Today, like many other days, I made yogurt. We consume it pretty much daily in one form or another. Even though it's an everyday occurrence there's something about the coming off February that makes it extra special. Not only that, but making it is so simple and so economical that it's actually kind of silly to buy the stuff made, unless you're using it for a starter. It's especially foolish to buy given that the plastic it's packaged in is not accepted by many recycling facilities (though mine does). Besides, to my way of thinking, recycling plastic (among other things) is a pretty inefficient and wasteful practice.
There's many recipes out there for yogurt and you can try those if you like. Many involve the use of thermometers and strict timing dictates. But if you've been following this blog for a while you're already aware that I rarely use recipes, and strict dictates in any form just irritate me. In any event, here's what I do ...
I measure out a quart of milk into a small pot and heat it just to the boil. I remove it from the heat and let it sit until it comes to just above body temp, you know - when it feels mildly warm to the touch, but not at all hot. In the meantime I take about a tablespoon of yogurt from my last batch put it into the bottom of a clean quart jar and give it a loving stir, just to wake it up a little. When the milk is cooled to that perfect warm place I pour a little into the jar and stir it to blend with the yogurt. Then I pour it all in and give it another gentle stir and offer a prayer of gratitude to the magic yogurt faeries (or bacteria if you prefer).
At this point I place it someplace where it will keep warm (around 100-120 F) for several hours. I have a dehydrator that works perfectly for this. I set it to 120F and set the timer for about 4 hours and just leave it overnight. Next day I place it in the refrigerator and once it's cool I enjoy it. Yum!
Not everyone is blessed with a suitable dehydrator, I know. So without one you can wrap your jar in some towels and place it in any warm spot in your home. Or you can place it in a cooler with another jar of very warm water, and close it tight. The rest is the same ... just leave it overnight and chill the next day.
I'll add, too, that you can gently simmer your milk for several minutes over very low heat for a yogurt that tends to be a bit more rich and sweet in flavor. That's my experience anyway, but I prefer a light, more tart yogurt. Actually, I love it anyway it comes out.
You can use raw milk, organic milk, conventional milk, whole, skim or anything in between. You can even add a bit of cream if you like (I do sometimes).
So anyway, that's what I made today and it really is that simple. I hope you'll try it. It's a perfect food to ring in the final full-month of winter. Peace.