When I discovered that it is possible to make your own yogurt at home, I was intrigued.
Yogurt can be used in so many ways – by itself, with fruit or granola, in smoothies, as a substitute for sour cream, in scones and pancakes. While on our trip to Europe last summer, I even discovered it can be added to pasta sauce for extra creaminess. Yogurt is a staple in our home, and we quickly go through tubs of store-bought varieties.
The yogurt formula is amazingly simple: heat some milk, add a few tablespoons of yogurt, leave in a warm place, refrigerate for a few hours, and voila! yogurt. No special ingredients or gadgets required! And if you reserve a few tablespoons, you can use it for the next batch. You will have an essentially endless supply of yogurt.
The quality of the yogurt is much better than anything I have had before – light and creamy, with a delicate, fresh taste. It is also significantly cheaper than store-bought – about 1/3 of the cost.
The yogurt you start with can be any store-bought variety with live and active cultures (which is stated on the container). We used Springfield Plain Low-Fat yogurt.
Speaking of cost-saving homemade staples, check out this Slate article by Jennifer Reese, which compares the quality and cost of certain homemade recipes to their store-bought counterparts.
2 tablespoons yogurt with active cultures
4 cups whole milk
Heat milk to between 180 and 190 degrees, or to the point that it is steaming and beginning to form bubbles, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and let cool to between 115 and 120 degrees. In a separate bowl, thin yogurt with some of the milk. Stir yogurt mixture into the rest of the milk. Put the milk into a 1-quart plastic container, swaddle in several towels, and keep it still and warm for about 4 hours until it sets. After the yogurt sets, store in the refrigerator. Honey, sugar or other sweeteners can be added for flavor. Makes one quart of yogurt.