Many years ago I discovered a very simple way to make yogurt. These days I use fresh milk from our goats, but way back in the early days of motherhood I used to make it with cow's milk from the grocery store; you can use either one. In addition to the milk, you'll also need a small container of plain yogurt with live, active cultures plus some powdered milk.
Use 2 quarts of milk, 2 tsp of yogurt, and 1 cup of powdered milk. The powdered milk is optional according to my cookbook (Goats Produce Too! by Mary Jane Toth) but I've never made it without. It makes the yogurt thicker.
Warm the milk to 115°F in a saucepan or stockpot. Remove it from the heat and stir in the powdered milk, then the yogurt. Mix well with a whisk and pour into clean canning jars (pints or quarts) and add lids.
This is where my method gets real easy. You don't need a yogurt maker or a dehydrator. I put the jars into a small insulated cooler, then fill the cooler up to the "necks" of the jars, just below the lids, with hot water. Close the cooler and leave undisturbed for 6-8 hours. It's that simple.
If you use Greek yogurt as your starter, you'll be making Greek yogurt; if you use regular yogurt you'll make regular yogurt. I've even used flavored yogurt in a pinch. When we lived in Iceland it was very hard to find plain, unflavored yogurt so I used strawberry-flavored skyr (Icelandic-style yogurt). My homemade yogurt was faintly strawberry-tasting, but as I made each subsequent batch the flavor mellowed. The important thing is to use yogurt with live, active cultures.
Homemade yogurt is delicious on its own, in smoothies, with fruit or granola, and as a substitute for sour cream in recipes. You know what's in it and what isn't; it's good, wholesome food that's good for you and your family.
Don't forget to save some of this batch to use as a starter for your next batch of yogurt.
My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a
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