Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Amazing Yogurt and Goodbye number 5 Plastic!

So I jumped on the yogurt making band wagon like Sherrie at 22 Pleasant and Eco Yogini because we eat a lot of yogurt and unfortunately we only recycle number 1 and 2 plastic containers in Halifax. I followed Sherrie's method...but ended up getting tasty but slimy yogurt (eek!). So I did some reading and found that most recipes are not precise enough for me (you will see below some of the comments I read) and I really wanted to get to the bottom of why it was slimy! I found out that you need to heat the milk to at least 180F to denature the proteins so that is is thick and creamy and not at all slimy! Let's just say second time is a charm and it is really easy! :)

So here is what I did to get perfect delicious plain yogurt!


2 L milk (I used Organic homogenized but have read that you can use any type)
250 ml of starter (I used an organic probiotic yogurt, see this post to read about the benefits of probiotic!)

Heat the 2 L of milk in a medium sized saucepan to at least 180F. I used a thermometer but Sherrie said that she let hers boil and it turned out lovely (for milk to boil it must go above 180F) but most yogurt sites do not recommend boiling probably to reduce scorching, so this is up to you. Once it reaches the right temperature, remove from heat and let it cool to between 105-108F. If you don't have a thermometer, one post said that it is the right temperature if you can leave the tip of your finger in for 10 seconds without screaming! It should be hot but not scalding. Mix in the starter. This will take some mixing to get it nicely blended. Also, the milk forms a skin on top. You have 2 options...mix it in (this will take more mixing) or take it out and blend with a little salt until it is the consistency of whipped cream and spread onto toasted bread for a traditional Mexican treat! YUM! :)

Once your starter is mixed in, place the lid on your container of choice and wrap the whole thing in a couple of towels and place in the oven (off) with the oven light on. The oven light will keep the inside of the oven warm enough for the bacteria to work its magic! I used my enameled cast iron dutch oven because it holds heat wonderfully and it worked perfectly! Leave this for at least 15 hours. I usually start mine at around 5 or 6 pm so that it is ready the next morning when I get up. And this is what you get in the morning.
To get it nice and thick you need to strain our the whey (liquid that you get on top of your yogurt). This is where you can play to get your perfect consistency.
To strain the yogurt, I used my large strainer lined with a white towel (now my yogurt towel!) placed on top of a large bowl. Pour the yogurt in and watch the whey drain into the bowl (you can see a stream of whey in the photo above). I strain mine for a couple of hours. I usually mix it up a little after about an hour to get most of the whey out...I like mine really thick! This recipe makes about 1.25L of really thick yogurt, so depending how you like it will depend on how much you actually get. You can also use they whey for baking!

Don`t forget to reserve 250 ml of your lovely yogurt as started for the next batch! I have also read (but not yet tried) that you can freeze your starter. This would be especially handy if you are not going to make batches back to back. :)

Happy yogurt making! :)


  1. yep, the original slow cooker method wasn't precise enough for us either.
    our last two times we used a similar method as yours- heating with thermometer to 180, let cool to 120, put in cooler for three hours at 120 (with 120 water around) and refrigerate.
    perfect! and so easy and so creamy.

    my only problem so far is that when i walk to work, and the yogurt is shaken, it becomes liquid in two seconds. not sure if it's because of the lack of gelatin and it destabilizes??

    anyhoo- YAY YOGURT! :)

  2. I am so lazy I use the microwave to get it up to 180F...seems to work pretty well. I've only had bad batches when the milk was already going sour. Homemade yogurt is amazing though, eh? :)

  3. I just LOVE homemade yogurt. This morning I stewed some rhubarb and after it cooled I put it in my homemade yogurt - yum.