Makes 8 cups or eight (8-ounce) mason jars
As gardeners, we know how important breakfast can be to start off the morning. Naturally, a bit of homemade granola to go with the creamy yogurt will make breakfast the best meal of the day. I’ve been in the habit of making homemade yogurt for several years now, and I can never go back to commercial brands. This is my go-to recipe that works every time. I start with a powdered culture, easy to find online or in health food stores, because this guarantees that it will work.
The only tricky thing about making yogurt is finding a place to keep it at 105 °F. for hours to allow the cultures to incubate. I find that the warming drawer of my stove, slightly cracked open to release some of the heat, is ideal. Place the same thermometer that you used to check the milk, in the drawer and make sure it does not heat above 110° or the yogurt won’t firm up.
½ gallon whole milk
1 packet live culture
Special equipment: candy thermometer that reads below 200°F., mason jars
Place a candy thermometer on the rim of a 4-quart saucepan and heat milk on medium heat to 180°F. degrees, just before a simmer and a film forms on the top. Do not let it boil!
Turn off the heat, skim off the film, and transfer milk to a large glass or stainless steel bowl. Place the thermometer on the rim of the bowl, and stir occasionally to help it cool to about 115°F, about 20 minutes.
Add the specified amount of powdered culture to the warm milk; typically this is one full packet per batch. Gently stir with a whisk to blend. Transfer into a measuring cup to pour milk into each of the eight mason jars. Cover tightly with the lids, and place in the bottom warming drawer of the oven. Turn on to lowest temperature, and keep the temperature at 105-110°F. for 6 to 8 hours. Keep the candy thermometer in the drawer to watch the temperature and if it gets higher than 110°F., open the drawer to release some heat.
After 6 to 8 hours, the yogurt will be firm, although a little more custardy than what you would find in the store. Eat a jar fresh, and place the rest in the refrigerator to cool completely. Yogurt can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.