When you see how dead easy it is to make your own yogurt, you'll buy the store-bought stuff only during moments of extreme desperation. It takes a bit of time, but most of that can be spent watching TV or organizing your underwear drawer while the milk and heat do their thing. Devon found that using yogurt instead of milk made for fluffier omelets. I like this recipe because it lets me have plain organic yogurt for half the price of the non-organic kind in stores.
If you're looking for the sugary, gross stuff on the supermarket shelves, this isn't it. This recipe will give you 4 cups of plain yogurt. Adding vanilla extract, sugar or jam will jazz it up a bit, and you control how sweet it gets. This recipe calls for a yogurt maker, but you can make it without one if you can find a consistent, low-temperature heat source, such as an oven that goes as low as 100 F. If you're feeling experimental, you can buy your own yogurt culture, but I've always had good results with a small container of store-bought yogurt.
I also got my yogurt maker at Amazon, but they no longer carry the dirt-cheap one I have, and the ones they do carry are about twice the cost of the one I bought, so look around.
You can skip the dry milk if you're using whole milk, but I recommend it if you're making low-fat or skim yogurt.
- 4 cups milk (whole, lowfat or skim)
- ¼ cup dry milk powder (optional)
- ½ of an 8-ounce container of store-bought plain yogurt
Pour the milk into a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat to 185 F. Let the milk cool to 100 F to 110 F. While the milk is cooling, plug in the yogurt maker.
Add milk powder, if using, and half of the container of yogurt. (If you add the culture when the milk is too hot, you will kill off the bacteria that make the whole thing work.) Whisk the powder and yogurt in gently until they are incorporated and lumps are gone.
Pour milk into preheated yogurt maker, set up according to appliance directions, and let set for 4 to 7 hours. The longer you let it set, the tarter the yogurt will be.
When yogurt is done, drain off the whey, if desired, and cool in fridge.
Draining off a lot of the whey will give you a thicker yogurt, and I got pretty close to the texture of Greek yogurt by draining it over and over again until all the whey was almost completely drained off. Warning: This technique will cut your yield in half.