Yogurt. I am often asked “Why would you go to all the trouble of making it yourself when you can buy it everywhere?”.
First of all, my homemade yogurt is loaded with probiotics, which keeps my tummy, and by extension, me, healthy.
Secondly, control. Except for a small amount of starter, the yogurt I make in my kitchen contains… milk, and sometimes honey. No cornstarch, no corn syrup, no artificial flavours, thickeners, sweeteners or colouring. No preservatives. I rarely buy the starter culture any more, because I use my own yogurt as starter for the next batch.
Third, economy. Not only is it less expensive to make my own yogurt, I can turn this into Labneh, or Greek Yogurt which saves me a ton of coin at the supermarket! (More on this later on).
4 cups whole milk
4 Tablespoons plain active culture yogurt (such as Activia)
Honey to taste (optional)
Things you will need
2 very clean 1 pint jars with lids
a small cooler
a heavy towel (to line the cooler)
Take the active culture out of the fridge so it can come to room temp while you proceed with the rest of this.
Line the cooler with a towel. If you wish, you can also preheat your cooler by setting a mug full of hot water into it. Put the lid on and let it sit while the milk cools.
Add a splash of water to a 2 litre pot, then add your milk. (The water will help prevent the milk from scorching or sticking to the bottom of the pot.)
Heat milk over medium low heat, stirring frequently, until milk reaches 180F. Temperature is critical. Any warmer and your yogurt will be grainy.
Remove from heat and let milk cool to 115F. (Wait time will vary depending on how warm it is in your kitchen)
When milk has reached 115 F, stir in the active culture and mix well.
Pour into prepared jars, put lids on and put into the towel-lined, pre-warmed cooler.
Let stand in warm, draft free place for 6 – 12 hours. The longer you leave it, the tangier your yogurt will be.
Remove from cooler, refrigerate overnight and ta da! , your own fresh yogurt.
If you prefer a sweet yogurt, stir in a couple of tablespoons of melted honey. Great on its own, or over fresh fruit.