I’m a big fan of yogurt, but not, obviously, a fan of plastic. I try to buy the large cartons of plain yogurt (my favorites are Nancy’s Organic, followed by Clover) and flavor them myself with fruit, honey, jam, etc, but occasionally I get sucked in by fun flavors (pink grapefruit! vanilla bean! Bartlett pear!) and buy the individual containers. Bad Green Girl! Must stop this behavior!
I made homemade yogurt once before with my friends Sophie and Jen, allowing it to sit overnight in a warm water bath. However, I don’t quite have the cooking and scientific skills of Sophie, so I decided a yogurt maker might be my best bet. Inspired by this post on 101 Cookbooks, I ordered a Salton yogurt maker, picked up some organic milk (1 quart), some plain organic yogurt (you need 1/2 cup), and a thermometer, and set to work!
Here’s how to do it! It’s super easy, and how cool is it to say you made your own yogurt?
I started with a quart of Clover Organic 1% milk (I generally buy Straus milk, since it comes in glass bottles (love!), but Sophie had mentioned that it makes a runnier yogurt. While I love Straus milk, I do find their yogurt to be a little thin for me. Plus, my friend Jen knew some of the Clover-Stornetta folks growing up – they shared farmland – and says they’re good people. Plus, they’re local! God, I love Northern California).
Pour the milk into a saucepan, and heat to approximately 170 degrees, measuring with a thermometer. Do not let the milk boil (you can see in this image I may have let it bubble a bit too much).
Let the milk cool to approximately 110 degrees. This will take a little while, so be patient! While it is cooling, plug in your yogurt maker and allow it to preheat.
Once milk has cooled, add a little bit of it to your 1/2 cup of plain yogurt (I used Nancy’s Organic nonfat). Then mix the yogurt/milk mixture back in with the rest of the milk. I skipped the step of adding powdered milk, because I used 1% which already contained it, but I might try it next time (see notes at end). Then, pour into the preheated yogurt maker (anyone else thinks this thing looks like R2-D2?). You can see that I saved a large yogurt container to pour the finished good into!
Leave milk in yogurt maker for 4-8 hours, depending on the consistency you are looking for. According to the instructions that came with the maker, a longer time will make for a tarter yogurt. I intended to leave the yogurt overnight for 8 hours, but happened to wake up at 4am (I placed the milk in the maker at around 10pm) and it looked pretty yogurty at this point, so I unplugged and refrigerated. There was a bit of a yellow liquid on top from the milk, but I poured this off.
And that’s it! Refrigerate the yogurt for a few hours after it is finished, and enjoy with your favorite toppings! I love jam, frozen (defrosted) berries, honey, chopped apples, etc. So far, I’ve had it once with honey, and twice with strawberry jam. Yum!
Notes: The yogurt has a delicious flavor, but came out a bit lumpy. I am going to play around with different starters, types of milk, time in the maker, and adding powdered milk. I may also try straining the finished product with cheesecloth to make a thicker, Greek-style yogurt, which I love. All in all the yogurt tastes great, and I saved plastic! The maker is obviously made of plastic, but I’ll use it many, many times instead of buying a new plastic carton of yogurt! Does anyone with experience making yogurt have any tips about the lumps?