Remember last winter, when I resolved to do more hippie crap this year? I think my latest project qualifies. That batch of yogurt I started last night turned out even better than I’d hoped: thick and creamy, with a flavor more like buttermilk than yogurt. Just glorious.
Here’s the recipe, in case you want to try it yourself. It’s very simple and doesn’t require any fancy equipment.
1/2 gallon whole milk
1/2 c. plain yogurt with live cultures
Stockpot or large saucepan
Four clean pint jars with lids
Small picnic cooler
Pour the milk into a stockpot or saucepan, clip on the thermometer, and heat on top of the stove until it reaches 180 degrees, stirring occasionally with the wooden spoon.
Remove from heat. If the heating process caused the milk to form a skin on top, skim it off.
Let cool to somewhere between 105 and 120 degrees, then whisk in the yogurt, working quickly. Pour the milk into the jars, put on the lids, and put them in the cooler. Run hot tap water in the cooler to about halfway up the sides of the jars, close the cooler, and leave it in a warm spot away from drafts. (I set mine on the kitchen floor next to the refrigerator.) I started this project about 8:30 p.m. and changed the water once just before I went to bed (around 12:30 a.m.) to make sure the jars stayed good and warm.
When you get up in the morning, open the cooler, drain off the water, and open a jar. You should find thick yogurt inside. Store in the fridge.
If it’s not as thick as you like, you can line a sieve with a coffee filter or a tea towel and drain off the whey to make Greek yogurt.
I bought Full Circle organic milk ($3.78 for a half-gallon) and caught a sale on a pack of Stonyfield Farm organic Greek yogurt ($4.99 for a four-pack of half-cup cartons). I haven’t tried this yet, but I’ve read online that you can freeze unopened yogurt to use as starter.
Assuming that works, I spent $5.03 to make four pints of organic yogurt. Not bad, considering I usually shell out $4.99 a pint for Stonyfield Farm.