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Homemade Yogurt

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I don’t know how or when, but somewhere along the line, I forgot just how good homemade yogurt tastes. I grew up on it, my Mom believed if you ate a cup every day you’d never be sick. Looking back now, I think there was some truth to it, because we never were.

Recently, my sister Gail served homemade yogurt at dinner and my taste buds exploded with all the possibilities. It is so delicious – goodbye commercial yogurt and even, as much as possible, sour cream.

It’s easy to make, I used organic whole milk and chose a small container of one of my favorite brands of plain Greek yogurt with active cultures to use as starter. It’s important to chose a brand with a taste that you love because hints of it will come through in your yogurt. Regular yogurt would have worked as well if I could have found a small container. Even better would have been borrowing a cup of starter from my sister, too bad we live 1500 miles apart.

IMG_2623I chose a good brand of organic whole milk and poured it into a large pot.

IMG_2624 Bringing the milk up to temperature 185 – 200 degrees fahrenheit.

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Use 1/2 cup of commercial plain yogurt with active live cultures for starter. While you are heating your milk,  let the starter come to room temperature.

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Place the pot in an unheated oven with the light on or wrap  it in a towel or thermal bag to keep it warm. Keep it undisturbed for at least 6 hours or it can be left out overnight.IMG_2654Delicious homemade yogurt

Homemade yogurt

Makes 2 quarts
Active time – approximately 1 hour
Inactive time 6 hours to overnight

½ gallon of milk
½ cup of plain yogurt, greek or regular, room temperature
thermometer, clip on or instant read
large heavy duty saucepan with lid, preferably stainless or porcelain large towel

Rinse the pan in cool water before starting the process. (It helps keep the bottom of the pan from scorching.)

Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring gently.  The milk temperature should reach between 185 to 200 degrees. If you do not have a thermometer look for that lightly shimmering top that happens right before it comes to a boil.

Cool the milk until it reaches 110 to 115 degrees. While it’s cooling stir it occasionally so it doesn’t form a skin on top. It took the yogurt about 50 minutes to cool down to temperature. (When it reaches the right temperature you will be able to put your pinky finger in the hot milk and hold it till the count of ten.) Whisk a cup of the hot milk into the starter then add the starter and whisk it into the pot. Put the lid on the top and put it in a warm environment. I wrapped mine in a large towel. You could also use a stove with the light on or a thermal bag.

Leave the yogurt, covered for at least 6 hours or overnight. The longer it sits out the tarter it becomes. Do not stir the yogurt until the following day. If you like a thicker yogurt, place a cloth on top, then plastic wrap before you refrigerate it. Periodically wring the cloth out and replace on top to get the consistency you desire.
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Homemade yogurt with fresh cherries and honey drizzled on top

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