Homemade Yogurt in a Box
Illustration by Cyndi Coon
Got a little bit of yogurt left in the refrigerator but not enough for your brunch in the morning? Use the remaining amount to create a new batch of homemade yogurt.
Yogurt takes time to make. We all take this for granted because we can buy it for fifty cents a cup in the grocery store. In reality, the prep work is pretty quick. The real time investment is in waiting for it to sit and culture. You don't have to stick around for that, though. The magic can work overnight while you are peacefully sleeping. And in the long run, making your own yogurt can really save you some cash.
This totally worked and tasted good. It was not as thick as yogurt you might buy but the flavor was great.
To begin this process you'll need a starter yogurt. This is any small container of plain yogurt you buy at the grocery store. What you need from this host is the active live cultures; this is friendly bacteria that turns your milk into yogurt. Buy plain yogurt, not flavored, you can always flavor your yogurt later.
Next you need an incubator and you can use many things for this. This recipe uses cardboard boxes and newspapers. You want to place two cardboard boxes inside each other, filling the space in between with crumpled newspapers. Now you want to ready your heating element. For this recipe we use glass jars. Fill four to six one-quart jars (depending on the size of the box) with hot water, using a thermometer to make sure the water reaches 140 degrees.
Now for your yogurt containers you'll use small plastic butter tubs that you've saved, washed thoroughly and allowed to air dry completely. Fill the plastic tubs with yogurt recipe and place them inside the layered boxes with the hot water jars. Allow space between jars and container(s) of yogurt. Place a thermometer inside.
Cover top and sides with several blankets to keep the warmth in.
To recap, here's what you'll need:
Plain starter yogurt
Two cardboard boxes
Milk or half and half
Plastic bowls with lids
1. Measure 4 cups of whole milk or ½ and ½ into saucepan
2. Heat on stove but be sure to remove from heat before boiling
3. Mix in one cup fresh, plain yogurt (your host)
4. Pour mixture into plastic tubs and cover with lids
5. Set into cardboard boxes with hot water bottles for about eight hours making sure temperature stays around 120 degrees
6. Refrigerate before using
7. Mix in fresh or frozen fruit to flavor
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