Prep & Cook time
Ingredients & Amounts
- Quart/liter jar
- Insulated Cooler or Yogurt Maker
Ingredients: (enough to make 1 quart):
- 1 quart or liter of whole milk*
- 1 tbsp/15 ml fresh live-culture plain yogurt. You can buy yogurt or use some from your last batch.
*You can use 2% or skim, goat milk, or canned coconut milk. Fresh or raw milk from a reputable source makes a delicious and even more healthful yogurt.
- Preheat the jar and insulated cooler with hot water so that they will not drain heat from the yogurt and it can stay warm to ferment.
- Heat the milk until bubbles begin to form. If you use a thermometer, heat milk to 180 F (82 C). Use gentle heat, and stir frequently to avoid burning the milk. The heating is not absolutely necessary, but it results in a thicker yogurt.
- Cool the milk to 110 F (43 C), or the point where it feels hot, but it is not hard to keep your (clean!) finger in it. You can speed the cooling process by setting the pot with the hot milk into a bowl or pot of cold water. Don’t let the milk get too cool; the yogurt cultures are most active in the above-body-temperature range.
- Mix starter yogurt into the milk. Use just 1 Tbsp (15 ml.) per quart. I used to use more starter, assuming that more is better, until I consulted my number one kitchen book, The Joy of Cooking (1964 Edition), known affectionately as “Joy” in our kitchen. “You may wonder why so little starter is used and think that a little more will produce a better result. It won’t. The bacillus, if crowded, gives a sour, watery product. But if the culture has sufficient Lebensraum (German for “room to live”), it will be rich, mild, and creamy.”Mix the starter thoroughly into the milk, and pour the mixture into the preheated jar.
- Cap the jar and place it in the pre-heated insulated cooler. If much space remains in the cooler, fill it with bottles of hot water (not too hot to touch) and/or towels. Close the cooler. Place the cooler in a warm spot where it will not be disturbed.“Yogurt has the added idiosyncrasy that it doesn’t care to be jostled while growing,” note Joy.
- Check the yogurt after 8-12 hours. It should have a tangy flavor and some thickness. If it isn’t thick (hasn’t “yoged”), warm it up by filling the insulated cooler with hot water around the jar of yogurt, adding more starter, and leaving it 4 to 8 more hours. You can leave it to ferment longer if you wish. It will become more sour as more of the milk’s lactose is converted into lactic acid. A longer fermentation period can often make yogurt digestible even for lactose-intolerant individuals.
- Yogurt can store in the refrigerator for weeks, though its flavor will become more sour over time. Save some of the yogurt to use as a starter for the next batch.
Recipe used with permission from:Sandor Katz’s Wild Fermentation, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2003, p. 76-77.WildFermentation.com