It is super easy to make yogurt.
Yogurt is a natural product made from fermenting milk by a lactic acid bacteria, so it will always naturally set when given the right conditions. However, sometimes you might need some practice before you make the perfect yogurt. Especially if you had not made yogurt before, or, say, have used many different cultures before, each more peculiar than the other.
This method will guarantee that you will always get the best results when making yogurt. It is designed to outline the small pitfalls in the yogurt making process and to make it easier for you to avoid them.
- Bring the milk to a gentle boil. Milk boils at about 212°F / 100°C. Be careful not to burn it, otherwise your yogurt will inherit the burnt taste.
Note: You are doing this in order to kill any existing bacteria in the milk, which could react with the starter strains. You are also doing it because heating the milk denatures its proteins and realigns its fat molecules in a way that makes a more superior yogurt.
- Set aside a cup (200ml) from the milk.
Note: You are doing this because the milk in the cup will cool down faster than the rest and you will be able to give the starter more time to thaw and start the incubation process.
- Keep the rest of the milk in the container you heated it (or distribute it to the culturing containers – 1L mason jars work the best).
- When the milk in the cup is at 86-90ºF / 30-32ºC (it will feel lukewarm to the touch), add the starter from the pack to it then gently stir it until it dissolves, about a minute.
Note: You are adding the starter to the milk in cup, not to the milk in the containers!
- When the rest of the milk (in the containera) is ready, at 108-110ºF / 42-43ºC (you should be able to hold your pinky finger in it comfortably for five seconds), distribute the milk from the cup (the one with the starter) to the jars, proportionally to their volume.
- Gently stir the milk in the jars.
Note: At no time whisk. Whisking introduces air bubbles into the milk and that slows down incubation.
- Place a blanket in your microwave (or oven).
Note: Microwaves and ovens are thermo-insulated. By incubating inside them, you make sure you minimize heat loss.
- Place the jars in the microwave on the blanket.
- Loosely cover the jars with their lids or a towel.
- Cover with and wrap around another blanket or a large towel. Make sure the blankets are covering the jars from all directions to minimize heat loss. This will make sure jars stay warm all throughout the incubation process.
- Leave overnight (about 8 hours). Check to make sure yogurt has set, if it hasn’t, leave it longer and check every couple of hours, until it sets.
- Move to the fridge and keep there for at least 2 hrs before eating it. Cooling the yogurt will help it thicken and improve its taste.
Do not forget to save a cup of the ready-made yogurt to use for making your next batch! Keep that in the fridge and make sure you use it to make your new yogurt within 3-4 days to ensure all bacteria is viable and in great condition.