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How to Make Yogurt

Not my favorite flavor of powdered milk, but still makes good yogurt!
One of the many food items I have plenty of is powdered milk.  My husband LOVES milk and since he bought the biggest food storage ever before we got married I have been trying a variety of ways to use it.  One of my favorites is home made yogurt.  I love that I know what's in it and that I can make it myself.  It isn't the fastest procedure, but luckily it involves very little hands-on time.

You want to try it?  Let me first explain that I learned everything I know about making yogurt from reading one of my all time favorite blogs, kitchenstewardship.  It's not your average mommy blog - she writes a lot, and about serious things.  I always feel smarter after reading her posts.  I don't believe or practice everything she shares, but I do get great frugal and healthy ideas from her.  Check out her post all about yogurt for more information.

Here I am demonstrating how to make just two cups of yogurt.  Depending on the size of your containers you can increase it.  I usually do three jars worth myself.  First, take a large glass jar and fill it with your mixed milk, any temperature.  Throw in a tad more powdered milk for fun and because I've heard it helps thicken it.  Place your glass in a large pot of water and bring it to a boil.  Using a candy thermometer, bring it to 180 degrees.
The rag in the bottom keeps it from rattling around too much.
Once it is at temperature remove it from the heat and cool it down as quickly as possible.  Sometimes I do this in the sink; this time, since I was just doing one jar I chose to use another pot.   Cool it down to 100 degrees.  Some people put theirs in the fridge, but using my blue freezer packs it goes quickly enough without having to mess with the fridge.
The cooling process isn't a super exact thing so don't stress out about this step.
You do need a "starter."  Some people pay good money to buy fancy starters, but you can just use a couple tablespoons of regular yogurt you can buy at the store.  What I usually do is fill an ice cube tray full of yogurt when I happen to have some on hand.  Only use plain yogurt, though, and make sure the package says it has live active cultures.  The fresher it is the better, supposedly, so I usually freeze some when I first open it.  Then I always have a batch of starters on hand when I need them.  You probably need a couple tablespoons to every quart of milk you want to turn into yogurt. It is best to thaw it in advance since you want it to dissolve evenly.
My frozen starter - sitting on the stove to thaw.
Once it is dissolved evenly you need to find a warm place for your yogurt to do its thing.  I like leaving mine in the oven over night.  My oven light is powerful enough to keep it nice and warm.  You don't want it too warm that it kills the bacteria, though, so be careful.  In the past I use the method kitchenstewardship recommends, keeping it in a cooler with the pot of hot steaming water.  That's the method my sister-in-law uses and she makes yogurt every week.
Staying warm for 12 hours while the bacteria multiplies and the yogurt thickens.
When it has sat long enough to thicken up you can put it in the fridge just in same jar it sat in overnight.  I usually like to strain mine, though, to make it even thicker.  I think it has more whey (the liquid it sits in) than store bought yogurt.  I hear the whey is good to pour on acidic soil loving plants, like my blueberry I bought using a tip I got here on Tightwad in Utah.  It's also good to throw in soups or bread.  It's basically water.
Strain it using cheesecloth if you have it, otherwise a good sturdy wet paper towel works as well.
Depending on how thick you want it this can be overnight.  I like it thick.  My sister-in-law never strains hers. Once it's strained you can use it as plain yogurt or add something delicious like homemade jam to give it a fruity flavor.



Laurie said…
My favorite way to eat homemade yogurt is by partially thawing some mixed berries from Sam's Club and stirring in a little sugar with the yogurt. It's so delicious I don't care that the rest of my family won't try it- I get it all to myself!

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