You can certainly use a yogurt maker though this “recipe” is for making it without one. One word of caution if you DO use a yogurt maker, set the temperature (if you can control it), to no more than 110 degrees. Any higher will kill the bacteria you’re creating. It’s also best to let it culture for 24 hours to get maximum bacterial growth.
What You’ll Need
Milk (I’m a big advocate of whole milk for nutritional and taste reasons)
Yogurt (As the starter)*
A glass vessel
A tea cloth
Heat the milk in a pot to nearly the boiling point but not quite**. Turn it off and let it cool to about 100 degrees. (If you don’t have a thermometer, drop a bit on the inside of your wrist- it should feel slightly warm but not hot.) Pour the cooled-down milk into a glass vessel. (I use a glass 4 cup-container. Mason jars also work well). Add about a tbsp of yogurt per cup of milk. Wrap the vessel in a tea cloth. Place the vessel somewhere warm (no more than 110 degrees) and let it sit for 24 hours. (There are several options: inside the oven with only the pilot light on, on top of a radiator, next to a warm radiator pipe, near a warm window with sunlight coming in. If you’re going with the oven option, be VERY careful not to let it get too warm as this will kill the bacteria.)
After 24 hours, it should be thickish but it won’t yet be super thick. For that last thickening stage, put a lid on the jar and place it in the fridge over-night. It may never get as thick as the stuff you’re used to. That’s ok – many commercial yogurts contain thickeners and gums. Your yogurt, though a bit thinner, will have far more bacterial culture and flavor. If you want to get yours a bit thicker, strain it through a cheese cloth.
* Choose a high quality, plain unsweetened yogurt. The more probiotic strains listed in the ingredients, the better (ideally more than two). I am not a fan of Fage which contains only the two basic yogurt strains.
** If you’re using raw milk, you do not need to heat it. Simply bring it to room temperature by letting it sit out.
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