Homemade Yogurt – Do it the Easy Way

Posts about making yogurt at home abound on the internet.  In homesteading circles, it is always a topic of conversation.  So, the fact that I am making yogurt at home is not a novel or particularly exciting idea.  However, my main impetus for writing this post is to give a shout out to the yogurt maker.  That is the machine that keeps the milk at a constant temperature so that it can be turned into yogurt.  The one I have is the Donvier brand and I love it.

You see, it seems that people do all manner of things to keep the milk at a constant 110 degrees – wrapping jars in blankets, putting the jars in the oven, placing the jars in windows, etc.  I’ve read all types of advice.  However, allow me to assure you, the yogurt maker takes ALL of the guesswork and hassle out of it and better yet, this is one time when taking the easy way out really doesn’t have any bad side effects.  So, if you are going to make yogurt at home, buy the machine.  You’ll be glad you did.

So, the next question is why?  Why go to the trouble?  Well, for me, the main reason was to be able to eat yogurt with no additives, particularly sugar.  I heard an interview on NPR by the author of  Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease and he discussed how healthy foods, like yogurt, have been destroyed by the food industry through the addition of sugar.  After listening to the interview, I looked at the ingredients on my yogurt label and sure enough, sugar was there.

All that being said, here is my quick how-to on making your own yogurt.

1.  Buy your milk and yogurt starter.  Two tips here – 1.  Use whole milk, otherwise, your yogurt will come out pretty thin. I know it has more fat but it is well worth it.  2.  Buy yogurt starter rather than using store-bought yogurt to “start” it.  Again, it is a consistency issue.

2.  Heat the milk.  You want to heat it until it starts to steam and bubbles begin to form around the edges – this is about 185 degrees.
3.  Then let the milk cool to 110 degrees.  Mix a packet of starter with a small amount of milk and then pour it all into the pot of cooled milk.  Then divide it up between the jars that came with your yogurt maker.
4.  Turn that baby on and let it do the work for you.  I actually leave it in the yogurt maker for 13 hours.  That is a lot longer than most people say to let it cook but I really don’t like thin yogurt.  I’ve found that 13 hours gives me the perfect consistency.
I really do like yogurt, especially with granola.  Luckily for me, there is a lot of yogurt-love out there on the internet.  Here are some links to posts I’ve read recently on the topic.  They are pretty good, check them out if you are a yogurt eater.
Lisa @ The Self Sufficient Home Acre talks about making raw yogurt.
Christine @ These Light Footsteps give directions for making crockpot yogurt.