ledbetter spindles.. they're here!
little bits of summertime

making yogurt

First, thank you for all your well wishes for my Mom's recovery.  She's doing well.  Better than she thinks she is, or at least I hope so.

Lisa wrote me:

I have toyed with the idea of making my own yogurt for awhile now and thought that you had to have a machine. Seeing you just cooked it on the stove intrigues me. Do you have a recipe? Would you mind passing it along?

A few people have written to ask how I make my yogurt.  Rather than
answer everyone individually, I thought I'd post it.

About yogurt..

I've made my own yogurt for as long as I can remember.  Back when I was in college, I had one of those little yogurt makers, the kind with 5 or 6 little jars that sat in a heated base.  It was good for low consumption.  But, that's not me.  I eat a lot of yogurt so I quickly moved on to bigger and better things.  If you have a stove, or a hot plate and a pan with a lid, you have all the equipment you need.  Don't buy anything. 

This recipe is for 1/2 gallon.

  1. Pour 1/2 gallon of milk ( I prefer whole milk but any will do) into saucepan.  Add 1/2 cup powdered milk, stirring to dissolve it.  The powdered milk isn't absolutely necessary but I find that the yogurt is creamier if I add it.  Heat until milk begins to froth.  Make sure that you stir your milk to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.  I use a wire whisk and a great little heavy bottomed stainless steel pan.  When the milk is hot remove from heat.
  2. Now to cool down the milk.  The fastest way I've found is to use a water bath.  Place the pan of hot milk into a silk filled with about 4" of cold water.  Stir it or not.
  3. You don't need a thermometer to tell you when it is the right temperature.  Here's the trick.  The milk will be the right temperature when you can submerge your finger all the way down to the bottom and hold it there for 20 seconds.. a thousand one, a thousand two...   If it is too hot for your finger, it is too hot to make yogurt.  Don't let it get too cool.  Just to the point where you can hold your finger for the count of 20. 
  4. The starter is yogurt from the last batch.  If you are just beginning, I'd suggest you buy a container of a good, preferrably organic whole milk yogurt.  I like Stonyfield.  Their yogurt has a good combination of   yogurt bacteria.  Whisk about 1/2 cup (not more) into the warm milk.
  5. Put the lid onto the pan and wrap it in a blanket.  I use a bath towel.  Place it in a warm spot if you have one.  Just keep it wrapped up and don't slosh it about too much.  Give it 3-4 hours.  Less time gives a sweeter, thinner yogurt, more time a stronger, thicker one. 

That's it.  Easy peasy.


That sounds almost too simple!

Thanks for that, Judy. That does sound easy. I'm on it.

We used to have one of those old yogurt makers with the heated base!

Thanks for posting your method, I'd like to give it a try. If I screw it up, the chickens will enjoy it ;-)

When I lived on the farm in Denmark, my host mother often made "thick milk" for breakfast. Eight liters of raw milk warm from the evening milking of their 60 cows. Add about a cup of yogurt, whisk through, pour into 10 shallow bowls (6 sons, father, mother, hired hand and me)cover with clean muslin and leave out on the counter overnight. The next morning, grind up all of the previous day's stale rye bread and sprinkle the rye crumbs and raw sugar over the thick milk. Serve with strong coffee and sliced ryebread. Surprisingly satisfying.

Pity I can't eat yoghurt but DH can and I might try making some if I can get over the smell of hot milk! :-)

Ah, elder care issues. Got that going on here too. Good luck to both of us!

Ymmm, thanks for sharing your recipe! I made yogurt years ago but after heating the milk would pour it into an ancient half-gallon, glass thermos (not narrow but wide and squat with an opening to match -no bottle-neck)to cure. Sadly the thermos eventually broke and I couldn't find another one with the wide top and stopped making it. Yes! 100% whole milk and powdered milk for the goodness of it. Topped on granola, or pancakes, or...

What is the best yogurt starter to use when making yogurt?
I would like to buy a starter culture to make my own yogurt (in a little yogurt making machine). Which is the best starter to use? I am looking for one that contains as many healthy bacteria as possible and that also tastes great. Any recommendations? Also, where would I be able to purchase the whatever you recommend? Thanks!

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