Last week, I had some milk in the fridge that needed using, so I decided I'd try what I'd been thinking about for a while - making yogurt. I did have plain yogurt in the fridge, and all I knew about yogurt making is that you put a little plain yogurt in, and the milk should just do it all by itself.
But given that there's such a thing as a "yogurt maker", and people talk about using crock pots and heating pads and whatnot, I went looking for directions. The first site I found was http://makeyourownyogurt.com/
I didn't have a big enough double boiler - I didn't have a crock pot - but I did have a thermometer!
I put a quart jar's worth of milk in a pan, heated while stirring constantly, and I mean CONSTANTLY, and took the temp every few minutes. At one point, Kittyboy got himself assigned to stir, while I hunted for a better food thermometer. And he did stand there quite responsibly, never stopped stirring, and at no point did he stick his fingers on the edge of the pan, into the heating milk, or on the burner (all of which he was sternly and repeatedly warned about beforehand). He can be a good helper when he wants.
Finally, after oh, forty-five minutes or so of stirring over a hot stove, it was heated to 180. I put the pan in a sink of cold water and stirred until it was just down to 110, stirred in a good-sized dollop of plain yogurt, and for lack of any means of keeping it warm, just covered the pan and set it back on the stove on the turned-off-but-still-warm burner. I figured, people have made this for centuries without necessarily a means of keeping it evenly and consistently warm - a crock pot or heating pad might make it take only 7 hours, but maybe I could just leave it for longer, like 24?
After eight hours or so, before I went to bed that night, I peeked. Hmmm - smelled like spoiling milk. I figured it was going to be a learning experience and went to bed.
The next morning - creamy white yogurt!! There was no whey to stir back in, the texture was even, it was perfect! It's whiter than store-bought, which I thought was funny, too. It worked great! Next time, I'm going to leave it longer to get thicker. This time, I was just so thrilled to have yogurt that I just jarred it up right then.
So far, I've twice made a bowl of homemade ranch dip for carrots, and used it as a base for beef and noodles. It goes well in place of sour cream, too.
Anyone have any good yogurt recipes to share?