Home Made Yogurt

by Anne Bennett on August 12, 2009

I’m visiting my girlfriend Kaye in Vail, Colorado, and after only two days I know first-hand why Colorado has the nation’s lowest adult obesity rate. ¬†People come here to be active, skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer. The most common way to get around town is either on foot or bicycle. I know–I have the sore shins to prove it. I don’t think there’s anywhere we haven’t walked (and I’m afraid to ask for fear that Kaye will think of a place we missed and make me walk there). And when we aren’t walking, we’re riding bicycles. No wonder everyone here looks so fit.

Being active is just one facet of Colorado’s healthy lifestyle. They eat well here too. Kaye introduced me to a delicious home made yogurt which we’ve been eating for breakfast with fresh local peaches. Sublime. The recipe comes from an article in the New York Times by food scientist and writer Harold McGee, The Curious Cook. ¬†It’s easy to make, it’s much better than anything you can buy and it costs a fraction of what commercial yogurt costs. You won’t want to settle for anything else once you’ve tasted this.


Breakfast on a sunny Colorado morning

Home Made Yogurt

1 quart 2% milk
2 T. plain commercial yogurt (any kind of commercial yogurt will work)

1. Heat milk in a saucepan to 180 to 190 degrees. (It should just be steaming and beginning to form bubbles)

2. Remove milk from heat and allow to cool to 115 to 120 degrees. (It will feel very warm but not hot)

3. Place the 2 T. of yogurt into a bowl and add a bit of the warm milk. Stir to dissolve the yogurt and add the remaining milk. Cover and keep warm until it sets, at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

There are several ways to keep the yogurt warm. You can wrap several towels around the bowl and place it in a draft-free place, or put it in a turned-off oven with the light on.

Harold said it will set up in 4 hours, but Kaye kept hers in the oven overnight and it turned out perfectly.

Kaye and I experimented with both whole milk and 2 % milk. The yogurt made with the 2% milk was a bit less thick than the whole milk version. I took the 2% yogurt and made Greek-style yogurt, which is thicker than regular, following Harold’s suggestion to spoon the fresh yogurt into a fine-mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth (a paper coffee filter works too), set it over a bowl and let drain an hour or so. This results in a thick, creamy yogurt that tastes much richer than it actually is, and can be used in all sorts of recipes. For more information, go to Harold’s article in the link above.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

AmyPrevot Kamm August 12, 2009 at 1:45 pm

I’ve been wondering about the homemade yogurt thing. SO how long does it keep for or is it so delectable you eat it all right away?

Kaye August 15, 2009 at 7:56 pm

note to amy: i’ve made double batches that have kept nicely (at 1c/day, a double would have lasted at least 8 days).

another note re: personal experience–i do enjoy thicker (greek-style) yogurt but find the straining process, well, straining. having noticed that whey tends to pool in depressions in the yogurt’s surface, i got the notion to chill the yogurt initially in a container with a broader base (rather than more upright–i use a lidded pyrex casserole) and to spoon the first serving totally from the side and down to the bottom (rather than skimming from the top). after the first serving has been removed, the whey will naturally drain to the vacancy while the yogurt simply sits in the fridge. voila–“self-straining” yogurt! and no cheesecloth to scrape and rinse.

admin August 16, 2009 at 6:18 am

Why didn’t I think of that?

jani August 20, 2009 at 9:50 pm

I’m bummed you didn’t stop in Denver to say hello. This recipe sounds wonderful, I’ll give it a try.

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