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.)
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.
Yield: About 6-7 5-ounce portions of yogurt
- 4¾ cups of whole milk
- ¾ tsp. vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp. existing yogurt
- 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.)
- Turn off the heat and let the milk cool down on the counter or stovetop to around 110°F.
- Put the cultured yogurt into a bowl and add a quarter cup of the warm milk, then whisk until no lumps are left.
- Pour the mixture and the vanilla extract into the saucepan and mix well.
- 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.
- 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.)
- Ferment, untouched, for 12 hours (or more, my last batch went 16 hours.)
- 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.