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How to Make Yogurt?

Have you ever wondered how to make yogurt at home? rather than pay those absurd super market prices for cultured yogurt…

Where I live, Yoghurt is expensive – $4.00 for a quart of organic, yet it only cost $2.50 a quart of organic milk if i buy by the gallon… It turns out I save $6.00 on every gallon of milk I convert into cultured yogurt.

With 1 gallon of milk, 1 quart of yogurt bought from the store, and 5 1 quart glass mason jars you can make 5 quarts of fresh cultured yogurt that couldn’t taste any better. The satisfaction of learning how to make yogurt and eating it too has never been easier.

Making Yogurt

There are Three Key Components to making yogurt:
preparing the milk by heating and partly cooling it; and fermenting the warm milk.

1. Clean Everything. Make sure you have clean containers, be it plastic tubs, or glass mason jars. Clean the pot you are about to use to heat the milk. We want as little contamination as possible.

 

2. The Starter. You will need store bought yogurt containing live cultures as a starter culture for your own venture. I recommend allowing your yogurt to sit out for an hour or two bringing it closer to room temp. This will help prevent curdling your yogurt with warm milk as the temp. differential will be smaller.

 

3.The Milk: Yogurt can be made with just about every type of milk imaginable; goat and sheep probably being the first. Reduced fat milks make especially firm yogurt because milk manufacturers offset the fat of the milk by adding extra milk proteins.

Heating The Milk: Traditionally the milk is heated over an open flame for a long period of time to concentrate the milk proteins resulting in a thicker yogurt. Alternatively you can thicken the milk with dry milk powder. This is what most industrial manufacturers do to this day.

How to Make Yogurt?

 

The milk is typically cooked for 30 minutes at 185°F/85°C or at 195°F/90°C for 10 minutes. This improves the consistency of the yogurt by denaturing the whey protein lactoglobulin. The denatured lactoglobulin then gather on the surface of casein protein, so the casein has fewer sites to bond with itself and is forced to form long chains rather than clumps.

If you don’t want to use a thermometer I have found, when cooking large quantities of milk in a pot over a medium flame, that the milk is ready for fermentation when it has been heated to the point of smelling sweet, developed a skin on top, and just begun to bubble on top – Not a rapid boil persay, just a few dozen small bubbles.br>

3. Fermentation Once the milk has been heated, it is cooled down to the appropriate temperature, the bacteria are added (a portion of the previous batch or store bought cultured yogurt) and the milk is kept warm until the Bacteria set in.

I like to use store bought organic yoghurt to inoculate heated store bought organic milk. 1 Gallon of Milk can be cultured by 1 Quart of store bought yogurt when making yogurt at home. The result will be a little less than 5 quarts of yogurt (assuming you are cleanly.)

Furthermore, yogurt culture bacteria are thermophilic, that is, they enjoy and can tolerate the heat. Matter of fact, they breed best at warmer than ambient temperature, so making sure the culture is warm during its first 8-12 hours of introduction into clean milk is key to getting it off to a good start.

The ideal temperature range is between 104-113°F/50-50°C for the bacteria grow and produce lactic acid rapidly causing the milk proteins to gel in just two or three hours. At 86°F/30°C the bacteria work far more slowly and the milk can take up to 18 hours or longer.

 

A difference in texture is produced depending on the speed at which it gels. Rapid gelling creates more coarse texture while slow gelling produces a finer, more delicate body better at retaining the whey.

I like to use glass mason jars submerged in hot tap water in a lunchbox / cooler over night for 8-12 hours. After 8-12 hours you should notice a substantial difference in consistency, at which point it can be chilled in the fridge. After cooling down, this home made yogurt will thicken even more and is ready to be eaten.

If you would like to share your experience in making yogurt, feel free to leave a comment below or even write your own article on the subject.