|If you’ve never made homemade yogurt before, you’re going to be astounded at how easy it is……really. It’s super easy. You might have tried the recipe I have on here for Crock Pot Yogurt from Heartland Renaissance. I thought it was pretty awesome……until I made this. Now I won’t look back. The thickness and creaminess of this recipe is GREAT! The crock pot is nice if you need to make yogurt and you won’t be able to stick around, but this has become my method of choice. It’s a lot thicker than the version in the crock pot. I looked around at several recipes and finally settled on this one, also from Heartland Renaissance. It’s very easy and makes some really great yogurt. I’m still astonished that I’m making yogurt.Me. I’m making yogurt. At home. Boo yah (do people still say that?).|
|You really need a thermometer for this. If you don’t have one, go out and buy one. You won’t be sorry. I use mine all the time for testing meat in the crock pot and for testing meat in general. Red meat gives me the freak out. These thermometers keep Stacy from freaking out in the kitchen. Buy one. Thank you. I used my regular meat thermometer for this, but a candy thermometer would work just as well.|
|You can make however much you want. I think that making it ½ gallon at a time seems to work best for us and it insures that it gets eaten before things start to turn green. Funny how food in my fridge turns green but all my plants turn black and die. Maybe I should put them in the fridge too. Add ½ gallon milk to a big pot and turn your heat to medium-low.|
|Turn your oven to 200 degrees and put two quart-sized jars in there. See that I have three? That’s because I lack the ability to do math. That’s why I married Barry, the math whiz. Heartland Renaissance suggests that you put a stone in the oven to help with keeping the temperature higher later. I’ve been doing that and it work great. A piece of stoneware works great – I use my pizza pan from Pampered Chef. We’re doing this to sterilize the jars. Thirty minutes in the 200 degree oven will accomplish the task.|
|You’re going to need a starter with active live cultures. I’m using part of my last batch of Crock Pot Yogurt but you could just as easily use yogurt from the store – just make sure it says active live cultures. You need ¼ cup……but I’ve used ½ cup too. It turns out great with ¼ cup, but sometimes I just plunk some in there and don’t measure. Don’t call the measuring police. Let your starter sit out to warm to room temperature while you fiddle with the milk.|
|Heat your milk slowly (do not boil) until it gets to 180 degrees. It will take about 30 minutes. Oh and the bottom of the pot might get milk brown stuff cooked on it. No worries…..it scrapes off when you wash it.|
|When you get your temp to 180 degrees, turn the stove eye off and let the pot sit there. She says not to remove it from the eye and let it sit 30 minutes. Apparently my eye stays hotter than a regular stove and if I don’t remove my pot, 30 minutes turns into 1 ½ hours. So, I slide mine over to another eye to let it cool. I’m a rebel like that. Also, now is the time when you turn off the oven.|
|You want to let the milk cool until it’s about 110. For me, that takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour. The recipe states 30 minutes…..maybe in the winter time, but not in hot August.|
|There’s going to be this film that is on top. Don’t wig out…..it’s just milk stuff. Go ahead and skim that off. It’s actually pretty cool. But then again, I like peeling stuff off.|
|Remove 1-2 cups of the warm milk and stir them into your yogurt culture. Make sure you get it totally combined and leave no lumps. A whisk works great. I love whisks.|
|Return the yogurt-milk mixture back to the warm milk and whisk until combined. Don’t scrape the bottom of the pan or you might get brown stuff that cooked on all in your yogurt. Or so I hear from OTHER PEOPLE.|
|Pull your warm jars out of the oven and fill them with the warm milk. Use an oven mitt because even though the oven is off, those things are still stinking hot and can burn……not that I’d do that or anything.|
|Now, here’s the cool part. You need to wrap your jars with a big towel….or diaper. Heartland Renaissance says to use a new diaper. I just pulled out some cloth diapers and wrapped them up. It worked like a charm…..and plus, it made me giggle.|
|Return the jars back to the warm oven and close the door. Leave it to culture for 6-8 hours. I have only been doing it for 6 hours with great results, but the recipe states that you can leave them up to 24 hours with no ill effects.|
|See how nice and thick?! I love it! I make sure that mine gets at least 8 hours in the fridge to thoroughly chill and get thicker. Make sure to save a bit of the yogurt back to act as the culture for your next batch.|
|I used some of this to make a PB Smoothiefor a snack (used yogurt in place of kefir). Yum! You might have noticed I didn’t sweeten this batch. Instead of sweetening the whole recipe, I have been sweetening our bowls as we eat them. I might add a bit of honey or a bit of maple syrup. That allows me to have plain yogurt in the fridge if I should need it for something…..and it also allows me to get the full benefit of my local, raw honey since it doesn’t get heated.See, I wasn’t lying. It really IS easy. You should try it. Don’t be scared.|
Homemade Yogurt from Heartland Renaissance
½ gallon whole milk
¼-1/2 cup yogurt with live active cultures
Pour milk into pot and turn heat to medium-low. Measure out ¼ to ½ cup of yogurt starter and let sit to warm to room temperature. Turn oven to 200 degrees. Place a baking stone on the bottom rack of the oven. Put two quart jars in the oven to sterilize (at least 30 minutes). Warm milk until it reaches 180 degrees – should take around 30 minutes. Do not boil.
When milk reaches 180 degrees, turn off the stove and let the milk cool until it reaches 110 degrees (30 minutes to 1 hour). Leave the pot on the stove. Turn off the oven, but leave the jars inside.
Discard film that gathers on top of milk.
Remove two cups of warm milk and stir into yogurt culture. Whisk until totally combined. Stir mixture back into warm milk. Whisk well.
Remove jars from oven. Pour warm milk into warm jars. Wrap jars with diapers or thick towel.
Return jars to oven to culture 6-8 hours. Cap jars and refrigerate at least 8 hours. Sweeten as desired.
THM Compliant: FP – I make my yogurt each week this way. I skim all the cream off my milk and use it to make butter. I use the rest of the milk to make yogurt using this method. When it’s done, I strain to make it Greek.