Most people would agree that homemade food tastes better than store bought. There are several reasons why it does, like freshness, being able to use good quality ingredients and adding your own personal touch to the recipe. There are also great health benefits to cooking at home too, like controlling what goes into your meals and skipping all of the unnecessary additives.
Now I’m sure you’re thinking, who has time to make fresh homemade yogurt, right? I know today’s busy lifestyle doesn’t allow for too much time in the kitchen, but yogurt is one recipe that is effortless and well worth your time. Once you try it you will understand how easy it is and it may entice you to add a few more staple food items to your homemade list.
This recipe is very simple and doesn’t involve too many steps. A candy thermometer that clips on the pot is the best tool to have. It makes it easier to monitor the temperature of the milk, however, any instant thermometer will work just as well. You will just have to keep a closer eye on it.
I personally like a thick yogurt consistency. Whole milk and a longer warming time in the oven before refrigeration will create a creamier texture. To keep it thick, I layer sheets of paper towel on top of the yogurt to soak in any excess liquid and sourness during refrigeration. It’s simple, easy and convenient since I’m sure you all have paper towel at home. I have memories of my grandmother using a small towel instead, which you may use as well. The good news is if you prefer a thinner yogurt consistency, just skip the paper towel step, mix well and serve.
Greek yogurt is really popular today. This recipe has a thick Greek yogurt-like consistency, however if you would like it even thicker, after refrigeration you can spoon the yogurt into a cheesecloth and let it hang over a bowl to drain in the refrigerator until it’s reached your desired thickness. The only fall back to this method is it will yield less yogurt in the end. You can also use a 50% whole milk and 50% cream mixture for a richer tasting yogurt.
Now for the best part, here are some ideas of different ways you can enjoy this delicious homemade yogurt…
Top with your choice of fruit, nuts and drizzled honey
Serve with grilled peaches
Add to chicken and/or beef marinades
Use as a dip for veggies
Add to pancake batter
Must I go on? Yogurt does a body good. Pass it on!
Homemade Plain Yogurt
Making yogurt is easier than you think! Give it a try and you will become a pro.
1/2 gallon Whole Milk (preferably organic, avoid ultra-pasteurized milks)
4 tablespoons Whole Plain Yogurt containing Active Cultures (preferably Greek Yogurt)
Small Pot (2 quarts or larger)
Instant Read Thermometer (a candy thermometer that clips on the side works best)
Small Blanket or Large Towel
Pour milk into pot and set over medium-high heat until the milk temperature reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit (almost boiling) stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. DO NOT OVER HEAT.
Remove pot from heat and allow milk to cool to 115 degrees, about 45 minutes. While milk is cooling, bring oven temperature to 200 degrees with rack in the center. When oven reaches 200 degrees, turn off and keep oven door closed to keep warm.
Immediately stir in 4 tablespoons of active plain yogurt, stirring or gently whisking with a fork until well combined. Cover pot with lid then wrap entire pot with a small blanket and quickly place in the warmed oven for at least 8-10 hours or overnight leaving oven light on.
Remove blanket and open lid. Yogurt should be thickened with a small amount of liquid on top. Carefully layer several sheets of paper towel on top of yogurt (this will soak up any excess liquid and sourness). Cover and refrigerate until cold and set.
When ready to serve remove paper towel and pour out any excess liquid if preferred. Repeat process with paper towel after each serving to keep yogurt thick.
Note: Reserve 4 tablespoons of yogurt and store for next batch.
Download Recipe (PDF)