Making yogurt at home is not as complicated as it appears. There are only a few ingredients that are needed as well as a way to keep the yogurt culture warm while it is incubating. Making your own fresh yogurt is not only healthy, but it can save money on groceries. Yogurt is not cheap when you buy it in the store, making your own will cost only a fraction of what store-bought costs and you can control the ingredients.
The basic ingredients for making yogurt are a bacteria culture, such as another yogurt starter or a freeze-dried bacteria culture and milk; which can be just about any kind of milk, including soy, goat, low-fat, whole or any other type of milk.
You can even use instant powdered milk. The only type of milk that will not work is ultra high pasteurized or UHP milk because the high temperatures involved in the processing of this milk destroys the necessary proteins and bacteria needed for making yogurt.
The milk is heated to approximately 185° F, then cooled to about 110° F before the culture is added.
If the bacteria culture is added while the milk is too warm, it will kill the culture and the yogurt will not set up.
It’s important to allow the milk to cool some before adding the culture, but don’t let it go below 100° F – 110° F or it won’t be warm enough to grow the good bacteria.
Once the bacteria culture has been added, the yogurt can be transferred to the container or containers you want to use for the yogurt.
These will need to be kept at a constant 100° F for several hours until the milk mixture begins to curdle and turn into yogurt.
The longer it is left, the thicker and tangier the resulting yogurt will be.
Once it has reached the desired consistency, refrigerate and use within a week or two.
When learning how to make yogurt, it is important to have an accurate thermometer so that you can easily monitor the temperature of your yogurt culture. Once you have become accustomed to making yogurt, you will likely be able to know my feel if you are within the necessary temperature range to culture your yogurt.