Most of us don’t think twice about buying yogurt. It is just one of those staples that we pick up regularly in the dairy aisle.
But if we knew just how easy yogurt was to make we could skip the yogurt aisle in the store and head straight home to start a batch of yummy, nutritious homemade yogurt.
So here's our basic foundational recipe for homemade yogurt that will get you started off right. If you haven't yet, go check out our yogurt making basics article before embarking on this recipe.
This is a general yogurt recipe. If you are using a starter culture, make sure to follow the recipe closely and prepare the milk for your yogurt using the recommended temperatures on the instructions.
Sanitize your equipment and vessel – submerge your tools and containers in boiling water for 10 minutes to sanitize them. If using an incubator, clean the incubator per the manufacturers instructions before each use.
In a saucepan with a lid, stir the milk heating it to just below boiling – 180° F-185° F. It’s important to keep the milk moving by stirring it so that it doesn’t burn on the bottom – be sure that it doesn’t boil over. This process prepares the proteins in the milk responsible for thickening the yogurt.
Let the milk cool off to 112°F-115 °F. For best results this should be done as fast as possible. You can submerge your cooking vessel in an ice bath, whisk continuously or run your incubator under cool water to speed up the process.
This is where Mountain Feed’s starter cultures come into play. Whisk your direct set starter culture in with the warm milk.
If you are using store-bought yogurt as your starter (or yogurt from a previous batch), whisk the 1/2-cup of yogurt into the cooled milk.
If you are transferring your yogurt to another container for incubation, pre-warm that container by pouring warm water into it. Remove the water and carefully transfer your milk/starter mixture to that vessel. Close the lid tightly. Now it’s time to let the milk turn into yogurt!
Be patient as this part of the process takes approximately six to twelve hours.
The hard part about this step is that the yogurt should be kept at a temperature of approximately 110°F. A yogurt incubator is great for this step, but not totally necessary. If you don’t have an incubator, simply heat your oven to about 115° and then turn it off. Wrap your jar in towels and place it in the pre-heated oven and set the timer.
TIP: Any insulated cooler will keep your yogurt at the right temperature for incubation. Just make sure you keep it sealed the entire time. No peeking!
At the six-hour mark, check the yogurt.
The consistency should be creamy and the flavor tart and milky. The longer you let it incubate, the thicker and tangier it will become. The length of time you incubate the milk will also depend on the way you started it. Consult your starter instructions for incubation times.
If using a store bought yogurt as a starter, overnight (10-12) hours is a good place to start. As you experiment with different cultures you will become familiar with how long it takes for the yogurt to set to a consistency you like.
TIP: Prepare and mix your yogurt in the evening and let it inoculate overnight. This way your yogurt is working while you sleep and you can put it in the fridge to chill first thing in the morning.
We recommend cooling the yogurt in the same container you incubated it in for a smoother consistency. Once cooled, transfer the yogurt into whatever storage containers you desire and refrigerate. Yogurt is best after at least 2 hours of refrigeration.
Don’t worry if there’s a watery film on top – that’s normal. You can pour or strain it off or stir it into the yogurt. Write the date on your yogurt containers as a reminder of when you made it. Fresh yogurt should last approximately 14 days in the fridge.
If you plan on using a bit of yogurt from this batch to inoculate your next, put some aside for that purpose so it doesn’t get contaminated. Fresh, homemade yogurt is a treat that you can eat every day. Once you have successfully made a batch yourself, you’ll never go back to store bought again!
It’s part of our mission here at Mountain Feed to help you make delicious, sustainable, homemade food more often. Stop by and say hello on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. Or, as always, you can do it the old fashioned way and come by the store to speak with one of our in-house experts.
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