I love this yogurt because it is so versatile. You can make it plain & use it to make salad dressings & dips or you can sweeten it & add fruit for a sweet, healthy snack.
The recipe calls for whole milk; quite frankly, I was looking for a more economical way to make yogurt & started using powdered milk. Due to the fact that powdered milk is fat free, the yogurt came out being not as thick and creamy as I would've liked; no one in the family liked it. So it looks like we're sticking to the pricey stuff.
If only I knew a dairy farmer! I'd love to have fresh, raw milk for this recipe. I bet the texture & flavor would be Divine! Don't be turned-off by the idea of cooking with raw milk, it's pasteurized in the cooking process. Also, if you live on a dairy or know someone who does & can get it for free...BONUS! .
You can make a smaller quantity of yogurt if you're worried you won’t be able to use 4 quarts in a month. Just use a half gallon of milk and two quart jars. No worries here, we eat yogurt every night before bed; sometimes with granola and sometimes fresh or frozen fruit, it's our little bed-time snack.
The first time I made this with my kids, we were 'sold out' in two weeks. WOW, found out they really like home-made yogurt. I thought this funny because they've never liked store bought yogurt.
Boil jars and lids for about 10 minutes & keep them hot.
1 gallon of milk
1 cup yogurt starter
If you're a 1st timer , you can use 1 small container of plain, regular...not reduced fat, of store bought yogurt for your starter.
In a dutch oven, heat the milk on low until it reaches 180 degrees.
Once the milk reaches 180 degrees, take the pot off the heat and place it in a sink filled with cool water until the temperature drops to 120 degrees.
Stir in the starter when the temp drops to 120.
It's time to pour the milk into your sterilized quart jars.
This is a good point, when you're making sweetened, vanilla yogurt*, to add your sweetener. If you're feeling daring pour some into a small cup & drink it warm...Yummy!Turn on light in your oven, top jars with lids, place jars in oven near the warm light, shut the oven door, and leave there over night.
orPlace into a ice chest with 1 gallon water heated to 120 degrees, shut the lid, and leave for at least three hours. (I prepare my batch in the evening & leave it in the ice chest over night)
After three hours, place the jars in the fridge.
Homemade Yogurt makes 4 quarts, which will keep for at least a month in the fridge (if you can keep it in stock for that long)
*To make the sweetened-vanilla version of this yogurt, add 1/2 to 1 cup of raw sugar (raw honey or real VT maple syrup) to the four quarts of milk when it’s cooling in the sink. Then stir in 1-2 tablespoons of vanilla (soon to come "home-made vanilla extract" YUMMY), and proceed as above with the recipe.