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Make your own yogurt

If you are a fan of yogurt and have wondered if you could make your own, it is surprisingly easy. Making yogurt is a careful process of steps using small amount of items from your local grocery store.

Making homemade yogurt does not require special equipment. Some people buy a yogurt maker but a covered bowl in the oven with the light on, a microwave, or a slow cooker will work just as well. If you use a slow cooker, preheat it and turn it off to incubate the yogurt. You can even use a covered bowl covered by a heating pad set on low. Cheesecloth and a candy thermometer is also needed.

Here is one favorite recipe:

            Ingredients:     4 cups of whole milk

3 tbsps. of plain yogurt (purchased or homemade) or yogurt starter (use the amount suggested on the package).

1-2 tbsps. of jam, honey, fresh fruit, etc.

Method:           Sterilize all your utensils and equipment, as well as your work surface. Use boiling water or your dishwasher.

                        Fill a large bowl or sink with ice.

                        Place the milk in a pot and heat on medium until the milk begins to boil.

                                    (stir often to prevent a skin from forming on the milk)

Use a candy thermometer to make sure the milk reaches 180°F.

Remove the pot from the stove and allow the milk to cool in the ice bath until it reaches 110°F to 115°F. If it goes below that temperature, reheat.

Place 1 cup of warm milk into a smaller bowl and add the yogurt starter or yogurt, stir gently until it is completely combined.

Add this to the rest of the warm milk.

Place the milk into the container you will use for incubation. This could be mason jars placed in the oven or slow cooker. Set the oven for 110°F to  115°F. Incubate at that temperature for at least 5 - 10 hours. Do not disturb the incubation. Longer incubation makes thicker and more tart yogurt.