I've tried sporadically for the past 6 months to make some decent yogurt, but for some reason, all of my attempts were failures. I tried all different recipes and incubating methods, but the yogurt always turned out too soft or too tart. Monday was finally my first success, so I want to share the recipe and method I used to make 4 quarts of yogurt. This is really going to save me some money, because my kids eat a TON of yogurt and I was buying a whole bunch for the week and spending about $12! Now I can just buy 1 gallon of milk and make the same amount of yogurt for about $2.30. I got my recipe and incubation method from a website called: www.thefamilyhomestead.com
1 gallon whole milk
1/2C maple syrup
2/3C dry milk
1C plain yogurt with live active cultures
Pour milk into a large, heavy bottomed pot and slowly heat to 185 degrees over medium heat. You'll need to stir frequently to avoid scorching and check your thermometer! After the milk reaches 185 degrees, remove the pot from the heat and cool it down to 110 degrees. This will take a LONG time. Make sure you check your thermometer frequently once it gets close to 110 degrees. While the milk is cooling, add the powdered milk and maple syrup, stirring to dissolve everything. After the milk reaches 110 degrees, add the 1C of yogurt, stirring well with a whisk to combine it with the milk. Pour the milk into 4 CLEAN quart sized canning jars and screw the lids on. Place the canning jars in a cooler and heat some water up to 120 degrees. Pour the water into the cooler with the jars, stopping about 1 inch from the top of the jars. Place the lid on the cooler and let the jars sit for about 12 hours. Remove them from the cooler and transfer to the fridge for another 12-24 hours. Now your yogurt is ready to enjoy!
I've found that homemade yogurt isn't as stiff as store bought, but it still turns out pretty good! My kids ate up a whole quart of it yesterday and I plan to use some in their morning smoothie today.