Art is the Handmaid of Human Good

Life in Lowell, Massachusetts, USA

I made yogurt…


Homemade Yogurt

…And you should too!  I’m a pretty firm believer in the idea that things that are handmade are better than things that are mass-produced.  There are some exceptions, I’m sure, but that’s a sweeping generalization that I support.  Homemade yogurt?  It is better than the mass-produced stuff to an almost absurd degree.  It also doesn’t take a whole lot of effort or money.  A bit of work + a bit of money = a far-superior product – that’s an equation that I love.

I first read about making yogurt (and other staples) in this Slate article.  That led me to this NYT article.  Both of those led me to Milk by Anne Mendelson.  Now, I’ll never eat store-bought again.

Homemade yogurt is completely different than the stuff you get in the store – even the super-fancy, gourmet, expensive stuff – it’s sweeter and creamier, with none of the bitter yogurt tang that the stuff in cups has – although the tang is a result of age, so the longer you keep your yogurt, the tangier it will get (ours was gone within a day).  It has been a long, long time since I ate something that was so much better than what I was used to that it changed my idea of what that thing is – truly a revelation.

Homemade Yogurt

I started with a quart of milk because I wasn’t sure if the yogurt would be all that *foolish* and brought it up to 180F. Then I let it cool to 120F and added two tablespoons of store-bought plain yogurt. You don’t need anything fancy, just make sure it has live cultures – I used Market Basket Brand. Then it went into a warm container (a Tupperware that I had tempered with boiling water), was wrapped in a kitchen towel, and put in the oven with the light on.

Homemade Yogurt

The yogurt needs to stay warm and still for about four hours while the bacteria work their magic. If it gets too cold or shaken up, it won’t work.

Homemade Yogurt

Once it’s thickened, you can strain it in a lined sieve (I used a dishtowel, cheesecloth or a pillowcase would also work as a liner). This will draw out the whey, which can be drunk or used in baking. The yogurt goes from kind of gloppy and loose…

Homemade Yogurt

To rich and creamy in a matter of hours.  (I actually strained the yogurt overnight in the fridge.)

Homemade Yogurt

Gist took the honey-topped yogurt pictured above to work for breakfast. I ate a small bowl and then put the rest of the yogurt and the whey in the fridge.

Homemade Yogurt

I am *still* kicking myself for not making more so I’m going to make half-gallon batch today.

Recipe courtesy of the New York Times

  • 1 quart of whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons of plain, unflavored yogurt containing live cultures

Pour the milk into a heavy sauce pan and heat slowly until just below boiling – 180 – 190F. Remove from heat and let cool until between 110 – 115F- this process can be sped up by placing the pan in a sinkful of cold water.

Put the starter yogurt into a bowl and add some of the warm milk to it (it’s similar to tempering eggs). Stir the milk-thinned yogurt to your pot of milk.

Gently pour your mixture into a warmed container and let it stand until it thickens, about 4-6 hours.  Strain if you wish.

Make sure to keep a few tablespoons of your homemade yogurt to use as a starter for your next batch – it will keep active for about a week.

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8 thoughts on “I made yogurt…

  1. Question: can you make it lowfat, or do you have to use whole milk?

    Mmmm, looks good!

  2. I’m definitely going to check Anne Mendelson’s “Milk” out of the library – thanks for the tip.

  3. I stopped by to pass on a Kreativ Blogger Award. Others awarded it to me with the charge to pass it onto others. Visit the link below for details. I enjoy reading your blog and seeing your photos in the 365 project.

  4. So when you use the whey in baking, what exactly do you do/substitute it for?

    I’m holding out for a yogurt maker for mother’s day…if not I will gift it to myself. (Seems like you don’t need it, as you have shown, but my oven is fussy, plus this way I can make it while I’m at work!)

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