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Making yogurt is really quite easy. Much easier than I ever thought it would be. Thank you to my neighbor, Laura, for teaching me how! The amount of time you need to spend actually working on it is very little, also. To do one batch, I spent 30-40 minutes working on it. This is great because you can use the ingredients you want to, add as much sugar as you want to, and flavor it how you want to. Instead of paying 3-5 dollars (or more) per quart, you end up spending around one dollar per quart, more or less depending on the ingredients you use.
- Stove top
- Glass Mason jars (quart or pint)–you can use wide mouth or regular. I like wide mouth for foods like this where you are getting the food out repeatedly over time. Ball Wide Mouth Quart Jars with Lids and Bands
- Meat thermometer
- Mixing spoon
- Whisk if desired
- Canning Funnel if desired
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Stock Pot
- 1 gallon milk
- 1 cup sugar (more or less to taste–my neighbor likes 1 1/2 cups sugar instead)
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons Vanilla (or whatever flavoring you want)
- Yogurt –half of one quart (this is one large container of yogurt). You only need 2 T per quart, but my neighbor does half of a container, so I do too. You can use plain yogurt or flavored yogurt. I like plain.
Prep time is about 30-40 minutes.
Processing time is 8-10 hours depending on taste. Because of the long processing time, I like to start this in the morning, but if you are a night owl or don’t mind setting your alarm for the middle of the night, you could do it in the afternoon. You could also do it in the evening and take the jars out in the morning.
Yields 5 quarts. My neighbor doubles the recipe and makes 10 quarts at a time. To double it, you will need a large stock pot–about 20 quart.
- Pour gallon of milk into stock pot.
- Heat milk to 185 degrees, stirring occasionally to prevent the milk from burning on the bottom. Once your milk reads 185, stir it take the temperature again to make sure it is at 185. You are killing bad bacteria here.
- As your milk heats, make sure your jars are ready to go and your cooler is ready to be used.
- Remove from heat.
- Add sugar. Add as much as you like. Stir until dissolved.
- Cool to 130 degrees. You can either stir it until it cools to 130 or you can put the pot in the sink and fill it with cold water and stir it until it is at 130 degrees.
- Quickly stir in the yogurt culture and vanilla. I would recommend a whisk here so you can get the clumps of yogurt distributed evenly. I used almond instead of vanilla and it was amazing. I love almond.
- Pour into quart jars. I use a canning funnel and a pyrex measuring cup to pour it. My neighbor just dunks the jar into the stock pot to fill it. You can fill it how you like, just work quickly.
- Put lids on finger tight–this means just as tight as your fingers will close it.
- Put the jars into your cooler.
- Add enough hot tap water to cover the jars. You want the water at 120-130 degrees.
- Close the lid and leave for 8-10 hours. The longer you leave it, the more sour it gets. I did 9 hours.
- Remove from cooler, dry jar, and put in refrigerator.
You can also try to make a healthier and cheaper sour cream. To do so, omit sugar and flavoring. Process in the cooler for at least 10 hours, possibly more. I haven’t tried this yet, but plan to.