My first shopping trip post “STAY AT HOME” order here in California was about 6 days after everyone else had had theirs. Along with toilet paper, bread, soap, flour, yeast, dried pasta, and canned food, the thing that was missing from the shelves, and the one thing that mystified me, was normal yogurt. When we got there, all that was left was the super fancy $4 for a half cup active culture European style yogurt. In short, the good stuff.
Now, in the past, I had made yogurt, it’s ridiculously easy with either a slow cooker or a sous vide (I prefer the sous vide), so this was no big deal. Especially since the one thing I expected to be completely gone was plentiful: milk. So, grab a tiny, overpriced pot of fancy schmancy yogurt, and an extra gallon of milk, problem solved … in a little while.
The next day, we had a half gallon of fancy yogurt. the day after that, we were up to a gallon. It took all of 3 minutes. And, once you have your yogurt, you can add any kind of flavor you want from sticking fruit in there, to chocolate syrup, vanilla beans, maple syrup, honey (my personal favorite), espresso for a yogurt latte … whatever. Even better, you can just add the flavoring when you eat it so you can try all kinds of weird stuff. Cucumber yogurt actually sounded bizarre first, but that’s basically tzatziki (the awesome white sauce that come with your gyros).
So, here’s how it works for one batch:
- slow cooker with programmable temperature control (hello, instant pot) or sous vide
- A pair of 1 quart jars with lids. I have used spaghetti sauce jars for this, I used some fancy jars I that our honey comes in for the photo because I am lazy and don’t always get all of the labels off from the spaghetti sauce, but feel free to use whatever works for you.
- 1/2 gallon of whole milk (you can use 2% but whole milk is better for you and your children. Certainly nothing less in fat content than 2%.)
- 1 small pot (± 4 oz) of active culture yogurt. The active culture part is important because it means the yogurt hasn’t been treated to destroy the microbes that turn milk into yogurt.
Time: about 15 minutes active, 13 hours total.
Yield: 2 quarts of yogurt
- Thoroughly wash out your quart jars with hot water, if you are really anal retentive, you could even boil them for 15 minutes or so, let them cool to about room temperature.
- Put 2 oz of active culture yogurt in each quart jar
- Fill with milk
- Put the lid on the jar securely
- Shake vigorously to mix everything
- Put the jars in your sous vide/slow cooker and fill with water so that as much of the jars are submerged as possible without going over the bottom of the jar lid. Don’t turn your jars sideways unless you are 105% sure that they are completely water tight.
- Set the temperature on your sous vide/slow cooker to 115ºF (46ºC) and walk away.
- Come back the next day and you will have nice, warm yogurt. Dry off your jars and refrigerate.
Rinse and Repeat:
Once you’ve done this, you can repeat the process without the original jar of fancy yogurt. You simply need to reserve 2-3 oz of your own yogurt and do this all over again. I have been taking the last 4 oz of the first jar I make and starting two more jars. This is helpful for two reasons:
First: while we are eating the second quart of yogurt, I can be making the next batches, and
Second: If someone eats the last 4 oz of the first jar, I still have another jar to pull my 4 oz from.