Yogurt is a hot commodity on grocery store shelves-over the past year, thick and creamy Greek-style yogurt has become a go-to healthy snack. Instead of shelling out extra money on yogurt, try making your own.
The basic yogurt making process forces proteins in milk to gel, forming structures that lend yogurt its smooth mouth-feel. In order to induce those proteins to transform into a “gel matrix,” you need two basic ingredients: milk and “culture.” Culture, which contains yogurt’s “good” bacteria, can be purchased freeze-dried. In a pinch, you can also use any supermarket yogurt that possesses “live active cultures.” Then, when you make yogurt again you can use a little bit of the old batch as your culture.
1. Heat the milk to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. During the heating stage, add any flavoring agents or sweeteners-a touch of honey brings out a nice richness. Keep the milk at this temperature for 10 minutes.
2. Cool the milk down to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Placing the pot in a ice-water bath helps.
3. Add the culture. For the culture to grow, the temperature must remain below 115 degrees. Otherwise, the bacteria die.
4. Put the young yogurt into jars.
5. Incubate. The culture needs to remain at that constant 110 degree point for around 8 hours. Special insulated containers facilitate this incubation period. Or just fill a slow cooker with 110 degree warm water and place the jars in the water.
6. Refrigerate and eat. After 8 hours, the yogurt should be thick enough to consume.