Whomever convinced you that yogurt was just for breakfast did mankind a grave injustice. In the US, yogurt tends to be confined to the breakfast table, shackled to some sad-looking granola. But head East, and yogurt becomes not only the most widely used condiment, marinade and sauce on everything from sizzling tandori lamb chops, to stuffed grape leaves (Turkish dolma, Greek dolmades), but also panacea for all that could possibly go wrong in one’s life. “Is that an oven burn on your pinky?” My grandma would shriek, “It’s okay, it’s okay, we put Windex yogurt on it.” What about that sun burn? Forget the aloe, just marinate yourself in yogurt and you’ll be good to go. Suffering from an upset stomach? By this point you should know what to do.
Aside from the myriad of useful remedies, yogurt is extremely nutritious. A quick Google searched confirmed Grandma’s claims: yogurt lowers cholesterol, boosts the immune system, helps with lactose intolerance (eating yogurt with live cultures seems to improve lactose tolerance) and is rich in calcium and protein.
With all this in mind, you can imagine the amount of yogurt consumed in my household. Albeit being delicious, there is no way those little store-bought pots would cut it, so I resorted to following in granny’s footsteps and making yogurt from scratch! You’ll be surprised by how easy it is to make fresh, delicious homemade yogurt.
- 1 gallon milk
- 1 heaped tablespoon fresh yogurt, (check the label to make sure it has live, active culture — most yogurt available at your grocery store do)
You will need: a clean stainless steel pot, a kitchen thermometer, a clean kitchen towel, cheesecloth, a colander, and a stainless steel bowl.
- Over medium-high heat, bring the milk to a very slow boil. (This is to kill any other bacteria that might interfere with yogurt-making.) You should see a skin forming on the top of the pot. Don’t touch it!
- As soon as the milk reaches a low boil, turn off the heat, and let the temperature reduce to 110 degrees F. Meanwhile, mix the tablespoon of yogurt with a little milk so that it’s easily pourable.
- Poke a small hole in the skin that’s formed on the top of the pot and gently pour in your yogurt/milk mixture. This process is called mothering.
- Cover the pot with a dish towel and place in an oven that is switched OFF. The point behind this is that ovens are insulated, and you want to keep the pot at a steady 105 to 110 degrees F. Leave the yogurt undisturbed overnight. Although tempting, fight the urge to touch the pot!
- Take the pot out of the oven. Remove the skin from the top of the pot, place the yogurt in cheesecloth set into a colander set over a bowl, and let the whey drain until the yogurt is thick and creamy. This will yield Greek-style yogurt. If you prefer a thinner yogurt, omit the last step. Refrigerate and enjoy with everything and anything!
Much ado about yogurt from Food Republic: