As prices continue to rise in the grocery store every week and my love for yogurt I started searching the internet for an easy recipe that should be able to be made by everyone with no special equipment and no special ingredients.
I came across a post by Kristen from “The Frugal Girl.com” blog from October 8,2009 with what seemed to be the easiest homemade yogurt recipe which did not take as too long to complete. She did say that you could use raw milk if you have that to make your yogurt, but I only have access to regular whole milk from the grocery store. She also noted that the lower fat milk products would not be as successful for making yogurt.
So let’s get started.
You will need the following items and ingredients:
- Large heavy bottom stock pot that large enough to hold the gallon of milk.
- Cooking Thermometer
- 4 – quart size canning jars with lids and rings all sterilized.
- 1 gallon whole milk
- 1 cup of plain yogurt for starter, Dannon or Yoplait in the 6 oz. cup size be sure to check the date for the freshest you can find or 1 cup of your own homemade yogurt if you are making this recipe with your own yogurt starter. My store did not have the small cups of Yoplait or Dannon and I tried to use a greek yogurt that was plain flavored, it did not work as the yogurt would not set up, I am guessing that too much of the whey was drained from the yogurt and I had to throw out the entire batch and start over, so I have saved you a disaster there!
- Insulated cooler with lid large enough to hold the 4 jars.
Sterilize the jars,lids and rings in your dishwasher and keep them warm or if you are like me and do not have a dishwasher place the jars,lids and rings in a large pot. Fill with an inch of water; cover with lid and heat to boiling. Boil for ten minutes. Leave the lid on the pot and move the pot off of the heat until you are ready for the jars.
Pour the one gallon of milk into a large, heavy bottomed stock pot or Dutch oven as the heavy bottomed pot is less likely to scorch the milk. Heat the milk to 185-190 degrees Farenheit (90 Celsius). Heating the milk to that temperature at slow and steady rate, stirring every few minutes to keep milk from scorching, it took about 30 minutes on my gas stove.
Once the milk comes to temperature, turn off heat and then fill your sink with cold water about 3 to 4 inches deep and then place the pot into the sink and let the milk cool to 120 degrees Farenheit (50-55 Celsius).
While the milk is cooling in the sink heat a pot of water with at least a gallon of water to 120 degrees , so you will be ready to use this in just a bit.
Once the milk cools to 120 degrees Farenheit (50-55 Celsius) stir in one cup of yogurt starter if using your own or empty the entire 6 ounce cup of Yoplait or Dannon plain yogurt into the cooled milk and using a whisk stir well to ensure that the starter is thoroughly incorporated into the milk.
I ladled the milk mixture into my large glass quart size measuring cup to make it easier to pour the milk into the sterilized jars, skim off most of the foamy bubbles from milk and put on the lids and rings as you fill each jar and place jars into the cooler.
Now pour 1 gallon (4 quarts) of the heated water that was heated up while the milk was cooling, be sure it is still at 120 degrees Farenheit (50-55 Celsius). Again I used my large 1 quart glass measuring cup and filled the cooler 1 quart at a time to pour the heated water into the cooler so that I would not pour water everywhere, what can I say I am not a good aim with that much heated water. Place the lid on the cooler and place in draft free location for three hours, do not open the cooler or move the cooler around during that 3 hours , yogurt does not like movement. I set a timer so I would not forget about the yogurt. You see only 3 jars in my cooler as it was too small , so the extra jar I placed in my crock pot filled with heated water to shoulder area of jar, covered with lid and covered the entire crock pot with a towel to keep insulated for the 3 hours.
After the 3 hours, remove jars from cooler and place in the refrigerator until fully chilled and the yogurt will firm up. I did this in the evening and placed the yogurt in refrigerator overnight so yogurt would be nice and cold next morning.
To make a delicious vanilla version of this yogurt, which is what I did , you add 1/2 to 1 cup of sugar to the heated milk while it is cooling not after it gets down to 120 degrees Farenheit or sugar will not dissolve. Once the milk has cooled and you add the yogurt starter stir in 1-2 tablespoons of vanilla, depending on your preference, and proceed as usual with the recipe. I used 1/2 tablespoon so as not to overpower the yogurt as I use homemade vanilla instead of the store-bought.
Verdict: The yogurt with the Dannon yogurt used as a starter worked perfectly and I will try to remember to save 1 cup of the homemade yogurt before I eat it all up to make my next batch. This recipe will make 4 quarts of yogurt, which will last at least 1 month in the refrigerator .
To make Greek Style Yogurt empty one of your quart jars of the chilled yogurt into a mesh strained double lined with cheese cloth that you can buy in craft section of Walmart in large packages and cut what you need. After you have yogurt in strainer,place strainer over a bowl large enough to catch the whey that will immediately start draining out of the yogurt. I placed the bowl in the refrigerator and drained the yogurt for about 2 hours emptying the bowl before the whey touches the bottom of strainer so yogurt does not re-absorb the whey. Pour the whey that is being drained off into a bowl or a clean quart size jar for later use do not throw away. Strain yogurt to the desired consistency you like. I drained the yogurt until it was nice and thick but spoonable so I had a pint of “greek yogurt” from the quart of yogurt and a pint of whey .
The cost of this recipe for making 1 gallon of yogurt was $4.79 . The cost of the individual 6 ounce cups of yogurt in the store were $1.00 each as they were on sale, and it takes 21.34 of the 6 ounce cups to make a gallon, the total sale price cost is $21.34 for the individual cups which I think is a pretty good savings for about 30 minutes of stove time and 3 hours sitting time before going into the refrigerator especially if you eat a lot of yogurt! Now I am going to enjoy my homemade yogurt the way I like best! Parfait anyone?