Finally! Yogurt from "Scratch." / by Anne

yogurtYes, for me, success comes in the shape of a white blob.  How many months ago did I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and think, "Wow, I really want to try to make cheese this week, or at least yogurt" ...?  Well, I lost count after a dozen months.  But now I reign victorious and have broken the mental roadblock of intimidation.  It's that dang thermometer again.    

Over the holidays, my father-in-law, who had recently given us a yogurt maker (essentially a plug in low-heat incubator), showed me in no uncertain terms how easy the task is.  You heat a quart of milk with 1/3 cup nonfat dry milk for added richness.  You cool the milk down to a certain temperature range.  You add 1/4 cup plain yogurt (I used Greek style yogurt).  Stir, incubate overnight. Refrigerate.  It's done.

I'm not giving specifics on heating and cooling because the details I saw online are different than the ones my father-in-law told me, so I need to experiment more before I go and toot that horn. 

The point is, you can make yogurt with a few ingredients and no official equipment (besides a thermometer).  I used the yogurt maker for a few jars of yogurt, but I also experimented with keeping a bowl of the mixture covered and on a heating pad and got equally good results.  It sounds like you can use other heat sources, such as a previously heated oven or even a crock pot.  

I like that I can control the thickness and acidity.  I also love that making yogurt costs about half as much to make it than to purchase it.  Next up: Cheese.  Yes.  This will happen.  It will happen before a dozen months from now.  I've used the thermometer, and I've made something from a culture...there's no turning back!