After watching an old re-run of “Good Eats”, I decided to try my hand at making homemade yogurt. I already had all of the ingredients – well, except for yogurt (you need a starter for the bacteria!) and powdered milk. A quick run to the supermarket, (as well as Bed, Bath & Beyond for a container and probe themometer – which I’ve wanted for a while anyways) and I had everything I needed.
It was really easy – whisk 4 cups of milk (I used skim, but would probably go to 1% in the future) with 1/2 cup of powdered milk and a few tablespoons of honey, and then heat it to 120-degrees in a saucepan. Use the probe thermometer to make sure you don’t go over 120! When you reach it, turn off the heat and pour the mixture in the container, retaining a little to mix with your starter yogurt (about a cup) – then combine it all with the hot milk mixture in the container.
Now comes the hard part – you need to let the mixture ferment for 3-12 hours (longer = tangier and firmer). I started to use Alton Brown’s method of wrappping the container in a heating pad, but I couldn’t get it hot enough. So I put my crock-pot on “warm”, and then laid down a few hand towels, and then the container inside. I set the probe thermometer to 118-degrees, just to make sure I didn’t overheat it. It seemed to stabilize around 110 or so, so I went to bed.
In the morning, the milk had curdled – yogurt had formed!! So I put it right in the fridge to cool down. It was a little bit runny (probably because I used skim milk!) so I filtered it through a cheese cloth for about 10 minutes. It isn’t as tangy as I’d like, but it’s pretty darn good for a first start!