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25 January 2012

How to Make Homemade Yogurt, by Margo True


By Margo True, Sunset Food Editor

Fresh yogurt. (I used a clay pot because I like the faintly cool, earthy taste
that clay gives to yogurt, but you can use glass or ceramic bowls or glass jars, too.)

Making yogurt is extremely easy. (It's a daily activity in households all over India, for instance.) All you need is warmed-up milk and a few tablespoons of your favorite yogurt. The live cultures in the yogurt will gradually convert the entire batch of milk to yogurt within several hours; all you need to do is let nature take its course. The appeal of making yogurt yourself, besides its ease, is fourfold: 1) it's cheaper than buying storebought 2) it has no gunky additives or thickeners 3) because it's fresh, it has lots and lots of reputedly beneficial bacteria (often known as "probiotics") 4) you can make it as tangy as you like, simply by letting it sit longer at room temperature (taste it until you like the flavor).


Unlike commercially produced yogurt, homemade yogurt has no gelatin, so it'll have a softer, looser texture; if you want it to be firmer, you can boil the milk for 10 to 15 minutes before cooling it, to evaporate some of the water. (The yogurt will have a slightly “cooked” taste, though.) Or you can drain it to release some of the water. Lowfat and nonfat milk (and yogurt) will work too, but they take longer to set than whole-milk yogurt.


1 qt. whole milk
2 tbsp. plain whole-milk live-culture yogurt (check the sell-by date to make sure it's very fresh)

1. Pour milk into a large heavy pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to keep it from scorching. As soon as milk starts to foam up, pour it into a bowl, put bowl in a sink of cold water, and let milk cool to 110° (measure with an instant-read thermometer).

2. Whisk 1/4 cup or so of 110° milk with yogurt in a small bowl, then whisk into milk. Pour into 2 large glass jars, cover, wrap jars in towels, and put them in a cooler. Add a few more jars filled with hot water to the cooler to keep the milk warm, and cover the cooler. Let milk sit at least 8 hours and up to 12 to set (it will look and taste like yogurt when it’s done). The longer it sits, the tangier it gets; chilling it stops the process. Yogurt keeps, chilled, up to 1 week.

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