Tuesday, January 26, 2010
I made the best yogurt ever last night! I've made it before--even regularly for a while--but it has always come out more runny and liquidy store-bought yogurt. Last night, I solved the problem! I am so proud and totally convinced that I am the first and only brilliant person to think of this solution ever, so don't burst my bubble, ya'll.
So yogurt is incredibly easy to make. You start with some yogurt. Okay, that sounds stupid, but the point is, yogurt is self-replicating. Really, you could start with a bacterial culture that you order online and have shipped to you, but might as well just use a scoop of your plain yogurt--with LIVE cultures (read the label)--from the store. So get some of that.
While you're there, get some milk. Anything from skim to whole is fine (even cream will work). Pasteurized and raw milk both work, but ultra-pasteurized will not work (and you probably shouldn't be drinking that tasteless, nutritionless crap anyway).
Next find yourself a clean quart-sized container. I use a Mason jar. Pour a quart of milk in a double boiler and heat to about 180 degrees. If you have a kitchen thermometer, bully for you. I do not, so I just estimate--takes about 20 minutes, not quite boiling, but too hot to touch. You actually have to touch it to find out that it's too hot to touch. It's not rocket science. Or baking.
When you think your milk is hot enough, remove it from the heat and let it cool to about 110 degrees--comfortable to touch, but hotter than body temperature for the thermometerless among us.
To the cooled-down milk, add about a tablespoon of yogurt and stir.
Pour the mixture into your quart-sized container, cap it, and keep it warm for 8-12 hours, then refrigerate. Keeping it warm is the hardest part, but last night I discovered I could fill my slow-cooker with water and keep the jar in there overnight, set on "keep warm." This is how I got my yogurt to be so thick!
The slow-cooker is by far the best method I've tried, and I highly recommend it. If you don't have a slow-cooker and can't borrow one, you could put the jar in a cooler filled with hot water, but you'd have to keep adding water to keep it warm. Or you could wrap the jar in a towel and keep it on the stovetop if you have pilot light to keep it warm.
You can keep making new yogurt by taking a scoop from your old batch each time!