Due to the extreme temperatures, like everyone else in New Orleans (and most of the country), I do not want to go outside. Which means I’m dreaming up everything possible to entertain myself at home. Apart from the usual reading, streaming, yoga and attempts at new dishes, I decided it would be a great time to make homemade yogurt. I’ve been meaning to try it for the past couple of years, because I love yogurt and hear the fresh version is a revelation. Yogurt contains live and active cultures, aka the “good” bacteria (or probiotics) that support gut health, or good digestion, so the fresher the better. Plus, it requires very little time spent over a hot stove and a lot of time waiting. If that’s not a summertime activity I don’t know what is. Here’s the most low-tech way to make it. If you want to make it with a Crockpot, Instapot or yogurt maker, this is not the blog post for you, and you’ll want to get to googling. Everyone else, let’s get to it.
The supplies you’ll need are a one-quart or larger cooking pot, sterilized one-quart jar or glass or ceramic bowl with a lid, potentially a food thermometer and maybe some towels.
- 1 quart milk, whole organic
- 2 tablespoons plain yogurt (my favorite is Fage Greek-style, but you do you)
- Pour milk in pot and heat just to boiling (about 180 F) to kill competing bacteria and encourage coagulation (thickening).
- Transfer milk to sterilized container and cool to room temperature (about 100 F). If you aren’t using a thermometer, it should feel warm to the touch, not hot.
- Once it’s cool enough, stir in plain yogurt.
- Cover container with lid and place it in warm, draft-free area, such as a pantry cabinet or an oven that is turned off with only the light turned on (which will emit enough heat to keep it warm and activate the yogurt). You can also wrap container in towels and place in warm, draft-free area, such as a pantry cabinet. Another method is to place on top of a toaster oven and turn it on for about six hours, but this can use a lot of electricity.
- Let the yogurt sit overnight or for about six-to-12 hours, depending on your desired thickness.
- With homemade ferments, your nose is your friend. Give it the sniff test and if it smells like yogurt (and not “off” in any way), you’re good to go. Refrigerate when it’s to your desired consistency, eat and enjoy.
(Note: Homemade fermented foods may not be safe for those who are pregnant or immunocompromised.)