My mother always made yogurt when I grew up. In the evening she would heat the milk, add some saved yogurt from the previous batch, stir vigorously, wrap the covered pan in the "yogurt" blanket and let it sit on the kitchen table until the next morning. Over night it would miraculously turn into freshly made yogurt for our “muesli”. I’m sure this could still work but I found another way to achieve the same result mostly because I use a commercial gas oven at the inn. However, it also works with my electric oven at home.
If you have an electric oven set the temperature to 170 degrees. Turn off oven before putting the sauce pan with the yogurt in it.
If you use a gas oven with a pilot light check to see what the temperature is inside the oven without turning anything on. If the temperature is around 120 degrees you are lucky and will not need to do a thing.
This recipe can easily be doubled if you need lots of yogurt.
½ gallon whole milk, preferably organic
½ cup Greek or plain yogurt. I usually save yogurt just for this. If for some reason there is none saved I will buy the Greek kind because it will produce a thicker yogurt.
Heat milk in a large sauce pan until just under the boiling stage. Bubbles will start forming around the edges. Remove from heat and let milk cool to 110 – 115 degrees. It should not be warmer than this or the heat will kill the yogurt culture. Much cooler than 110 degrees and the yogurt won’t set properly.
Remove skin from the top of the milk. Add the saved yogurt, stir vigorously until very well mixed. Cover with a lid and put into oven. Close door and let sit for 4 to 5 hours.
When the yogurt is ready it will have pulled away slightly from the edge and you will see a small amount of clear liquid on the side. At this point I transfer the yogurt into a large sieve lined with cheese cloth that is set over a large bowl and refrigerated for an hour. This will remove some of the excess water. Transfer the finished yogurt into a container with a lid and refrigerate for up to 3 days..
You will have about one quart of very creamy yogurt.
One of my favorite ways to use it is to add ¼ cup of honey and use in a fruit parfait. Recipe to follow.
Of course any fruit you add will taste wonderful and it will have no resemblance to a store bought fruit yogurt.
Bed and Breakfast Foodie