Hello again! The yogurt tutorial is finally here! I’ve begun making our plain yogurt at home, because it is simply cheaper than the store bought options around here. I can get a quart of cream-top, (the Norseman’s favorite) organic, active-culture, etc yogurt for $4.29. Or, I can get a gallon of raw, local farm milk for $9.00. Since it is heated before culturing, I don’t really worry about the raw part. You can do this with regular old pasteurized, homogenized milk, too. Alright, on to the tutorial! I discovered that you can heat the milk in the jars, instead of in the slow-cooker or in a pot, as I was doing previously, after reading this post. She is a woman after my own heart – hates having extra clean-up! So this is the absolute easiest way to make yogurt if you want simple and no dishes to wash afterwards.
Before beginning, to make one gallon of yogurt, you will need:
- four quart mason jars with lids
- large stockpot that will fit four quart mason jars in it, with lid
- washcloth or rag or small canning rack
- candy or meat thermometer
- jar lifter*
- gallon of milk
- at least 1/2 cup of yogurt with live cultures
- large cooler**
- a couple of towels
* If you don’t have a jar lifter, or have no clue what it is, look at this post from The Kitchn for how to make your own. You could use an oven mitt, especially a silicone one. But it isn’t as safe, and the jars could slip from your grip more easily. Your call.
* *This method calls for leaving the pot of water in the cooler with the jars, keeping them warm and toasty. If you don’t have a big cooler, you skip this step. The yogurt will culture just fine with just towels around them, and a closed cooler.
- Place your rag/washcloth/canning rack in the bottom of the pot. This will keep the jars from touching the bottom, which could cause them to crack/explode/otherwise break from too-direct contact with heat.
2. Add your four quart jars. If it’s snug and they are touching each other, that is okay!
3. Add water to your pot, if you plan to fill it up straight from the sink. Otherwise, skip to the next step (if you don’t like floaty jars) and then add water with a pitcher or measuring cup. Or still carry it to the sink, if you are super strong. Note of caution: don’t fill the pot much more than half-way. Otherwise, the ferocious boiling will cause water to get into the jars, and all over your stove. Not that a little water in the milk is bad, but a lot could be. Plus, messes.
4. Now, pour the milk into the jars one by one. Fill them almost to the neck of the jar.
5. Now, turn your burner onto high, and bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, slowly lower it to a lower temperature that will keep it boiling. Mine was med-high. Boil until the milk reaches between 180 – 190 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Carefully remove the jars to a dry, stable surface (a wooden cutting board, or towel on your counter top is perfect. Or you counter top, if it is not the kind damaged by heat.) Cover the pot with a lid. Place a large towel in your cooler, then place the pot onto the towel. Ensure that the pot is snugly wrapped in the towel, unable to touch the sides of the cooler. Close the cooler.
6. Let the jars cool until the milk reaches 110 degrees Fahrenheit. This can take awhile. You can cover them loosely with lids and place in an ice bath, outdoors (if cooler than your house), or just leave them and check them periodically. Once cooled, add two spoons of yogurt to each jar. I used a cereal spoon. Stir, and cover jars with a lid.
7. Remove the lid from the pot in the cooler, and then place another towel next to the pot. Place the jars on the new towel, and cover them up. Close the lid.
Wait 4-24 hours, based on how thick you like your yogurt. We just leave them overnight. The result is a nice, thick, not quite Greek-yogurt consistency. Since we use un-homogenized milk, we get the cream-top on the yogurt. Woohoo!
Feel free to message me on Instagram, or leave a comment if you have questions! I hope you enjoy, and have fun making your own yogurt!