Homemade Yogurt

I’ve finally found a recipe and method for homemade yogurt that the whole family likes.

This yogurt is creamy and thick and delicious.

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Ingredients:

1/2 gallon of milk (whole, 1%, 2%, or non-fat, they really do all work, I’ve tested it)

6 oz of store-bought vanilla or plain yogurt (Greek style is fine), room temperature

honey or agave, to taste

vanilla extract, to taste

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Method:

On the stove (or in the microwave), heat milk to between 180 and 185, stirring gently every so often.

Let milk cool to between 105 and 115 degrees.  Gently whisk in store-bought yogurt.

Pour milky mixture into two quart-size clean mason jars.  Any leftovers can go into a smaller plastic or glass container.  Place lids on the containers and set all of them into a small camping cooler.  Fill the cooler with hot tap water and shut the lid.

I’ve found that my yogurt sets in 4 to 6 hours.  When it’s done, remove the yogurt from the cooler and dump the contents of all the jars into a strainer lined with a layer of muslin (non-dyed cotton fabric).  Cheesecloth or a super fancy fine-mesh strainer would also work.  Set the strainer over a larger bowl and set in the fridge to drain the whey.

Leave it alone for about 45 minutes to an hour.  Scoop the yogurt into a large bowl and whisk it vigorously to smooth it out.  Sweeten it to taste with vanilla and honey and whisk it some more.  Transfer yogurt to desired containers and refrigerate until ready to use.  The yogurt will thicken up even more as it refrigerates.

The nice thing about straining the yogurt is that it doesn’t separate when you leave it in the fridge and you can stir it to your hearts content.  It also makes it easy to serve and has a more appealing texture (in my opinion) and one that my kids recognize as yogurt.  I also really like sweetening it at the end because I can adjust it as much as I like.

We love to eat our yogurt with some fresh strawberry jam and homemade granola.  Super yummy!

 If you want, you can strain your yogurt even longer and make a cream-cheese like product that can be mixed with jam or something savory.  It’s a nice way to use up any yogurt that is still laying around at the end of the week, which hasn’t been an issue with us so far.

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