The benefits of eating yogurt and the live cultures in it are well known. You can eat yogurt by itself or use as an ingredient in recipes. Making yogurt at home is easy, and with an automatic yogurt machine, it’s even easier. A major benefit of using a yogurt maker is that the temperature during processing is kept consistent.
Components of the Yogurt-Making Set Up
A typical kit for a yogurt machine comes with the warming base, a cover, and individual cups and lids. Some models will have a dating system on the lids, either indicating when the yogurt should be used by, or when the yogurt was made. Freshly made yogurt will need to be consumed within ten days of it being made. If no numbering system is available on the jar lids, mark with freezer tape the date for a quick reminder.
Freeze-dried yogurt starters can be used to activate the yogurt. These are packets containing lactic bacteria (L. Bulcaricus, L. Acidophilus, S. Thermophilus) with other ingredients such as milk powder, sucrose and ascorbic acid. Homemade yogurt can also be made with purchased plain regular or Greek-style yogurt containing active live cultures. Once a batch of plain yogurt is made and chilled, it may be used one time to create another batch of yogurt. After that, you’ll need to begin a new batch of yogurt with either a fresh yogurt or freeze-dried starter.
Process of Making the Yogurt
Pasteurized milk is heated up and brought to a boil, and then cooled to a lukewarm temperature. The boiling process may be skipped, but the boiling creates a firmer yogurt in the end. And while whole milk, reduced fat milk, or skim milk may be used in the recipe, the consistency will be different depending on the milk being used, and the cooking time will also change.
After cooling the heated milk to lukewarm, yogurt cultures are introduced and let to set in the warmer base for a period of time to activate the cultures and create the homemade yogurt. Once finished, the yogurt is chilled and ready to serve.
- 42 oz. pasteurized 2% milk
- 6 oz. plain Greek-style yogurt (see note below)
- Wash all jars and lids and dry thoroughly.
- Bring the milk to a boil over medium high heat, stirring constantly to prevent the bottom from burning, and using a heavy, high-sided pot. Once the milk begins to climb up the sides of the pan, remove from heat and stir it down. Place back on the burner and continue to cook for about a minute more. Remove the pan from the burner, and let cool to around 110 degrees F. Use of a thermometer will be helpful; the milk will be lukewarm.
- Place the weighed plain yogurt into a mixing bowl. Add a couple of ladelfuls of the warm milk into the yogurt, and mix until smooth. Pour this back into the pot of milk. Divide the milk mixture evenly between the jars.
- Set the jars onto the base of the machine. Turn it on, and enter in the time required for the milk being used. 2% milk will take about 9 hours to create the yogurt. Cover the jars with the lid. Make sure to set the machine in an area that will be undisturbed and not bumped or moved as this will directly have an effect on the final texture of the finished product.
- The time is up, carefully remove the lid to avoid any water that has condensed on the lid to excessively get into the yogurt. Mark the date on the lids, and place on the jars. Place in the refrigerator for at least three hours to finish up the process.
- Serve the chilled plain yogurt as desired.