French-Style Yogurt
French-Style Yogurt

The most important note is to keep a little bit of yogurt as a starter for your next batch.

As we have found ourselves at home more and more, many of us have turned to cooking things for ourselves that we’d usually buy without a second thought. 

For me, such an item has been yogurt; after making a batch, you suddenly realize that the process is so easy and so straightforward that you won’t need to shop for yogurt again. (You still will, but … you know.) 

Chef Aaron Egan
Chef Aaron Egan

The most important note is to keep a little bit of yogurt as a starter for your next batch — otherwise you’ll get ready to make a new batch of yogurt, only to find yourself buying one small container of plain yogurt to make yourself one big container of plain yogurt.

I fill my yogurt into 6-ounce jars from old purchased yogurts past; you can use jam or jelly canning jars or sealable reusable containers of any type you like. Try to use things that don’t pick up strong flavors — the last thing you want is vanilla-onion yogurt.

This is also a great recipe for Shabbos — once it’s been heated, there’s no more cooking. Once it’s in the oven to ferment, it’s done being touched for at least 12 hours. 

French-Style Yogurt

Yield: About 6-7 5-ounce portions of yogurt

Ingredients

  • 4¾ cups of whole milk
  • ¾ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. existing yogurt

Directions

  1. Pour the milk and sugar into a saucepan and heat on a medium-low flame until it reaches 180°F. Hold between 180°F-190°F for one hour. Stir frequently during the whole process to avoid scorching or cooking the milk proteins. (I always end up with a bit of cooked milk, so don’t worry if it’s not perfect. You want to avoid an actual scorch.)
  2. Turn off the heat and let the milk cool down on the counter or stovetop to around 110°F.
  3. Put the cultured yogurt into a bowl and add a quarter cup of the warm milk, then whisk until no lumps are left.
  4. Pour the mixture and the vanilla extract into the saucepan and mix well.
  5. Place the jars you will be using on a sheet pan/baking dish. Portion the final yogurt mixture into the jars. Cover with plastic wrap.
  6. Turn your oven on to preheat for 90 seconds. Turn it off, place the yogurt tray in the oven and leave the oven light on. If not possible, a small paraffin wax light or 12-hour tea light-type candle will work to keep the temperature in the oven slightly warmer than body temperature (in that 100-110 range.)
  7. Ferment, untouched, for 12 hours (or more, my last batch went 16 hours.)
  8. Remove from the oven and refrigerate for several hours for the best texture. Cover individually once fully cooled. This yogurt will have a thick, creamy consistency and should stand up somewhat when spooned out of the container. 
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