I finally did it! After two months I managed to get myself organized enough to make yogurt. My biggest excuse for waiting this long was the ongoing debate inside my head over whether to buy a yogurt maker. So many websites and books claim that you can make yogurt without one. I was skeptical. How do you maintain a steady temperature of 110 degree F to incubating the yogurt with no yogurt maker? Answer: a digital thermometer!
Alright, so how did I make the yogurt?
Step 1: Read a book or two or websites or blog on yogurt making
I also used the book The Home Creamery by Kathy Farrell-Kingsley to get me started.
Step 2: Assemble equipment
a large heavy bottom pot
a wooden spoon
sterilized glass jars and lids (place them in boiling water for 15 minutes)
a picnic cooler
a few old towels
a digital thermometer
a few glass jars filled with hot (52 degrees C) water
Step 3: Assemble ingredients
4 cups of milk (whole milk works best)
yogurt starter: 1/4 cup plain yogurt or freeze dried yogurt starter (I used freeze dried starter from our health food store)
Step 4: Make yogurt
1. Heat milk to 85 degrees C (185 F) in large heavy bottom pot.
2. Remove from heat and let cool to 40-46 degrees C (105-115 F). You can cool milk more quickly over an ice bath to prevent unwanted bacteria from growing in milk.
3. Pour some milk into a small bowl and add yogurt starter. Mix well and then add back into pot of milk.
4. Pour milk into sterilized jars and cover with sterilized lids.
Step 5: Incubate in cooler
1. Line cooler with an old towel.
2. Place three large jars on bottom and fill with hot (52 degree C) water.
3. Place yogurt jars on bottom.
4. Put the probe end of the digital thermometer near yogurt jars.
5. Cover with an old towel and close lid. Monitor temperature and adjust accordingly (I never had to).
6. Incubate yogurt for 4-6 hours, depending on how firm and tart you like your yogurt.
Step 6: Refrigerate yogurt
The yogurt will keep in fridge for 2-3 weeks.
Step 7: Eat yogurt!