So making yogurt at home just seems so intimidating, or at least it always seemed so to me. I don’t know WHY, really, I mean it’s not potentially dangerous the way making soap is and I’ve made my own soap for years, now! It was several years ago, in fact, that I first purchased a nifty vintage “yogurt maker” and then somewhere along the line I was also gifted another one, and STILL I was too intimidated at the mere thought of making yogurt at home to even read the instructions, much less give it a try! Well this year I threw away my fear and went for it. Let me just say, I will never buy store-bought yogurt as long as I’ve got fresh goat milk available! Actually, even when it’s not available I’ll probably still make my own because it’s impossible to find yogurt, here, that is not low-fat or no-fat and the majority of them either have too much sugar or chemical-laden artificial sweetner. Lastly, there are “ingredients” put into the store-bought yogurts that IMHO simply aren’t fit for human consumption!
As for the two vintage yogurt makers, they are very different in appearance (see photos), but the concept of how they work is identical. You plug them in, fill the containers with your inoculated scalded and cooled milk, cover and let them do their thing for 8-10 hours. This time frame is straight from the instructions from one of the units, but I’ve read elsewhere that it can incubate longer, so I’m going to experiment with that to see if I get a thicker end product! You can still purchase similar units, too, but they are NOT necessary. There are several ways to keep the batch warm, as I’ll discuss in a bit.
- Slowly Heat the milk to sterilize it. (+/- 180 degrees F) The idea here is to gently scald the milk, not scorch it! I use an old fashioned glass candy thermometer.
- Cool milk to proper incubation temperature. (90-110 degrees F)
- Add starter yogurt. (Minimum 2 Tbs. per quart) This can be a plain store-bought yogurt or some from your last batch!
- Incubate at warm temperature +/- 10 hours (or overnight). Nifty “yogurt maker” is NOT required! You can use a slow cooker, cooler or warm oven… With just a quick search you will find numerous other blogs with detailed instructions on these methods.
Yes, it really is just that simple!