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How To Make Your Own Yogurt

Yogurt is created by the propagation of bacteria cultures. Basically, if you place a tablesppon of yogurt in a glass of milk, the bacteria will reproduce and spread through the milk, and within 6 to 12 hours, transform the milk to yogurt. But yogurt cultures are "fussy" -- the milk must be boiled first in order to remove any competing bacteria and then cooled to a lukewarm temperature so that the yogurt bacteria won't be killed by high heat. You could also use sterile powdered milk, or a combination of the two (boiled and sterile).

Recipe:
Yield: 4 8 ounce containers

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 quart milk
  • 1/4 cup store-bought plain yogurt
Pour the milk into a small sauce pan. Prop a candy thermometer inside, and heat to 180 degrees F. Allow the milk to cool to 105 degrees.

Stir in the yogurt and pour the mixture into glass jars. Cap the jars and place in a pan of warm water (105 deg to 112 deg) along with the candy thermometer.

INCUBATE: Allow the yogurt to incubate for 5 to 6 hours, adding hot water as needed to maintain a consistent water temperature. If the yogurt doesn't "yog", either the heat wasn't consistent or the original boiled milk wasn't cooled enough. If your luck is really bad, try adding a half tsp of unflavored gelatin dissolved in a small amount of warm water.

Other incubation ideas:

  • Set the pan on a stovetop or radiator
  • Put the jars in a box along with a hot-water bottle and pack crumpled newspapers loosely around them.
  • Turn an electric heating pad to its lowest setting and wrap it around the jar.
  • Set the jars in a metal box with a glowing Christmas tree light bulb.
  • Put the jars on the TV set (with the set turned on).

Whichever incubation method you use, be sure to check the temperature often. The yogurt is ready when it retains the impression of a spoon pressed into the surface. Remove the jars from the pan and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

Flavorings:

  • Almond extract
  • Vanilla extract
  • Fresh fruits, such as blackberries, strawberries, peaches, etc.
  • Coffee flavor
TIPS!

For low-fat yogurt, or low-fat substitute for sour cream, use low-fat milk. For a richer yogurt, use a mixture of whole milk and cream.

It's usually best to make yogurt before you go to bed, so the cultures can work when they're least likely to be disturbed.

Don't try to make yogurt and bread on the same day. Yogurt cultures hate competition and yeast in the air seems to make them roll over and go to sleep.

New batches should be made every 4-5 days to keep the culture active and the flavor good.

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