One of my first eureka food moments was stumbling upon a recipe for yogurt in a culinary textbook the week before culinary school started. The simple two-ingredient recipe changed my approach to food. I thought, “of course!” when I read it. Of course, I can make my own yogurt. All I need is milk and yogurt. It couldn’t be any more basic
- digital thermometer
- sterilized jar with lid
- heating pad (optional)
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt, store bought or reserved from previous batch
- Heat milk in a heavy-bottomed saucepot over medium heat until scalding (just before first boil),and the temperature on a digital thermometer shows 185°F (85°C).
- Remove from heat and let cool until just warm to the touch and temperature reads 110°F (43°C), about 10–15 minutes.
- Once cooled, whisk in yogurt, cover with a lid and place in a warm spot (the inside of an oven with the light left on, on top of a heating pad, or even wrapped in tea towels) for several hours or overnight. The residual heat from the pot helps with the incubation time. Note: fluctuations in kitchen temperatures can influence fermentation time.
- Once thickened, stir and store in a clean glass jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, making sure to reserve 1⁄4 cup (60 mL) of this homemade yogurt for the next batch. Making yogurt at home, you will notice that it may not be as thick as store bought and also milder in flavour at first. The flavour will develop with each batch you make.
- When buying store-bought yogurt for your first batch, choose a plain yogurt with many types of bacterial cultures listed in its ingredients. The more variety of cultures the better.
- Yes, you can make yogurt using low-fat milk. However, the more fat, the thicker and creamier the yogurt.
- I have accidentally forgotten that I have milk cooling, and yes, added the yogurt to the milk after it has fallen below 100°F (40°C). Oops. All this may do is prolong the incubation time.
- Want Greek yogurt? Drain yogurt in a cheesecloth- lined strainer fit over a bowl overnight in your fridge. This strains off its liquid whey.
Photograph by Reena Newman