Fresh Yogurt

Total Time:
20 min
Prep:
10 min
Cook:
10 min

Yield:
1 quart
Level:
Intermediate

Ingredients
  • 1 quart 2-percent milk
  • 1/2 cup powdered milk
  • 1 to 2 tablepoons honey
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt, room temperature
Directions

Pour milk into small saucepan and whisk in powdered milk and honey. Place over medium heat and bring to 120 degrees F on an instant read thermometer. Once milk has reached 120 degrees F, pour into a cylindrical plastic container, reserving 1/2 cup. Whisk in the reserved 1/2 cup into the yogurt and add back to the milk mixture.

Place container into a narrow wine bucket, lined with a heating pad. Set the heating pad to medium. Let the mixture ferment for 3 to 12 hours making sure the temperature stays as close to 115 degrees F as possible.

After fermentation is complete place into the refrigerator overnight.


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    I have to agree with the reviews. I got my good eats the early years book out and looked at it. It oes indeed say to heat the milk mixture to 180.and cool to 110. It says let mixture ferment 12 hours keeping the temp as close to 110 as possible. Also says store in airtight container up to 2 weeks. Another comment he made that cooking or freezing yogurt wipes out the live cultures. So while freezing starters may be convenient, it wipes out the health benefits. I did not know that. Hope this helps some of you. ...now to make yogurt!!
    The yogurt technique outlined here is different than a previous version, and does not work, in my experience. I have a yogurt maker--one of the little 7 one-cup dish ones, and I used Alton's recipe with no issues (same recipe, but the previous directions were to heat milk to 180, cool to 110, then add starter, and it always worked very well. I've tried this twice, with reliable starters, and both times it failed to set up. I've never had the previous technique fail to set up. Beware of the new directions!
    I highly recommend spending the $150.00 to buy a proofer. Yogurt is tricky, and if you don't have a constant heat source, then the results will be disappointing. Trying to rig a heating system using a heating pad, etc, is really unnecessary since there is a product out there that is designed to do what you want to do. Homemade yogurt is far superior to store bought, and if you eat yogurt all the time, a proofer is well worth the investment. As for the Alton Brown recipe, don't waste your time. Make the yogurt first, then add the sweetener. Anytime you mess with the original process, you run the risk of wasting food.
    The first time I made the recipe, I followed the procedures exactly, but it turned out very runny. I consulted with some friends who have made yogurt before and found that the issue wasn't with any of the software or hardware, but in the process. I was advised to heat the milk, powdered milk and honey to 180 degrees and then cool down to 120 before adding the culture in. This made all of the difference. The yogurt set up nice and firm and is super creamy. Some of the best yogurt I have ever had. 
     
    Here are my observations and suggestions: 
    1. Milk - use "fresh" organic milk. This means organic milk with a 4-6 week expiration date.  
    2. Starter - When you make your first batch, put it into ice cube trays and freeze. The starter keeps for a long time frozen (I'm approaching a year and the ice cube tray is the correct amount of yogurt. Also, make sure the starter from the store is fresh (again, I base this on the expiration date. I just throw the ice cube starter in with the milk while I'm warming to 115C.  
    3. Heat - I find that using an 8x8" glass square dish over a heating pad and covered with aluminum foil keeps it at the right temp. I "cook" the yogurt on the stovetop at med-high heat. 
    4. Time - Overnight works best for me. It takes me no more than ten minutes to "cook" up the yogurt and approximately 8 hours to ferment. I have yogurt in the morning when I wake up! If I'm working to make a Greek style or unsweetened, I may allow it to ferment a little long.  
    Worked great, tasty with strawberries and honey. Used Chobani plain Greek yogurt for the starter and put everything in a towel covered crock pot and just cycled it on and off by hand. I never let temp go over 110 deg.
    I agree with another post. I have made this twice and followed the directions to the letter. Both times it came out like a slimy sour milk. This was the last time for this recipe - will try one that heats the milk to a higher temp.
    Been rocking my own yogurt for quite some time now. I make gallon batches in stock pots using a double boiler method on the stove top. I do gallon batches because I always strain it to make greek yogurt. Truly divine stuff. 
    I cannot say for sure, but I suspect that the cheap Walmart brand milk powder ruined one of my batches. It did not thicken up like it should have and was very watery. After I strained it in some cheesecloth, it only yielded a small quart of greek yogurt when it usually yields 2 healthy quarts. If anyone else has had this problem, some further insight would be greatly appreciated.
    This recipe and method are similar to the way middle easterners have been making yogurt for years. But we just use blankets to keep the yogurt mixture in and keep it wrapped overnight, then put it in the fridge after it thickens. It's very easy to do.
    I really enjoy fresh, homemade yogurt when it turns out right, but I'm a college student who's had to use resort to more unconventional methods of preparation. For example, instead of the heating pad, I just leave the container in a warmed oven. Anyway, I had a question about the powdered milk: I successfully made a batch of homemade yogurt using just 2% milk--no extra protein added. But then I got some Nonfat Instant Dry Milk (which I assumed to be the same as powdered milk, and when I add it, the yogurt comes out especially tangy, even after fermenting for a mere 4 hours. Suggestions?
    This is my favorite recipe. I tried a few (including crockpot), and this is the easiest, no hassle, quick recipe with excellent flavor and versatile results. The honey addition makes the recipe taste awesome straight up. 
     
    In reference to comments about needing to bring temperature to 185. That isn't necessary when using pasteurized milk. 185 is higher than needed anyway. It can be good to hold at higher temps for an extended period uncovered, however, to help make a firmer yogurt (concentrated). 
     
    I have a gas oven, so it is always a little warm in there and I can put it on the stone with a towel over it and that works pretty well. 
     
    If you drain off whey, you can use it to make sourdough bread as well.
    I have found it consistently documented that the milk should be heated to 185 F then taken off the heat to cool to 110 F. 185 F is just below the boiling point and I believe the purpose is to kill any other bacteria which may be present.
     Also, when making yogurt, any kind of milk is acceptable i.e. 2%, whole etc. I am not saying to alter this specific recipe, only providing information.
    The problem with most yogurt recipes is that they are oriented toward and experiment or event rather than a way of integrating yogurt making into your life... I make at least 3 quarts at once and sometimes a gallon at a time. See mryogurt.info for more ideas.
     
     Before bedtime, I put 3 quarts either no-fat or whole or a combo milk into my crockpot and set it on warm. (Crockposts will heat to 140F on warm.). At the same time I whisk in a pinch of salt and 3 tablespoons full of sugar and/or Splenda. I also add at least a cup of powdered dry milk and whisk that in.
     
     When I get up in the morning, I immediately set it on high and go about my business unloading the dishwasher, feeding our 4 cats and making coffee That takes about an hour and the milk now is around 190F and I turn off the crockpot then.
     
     I pull out the clean quart and pint jars and fill them with the hot milk to heat them up and I also start the Waring Pro Yogurt Maker to get it warm.
     
     Then I put a clean, dry cold soup pot in a dishpan of cold water and pour the warm milk into it. After 5 minutes of stirring, the temperature is down to around 110 and I pour a pint or so of it into our blender with some starter culture like Activia (takes 5 hours) or Siggis (takes 3 hours) and blend it for 5 seconds.
     
     Next I pour the blended culture back into the warm milk in the soup pot and whisk it for 10 seconds with a whisk.
     
     Then I pour all the blended milk into the jars plus an extra small jar for the next culture. I put all the jars into the yogurt maker and check every couple of hours with the shake test.
     
     The shake test - jostle one of the jars in the yogurt maker and if the surface doesn't move then it is ready.
     
     Cap jars and move to fridge.
    So, so good. I went the full 12 hours and was rewarded with thick creamy yogurt. So awesome. I used Greek yogurt as my starter. I also used low pasteurized milk and not the bland ultra pasteurized stuff. I am super lactose intolerant but I can eat this with no problem. Great in my morning smoothie!
    I heated my milk in the microwave and put the mixture in a pyrex bowl to ferment. It didn't make any difference, The yogurt was creamy and delicious. Definitely Good Eats!
    I adapted this recipe, using only the milk and the yogurt with live cultures. Without the powdered milk added, you end up with a low-carb yogurt. However, it's also thinner (think the consistency of drinkable yogurt), so for thicker, creamier yogurt, I strain it after it's been cultivating for about 15 hours.
     
     Also, so need for heating pads or special equipment. Just put it into the cylindrical container, then put it in an oven pre-heated to 110 degrees. It comes out perfectly fine - and it's convenient.
    We successfully tried the heating pad method but loved the yogurt so much that we looked for a more simple way to prepare. It turns out that the low setting of our crock pot keeps a bowl of yogurt starter between 113-115 with the lid off. We just make a batch after supper and its ready to put in the refridgerator when we wake up. We also put warm water in the crock pot before we start heating the milk. This gives the water temperature a chance to settle down. Consider trying multiple settings on your crock pot with the lid on/off or partially off.
     
     We also think that greek yogurt with more original types of bacteria produces a more flavorful and smoother yogurt, though significantly more expensive.
    The recipe leaves out a critical step - the milk must be heated BEYOND 120 degrees, then COOLED to 120 degrees. I made it as it appears and it was a complete FAILURE (and I have sucessfully made yogurt before with other recipes).
    This is like a science experiment that you can eat. I had so much fun doing it & earned serious bragging rights with our dinner guests. It tasted different from the store variety, but I like it better. I made Persian kabobs marinating the meat in yogurt & topped our salad with the thousand island dressing made with yogurt, plus I had plenty to eat for breakfast. I wonder how long it lasts before it goes bad, though...
    I have a yogurt machine so I can not say how this recipe would work without the use of one. However the yogurt came out very nice and extremely smooth. I will use this one again.
    I've become addicted to making this yogurt. It's so easy, I can start a batch before work and it finishes overnight in the fridge. I've had good luck with 1% milk, with a little extra starter, but skim came out too runny, even using extra powdered milk. I've also made my own version of "whipped" flavored yogurt...dissolve a small box of sugar-free flavored gelatin in 3/4 C boiling water, add ice to make 1 C, stir in 2 C yogurt, let set, then whip until frothy with wire whisk attachment. Pour into serving dishes, let set again. About as good as the stuff you can buy, and no plastic containers in the landfills.
    Wow who knew you could do so much with yogurt? The recipe works great! I use my 2 piece ice cream maker; wrap the drum with the heating pad and slide it into the ice bucket with a few hand towels for stuffing. Make a great mock cream cheese spread for people who want to eat healthier or are watching cholesterol - drain a double batch for about a day and a half until its super thick and stir in about 1/4c. sugar (or substitute) and a cup of frozen berries and voila! Great on toast or bagels and a healthy midnight snack! Thanks Alton for another amazing recipe!
    I made this tonight and it was great! Definitely use organic milk, it makes a difference. I used a waterbath on the stove set to low because I didn't have any other heating methods, which worked fine. I also used evaporaed milk because it contains more protein. The fresh, warm yogurt is awesome! Must try!
    This is well worth the time and mess for the finished product. The taste is much less acidic than the store bought variety. We have a running contest to see who can create the newest flavor of the week. My 8 year old often wins. So far, swirled black cherry preserves with a homemade granola crumble on the top is the favorite. If the yoghurt fails, add a little starter and begin again. If you want to add sugary flavors ( like preserves ) add a little extra starter and ferment a little longer or the finished product will be runny.
    I would like a recipe so I can make yogurt from raw cow's milk...this is just a recipe that is not much better than something you can buy in the store!
    I used to make homemade yoghurt when I lived in Houston- the heat and humidity ws perfect for it. Once I moved to Cali, I could no longer make it (to dry and a lot cooler!). Thanks for the tip!
    This is the best yogurt I have ever
     eaten. It is mild and creamy. I have added mango to it and it is delicious. also added broken up granola bar. Yum
    Easy and worth making.
    Many new model heating pads with electronic controls will have an automatic shut off safety feature. Mine will shut off in one hour unless a button is pushed. If you have a new pad with "soft buttons" and LED's, you might want to check the owners manual. The old type control with the, "click" lever works fine.
    Homemade yogurt is great and I do the same as this recipe but I just wrap a quart jar in a bath towel and place the wrapped jar in a large pot to keep it upright. It stays there overnight. The dry milk does help to thicken the yogurt.
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