I have been making my own yogurt for the past few years. I had bought a yogurt maker from Williams-Sonoma as a birthday present for my husband. He talks about how he made yogurt when he was young by setting a mostly eaten container mixed with milk on the heater in his bedroom. It was something he wanted to do again and I am grossed out by that child created process so I bought the machine. It is Euro Cuisine brand, makes excellent yogurt and is priced reasonably. I can make yogurt using a package of freeze dried starter but more often I use a serving size container of plain yogurt from the grocery store.
It makes seven little six ounce glass jars of yogurt that last a week and a half.
Since buying it for the husband, I have used it more than him. I wasn’t really a fan of yogurt in the past but eating it seems to help settle my stomach if I’m not feeling well. It is also a good way to get a daily dose of dairy and fruits. I keep a bag of frozen berries in the freezer and bottle of honey to mix in the yogurt when I need a snack.
The interesting part about making yogurt is that you can change the milk type, and amount of time incubating to create different consistencies. I have had success with 2 percent milk, which is soupier, like how Europeans enjoy yogurt. I have also used hydrogenated milk which ends up thicker. Most recently I have splurged and am using whole milk from a local dairy that comes in a glass container. I just get a kick out of the old fashioned style glass. The whole milk produces the creamer texture and also doesn’t create the unwanted yellowish yogurt water. You know the liquid stuff that collects in a larger container of yogurt after you have taken a few spoonfuls and then put it back in the fridge for a few days. I’ve never had a bad batch and it seems difficult to mess up. Yogurt is created when beneficial bacteria ferment the milk to change the lactose protein to lactic acid. There is your biology lesson for the day. You’re welcome.
First you have to re-pasteurize the milk by slowing heating it up to boiling while mixing often to prevent burning. Then I lower the temperature and slowly boil for a minute until the milk start to climb the side of the pan. Next, the milk needs to be cooled to room temperate. It is much quicker to set it in the sink filled with cold water.While I am waiting, I measure out six ounces of yogurt or one single serving and put it in a small bowl. I also get a clean pitcher ready and once the milk has cooled I pour it in the pitcher. Then I add an equal amount of milk to the bowl of yogurt and mix thoroughly. This is then added back into the pitcher and mixed completely. This is important to eliminate lumps in the bottom of the batch and disperse the bacteria evenly in the milk.
After the time has passed I put on the lids, set the expiration date on the lids for ten days and then put them in the refrigerator to cool. Finally whenever I get hungry, I pull out a jar, put it in a bowl with fruit and honey, mix, and then eat it.
The Wikihow webpage has a good description on how to make yogurt without buying a special machine. I follow the same steps but have a little plastic incubator instead of using unpredictable oven settings or wasting electricity on the heater. I may try using my crock pot sometime. That sounds like a great substitute.