. This tells you it has been ultra pasteurized. If this is the case, then you are ready to follow my simple recipe for making yogurt.
What you will need:
- 1/2 gallon of milk.
- 2 tablespoons of yogurt culture (Any off-the-shelf yogurt with live active culture in it will work).
- 2 tablespoons of honey.
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (not necessary, but I love the flavor this adds to the yogurt).
- A two-quart saucepan.
- A picnic cooler.
- A heating pad or electric blanket.
- Clean containers to put your finished yogurt into.
- A clean ladle.
Bring your milk up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius) in the saucepan on the stove. Use low heat so you don’t scald the milk on the bottom. Stir constantly while it is coming up to temperature. While it is coming up to temperature, add your yogurt culture, honey, and vanilla extract. When the milk is up to temperature, place a lid on the pan and remove it from the heat.
Place your heating pad or electric blanket in the bottom of the cooler. You want to maintain that 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius) temperature in the cooler for 7 to 10 hours. Adjust your heat source as necessary. Place the pan on the electric heat source and close the lid to the cooler.
Check your yogurt after the allotted amount of time. If it is the thickness you want for your yogurt, then it is done. If not, let it sit a little longer.
Remove the pan from the cooler when it is the proper thickness. Use a ladle to scoop the yogurt into some clean containers. You can now let them cool on the counter for an hour and then transfer them to the refrigerator.
That’s it! You have made your own yogurt! Let them cool and serve with the flavored jam of your choosing!