A Fool-proof Method for Making Delicious Yogurt
By Rashel Clark– Utah State University Dietetics Student
Prior to last year I had always thought of yogurt as an impossible food item to make. In fact, I distinctly remember my 6th grade science project, attempting to make yogurt, going terribly awry. Since then, lets just say that I have kept my distance from the chef’s hat and yogurt. However, last year my sister and I invested in a yogurt maker. It was the best investment ever! Now a yogurt maker makes this process a walk in the park, but I decided to face my fear and overcome that 6th grade science project incident by making yogurt without the crutch of a yogurt maker. So today I am going to share with you my foolproof method of making delicious yogurt!
Keep in mind that there is more than one way to make yogurt. As long as the yogurt reaches the temperatures required and incubates for the specified time you are sure to have a delicious product at the end.
- Insulated pot: Crockpot, or dutch oven works well
- Food thermometer
- ½ gallon of milk: The more fat in the milk the easier, thicker, and creamier it will become. However skim milk still works just fine.
- Yogurt starter: this can be an actual starter that you find in a store, or buy ½ cup of some plain yogurt that says “contains active live cultures” on the label
- ¼- ½ cup powdered milk (optional)
- Heat up ½ gallon of milk to 180°. I like to use a microwave. It takes about 17 minutes in my microwave. It is vital for the milk to reach this temperature so it will set up consistently rather than break apart.
- Let the milk cool to about 110°. I usually just let it sit on the counter, but you can put it in an ice bath so it cools faster. This temperature is ideal for starter culture to grow.
- Add the cooled milk to the yogurt starter and powdered milk. The powdered milk is not vital. However it helps the yogurt to get a bit thicker, so I always throw it in. The yogurt starter has the bacterial cultures in it that will ferment the milk to have the characteristics of yogurt.
- Allow the mixture to incubate at about 100-110° for 6-8 hours. Its ok if the temperature dips a little bit. The longer the mixture incubates the thicker and more tart your yogurt will become.
- After this put the mixture into the fridge overnight. This will stop the fermentation process
Now you magically have some plain yogurt that I definitely would have received a better grade on for my science class than the curdled milk I had to give my teacher. It is now time to put your own creativity into it and flavor the yogurt to make your taste buds sing! I like to put a little vanilla or jam in mine to flavor it. You can also buy flavors at the store if there is a kind that you like, or just mix it in with sweet berries!