One of my first eureka food moments was stumbling upon a recipe for yogurt in a culinary textbook the week before culinary school started. The simple two-ingredient recipe changed my approach to food. I thought, “of course!” when I read it. Of course, I can make my own yogurt. All I need is milk and yogurt. It couldn’t be any more basic.
MAKES: 4 cups (1 L)
PREP TIME: 15 minutes
INCUBATION: TIME 7–12 hours
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT NEEDED: heavy-bottomed saucepot or Dutch oven with lid, digital thermometer, 4-cup (1 L) sterilized jar with lid, heating pad (optional)
4 cups (1 L) whole milk
1/4 cup (60 mL) plain yogurt, reserved from a previous batch or store-bought (see Yogurt Tips below)
1. Heat milk in a heavy-bottomed saucepot over medium heat until scalding (just before the first boil), and the temperature on a digital thermometer shows
2. Remove from heat and let cool until just warm to the touch and temperature reads 110°F (43°C), about 10–15 minutes.
3. Once cooled, whisk in yogurt, cover with a lid and place in a warm spot (the inside of an oven with the light left on, on top of a heating pad, or even wrapped in tea towels) for several hours or overnight. The residual heat from the pot helps with the incubation time.
Note: fluctuations in kitchen temperatures can
influence fermentation time.
4. Once thickened, stir and store in a clean glass jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, making sure to reserve 1/4 cup (60 mL) of this homemade yogurt for the next
batch. Making yogurt at home, you will notice that it may not be as thick as store-bought and also milder in flavour at first. The flavour will develop with each batch you make.
SAVED MY LIFE: A DIGITAL THERMOMETER
The first time I bought a digital thermometer was for
culinary school and now I can’t believe I survived all those
years without one. To think of how many times I sliced
into a piece of meat to see if it was cooked, letting all the
flavourful juices flow out! If there is one thing you should
invest in, besides a good knife, it is a good digital thermometer.
You will thank me for it.
• When buying store-bought yogurt for your first batch, choose a plain yogurt with many types of bacterial cultures listed in its ingredients. The more variety of
cultures the better.
• Yes, you can make yogurt using low-fat milk. However, the more fat, the thicker and creamier the yogurt.
• I have accidentally forgotten that I have milk cooling, and yes, I added the yogurt to the milk after it has fallen below 100F (40C). Oops. All this may do is prolong
the incubation time.
• Want Greek yogurt? Drain yogurt in a cheesecloth-lined strainer fit over a bowl overnight in your fridge. This strains off its liquid whey.