Why is this yogurt smiling?
Because we made it!
I'm not gonna lie, I don't love yogurt, but the kids eat a TON of it. Therefore, I spend an awful lot of time agonizing over ingredient lists while grocery shopping. Like most kid-centric dairy, there is an unnecessary amount of dyes/flavors/sweeteners in yogurt. When my kids were just starting out on yogurt, our readily available whole milk yogurt choices were from national brands. I used to buy a pint of the best vanilla I could get my hands on and a pint of plain, and mix the two together. Then I just started adding honey to plain. Still not satisfied with the choices, I am taking the logical next step, and making my own.
There are thousands of yogurt recipes on the inter web, here's mine:
YOU WILL NEED
1 Two quart saucepan
1 Thermometer with a range of 110-140 degrees F. A meat thermometer will do.
1/4 Cup real maple syrup (optional)
6 Cups of the best quality whole milk you can get your hands on
Common drink cooler large enough to fit the container you will be storing the yogurt in
PREPARE THE EQUIPMENT
Glass jars are recommended for culturing and storing the prepared yogurt. I didn't have any on hand, so I made and stored our yogurt in a 2 quart saucepan. If you are using glass, sterilize it first. Either boil it in water for 5 minutes (similar to canning) or use jars fresh from the dishwasher.
Make sure that your cooler is spick and span. I rarely use bleach, but I make an exception when I'm culturing yogurt in a borrow cooler.
MAKE THE MAPLE FLAVORING (optional)
WARM THE MILK
Transfer the mixture to the container you will be storing the yogurt in. I am using the same sauce pan I made it in.
A WORD ABOUT STARTER YOGURT
Brown Cow Cream Top Plain Yogurt. The result was very loose, the consistency of buttermilk. It was tasty and smelled terrific, but not the look I'm going for. The batch before you, was made with Stoneyfield Greek Style Plain Yogurt, resulting in a much firmer set. When you're happy with the end result, save 1 cup of homemade yogurt to use as the starter on your next batch.
WARM WATER BATH
drink cooler. No worrying about oven temperature, or leaving something on a countertop overnight. I have cultured dairy before, and this is the easiest way I've seen. Fill a cooler large enough to fit the container you are making the yogurt in with enough 120 degree water so that the yogurt container is about 2/3 submerged. I find the quickest way to get 120 degree water is to combine the heated water on the stove with cool tap water, check the temperature between additions. Be sure to swish the water around before measuring temperature. Water too warm can kill your live cultures.
Close the lid. Wait 3 hours.
3 HOURS LATER
granola and berries, we've got yogurt!