How to make Easy Homemade Yogurt
When your raw milk is getting older the easiest way to preserve it is to make homemade yogurt (yoghurt?).
The method we use takes no special equipment. We often make 1-2 L of homemade yogurt at a time depending on how much milk we have. I love that the yogurt cultures in the jars we store it in.
- milk (not ultrapasteurized), we use raw when we have it, but pasteurized works too
- mason jars with lids - 1L wide mouth work the best for me
- a large pot that can hold the jars
- a thermometer
- some yogurt from a previous batch*, store-bought yogurt with LIVE bacteria (2 Tbsp / L milk , OR a purchased starter culture (ideally at about room temperature)
- a medium-sized cooler
Pour the milk into mason jars (or other jars that can take heat - after a few split jars and loss of a full batch I've learned that lesson!) and place in a large pot with water up to about the level of the milk.
Heat the milk in the water bath, stirring periodically, until it reaches 105 ℉ (if you go higher all the good stuff in the raw milk gets cooked, I've found any lower and the yogurt doesn't thicken up as well).
Remove the jars of warmed milk from the water, and add 2 Tbsp of yogurt to each 1 L of warmed milk and stir in gently. This inoculates the warmed milk with the yogurt culture. Put lids on the jars and place them in a medium-sized cooler.
Take the temperature of the water from the water bath and add cold water until it gets down to between 105-110℉.
Pour this water over the lidded jars in the cooler up to about the level of the milk in the jars. Put the lid on the cooler and allow the milk to culture for about 8-12 hrs.
Remove the yogurt to the fridge, it will often thicken as it cools, and enjoy it over the next few weeks.
(I often use the water bath water to water my plants)
* I sometimes freeze extra yogurt in ice cube trays in about 2 Tbsp amounts, so I have some to use if I happen to run out before making the next batch - just thaw, bring to room temperature, and add to warmed milk as above.