Culturing dairy products adds enzymes and provides probiotic benefits. This is an especially helpful process when using pasteurized milk, where the original enzymes and living biota have been cooked out. Use raw or pasteurized (but not ultra-pasteurized) cow or goat’s milk.
- 2 quarts raw or organic whole pasteurized (but not ultra-pasteurized) cow or goat milk
- 2 Tablespoons of yogurt with active cultures (from a previous batch, or an unflavored store-bought variety)
- If using PASTEURIZED milk: Gently bring two quarts of milk up 180°F/82°C in a saucepot. (If you cook it too fast, you’ll burn some on the bottom of the pot).
- If using RAW milk: Gently bring two quarts of milk up 110°F/43°C in a saucepot. Higher temperatures will kill the valuable enzymes and living bacteria present in the milk!
- Add one tablespoon each of yogurt from a previous batch to two clean 1-quart mason jars.
- As soon as the milk reaches temperature, remove from heat.
- (Skip this step if using raw milk). Cool down the milk to 110°F/43°C. To speed up the cool down, fill a large bowl with water and ice, and carefully submerge the pot, being careful not to mix water in the milk.
- Once the milk has cooled, divide the milk into the two mason jars. Mix well to incorporate the starter.
- Seal the jars with the metal lids and rings.
- INCUBATION. The critters need about 8 hours to turn the milk to yogurt. The goal is to keep the yogurt between 100-105°F/38-40°C for that time:
- METHOD 1: Water bath. Fill a cooler with enough hot water to cover the jars. Submerge jars under the water. (Optional) We inserted a probe thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature (see pics below).
- METHOD 2: Warm oven. Preheat an oven to 200°F. Turn it off as soon as it reaches temperature. Place jars onto center oven rack.
- Do not disturb the jars once you’ve placed them. This will help the yogurt form its consistency.
- After four hours, you may need to reheat the incubator to keep within the optimal temperature range:
- METHOD 1: Add near-boiling water to the cooler to get the temperature back up to the desired range.
- METHOD 2: Turn the oven back on to 200°F for just 5 minutes. Turn it off after 5 minutes even if it has not reached temperature.
- After eight hours, remove from incubator. Refrigerate and keep up to one month.
Makes 2 quarts.
- If the yogurt isn’t thick after 8 hours, refill the cooler with warm water to bring the temperature back to 110°F/43°C. Let it sit for another 4 hours.
- With several batches I made, there was an acidic sour taste and an effervescence in the finished product. This was due to using too much starter. More is not always better!
Preparation time: 30 minute(s)
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