Homemade Yogurt
Crystal Miller

8 cups milk, cow or goat
1/3 cup powdered milk
¼ cup pure maple syrup, optional for sweetened yogurt
½ cup starter yogurt

Yogurt takes a little bit of time to make.  Not actual ‘working on it’ time but time for it to sit and culture. Yogurt is a cultured product, much like cheese.  Make sure that your starter yogurt that is called for in the recipe is yogurt made from live cultures.  You need to read the label on the yogurt to make sure it says “made with live cultures” or something similar to this. You will need to have a thermometer to check the temperature of your milk while you are making your yogurt.  A candy thermometer bought from the grocery store will work just fine. You will also need to have a way to incubate your yogurt for 12 hours and maintain a temperature somewhere between 90 and 110 degrees. 

There are a variety of ways of maintaining this temperature. If you have a gas stove, putting your yogurt in the stove and leaving the pilot light on may be enough.  If you have a stove that you can set at around 100 degrees, this works also. Another method that works is to use a styrofoam ice chest.  While you are making the yogurt up fill the ice chest with hot tap water.  Right before you set the jars in the ice chest empty the water, place filled jars in the ice chest, and fill with 110 degree water up to the bottom edge of the lids.  Put the cover on and place a blanket over this.  After about 4 hours check to make sure the water is still the right temperature (between 90-110 degrees).  If the water is cooling down, dump half of it out and replace with 110 degree water and cover again.  Check every 1 ½ hours or so to make sure the water is staying warm.  If the temperature of your yogurt gets to high or to low then it will kill the culture.  So it is important that during the incubation period that your temperature stays between 90 and 110 degrees. 

Now for the directions..

Before you begin wash 2 - quart canning jars.  If you want to use 4- pint jars instead that would be fine too.  Have the metal rings and lids ready to cover the jars when you are done.

Pour your milk into a large cooking pot.  Heat the milk up to 185 degrees. Allow the milk to cool down to 110 degrees.  This can take a long time.  If you want to speed the process up fill your sink with cold water and place the pot of hot milk in the water and stir and stir.  The temperature drops fairly quickly this way, so make sure to have your thermometer hand to keep checking. 

After you reach 110 degrees add the remaining ingredients and stir until everything is dissolved very well.  Pour this mixture into your ready and waiting jars.  Put the lids on and put them into what ever place you are planning to culture them.  Leave them there for 10 to 12 hours. Try not to disturb the jars to much.  When the yogurt is firm it is time to remove them and put them in the refrigerator to get nice and cold.  Usually 12 to 24 hours.  If you make and incubate the yogurt during the day it can refrigerate overnight and be ready for breakfast the next day.

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