Homemade Yogurt


1 1/2 cups nonfat dry milk solids (Lindon Cannery)
2 quarts very warm water
2 tablespoons starter culture (1 tbsp per quart of milk)
vanilla or other flavoring, optional
sweetener to taste, optional

Reconstitute nonfat dry milk using very warm water. Run the hot water over your wrist. It should feel hot, but not burn. Stir in milk solids and mix in the starter. Incubate in a warm place for 4 to 8 hours. After the yogurt is thick, place it in the fridge. It will stay sweet and fresh for about a week.

Flavorings

Add sweetener or flavoring extracts to water before adding dry milk powder. Stir in fruit after yogurt has thickened and while it is still warm, or add fruit to the bottom of individual containers, such as jelly jars, and then spoon warm yogurt over the fruit.

Variations

1) Add a little unflavored gelatin to the yogurt before incubating, about 1 1/2 teaspoons per quart of milk. Soften gelatin in about 1/2 cup cold water for 5 minutes. Heat and stir to dissolve. Mix with warm water before adding nonfat dry milk

2) After incubation, stir in some modified food starch (Ultra Gel) to thicken, add fruit and sweetener if desired.

3) Add 1/3 cup additional dry milk solids per quart of water for a thicker yogurt. This makes the yogurt thicker and also higher in calcium. Even when preparing yogurt from fluid milk, the results are better if you add a little extra nonfat dry milk for thickness.

The starter: Use plain yogurt containing active culture. Make sure it has not been pasteurized. You can use your own yogurt as a starter too, but eventually it becomes contaminated due to the introduction of foreign bacteria. Dried starters are available from health food stores.

Scalding the milk: It is not necessary to scald reconstituted nonfat dry milk. If using raw or homogenized milk, heat to 180 F, or until a thin “skin” forms on the surface. A double boiler usually works best for this. This eliminates competitive bacteria. Cool to 110 to 115 F. Test a couple drops on the inside of your wrist. The milk should feel hot, but not burn.

The incubation process:

There are many ways to incubate yogurt. It should be kept warm and rest undisturbed while it incubates.

Pour the warm milk combined with the starter, into a large preheated thermos and let it sit overnight.

Set the yogurt on top of a warm radiator, or close to a wood stove, or in a gas oven with the pilot operating.

Heat oven to 150 F, then turn off. Place yogurt in a covered container wrapped with towel or blanket. Close oven door. Leaving the oven light on will help keep it warm.

Place quart jars of yogurt in a a medium-sized picnic cooler and then add two jars filled with hot tap water, to keep the temperature warm enough.

Use a heating pad set on low. Cover pad with a folded towel, place the yogurt on top of it, and put a large bowl or stew pot upside down over the yogurt.

Dress it up

Sweeten plain yogurt at home with your favorite flavors. Just stir in fresh or frozen fruit (like frozen blueberries) and a dash (about 5 drops) of vanilla extract (or other extract) or a sprinkle of ground cinnamon. For example, you can make your own pina colada yogurt by mixing 1/8 cup of crushed pineapple (canned in its own juice) and a dash of coconut extract into 1/2 cup of plain yogurt.

Nutty toppings. I like to have a nice, nutty, and sweet trail mix in my kitchen at all times. Almonds, pecans, dried fruits, raisins, coconut, and other trail mix favorites come in handy as a topping for yogurt.