10 ways to culture yogurt without a yogurt maker

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Home-made yogurt is both tastier & cheaper than store-bought yogurt, plus it"s extremely simple lớn make; you just have lớn be patient. You also don"t need any special equipment to make the yogurt. All you require is a cooking pot, a (heat-safe) non-metal container big enough khổng lồ hold the milk, và your stove và oven.

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If you also want khổng lồ drain your yogurt in order to lớn make Greek-style yogurt (which I always do, because it"s DELICIOUS), then you"ll also need a spaghetti strainer, a large bowl, and a clean tea-towel or pillowcase you"re willing to lớn use as a cheese-cloth. The first six steps of this Instructable will cover how khổng lồ make home-made yogurt. Step seven covers how khổng lồ drain it in order to make Greek-style yogurt, và step eight contains my favourite ways lớn flavour home-made yogurt!


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Step 1: Ingredients và Overview


Ingredients:

2 litres of milk (2 quarts) 1 small container of plain, store-bought yogurt that says it contains "live" or "active" bacteria on its ingredients list

Equipment:

A cooking pot large enough khổng lồ hold all the milk A heat-resistant, non-metal bowl/container large enough to lớn hold all the milk A whisk if you have one, or a fork and spoon if you don"t A stove to lớn heat the milk on An oven with a functioning oven light khổng lồ incubate the yogurt in

Further equipment if you want Greek-style yogurt:

A spaghetti strainer (i.e. A colander) A bowl large enough khổng lồ nest the strainer inside of, with a bit of clearance underneath the strainer A clean tea-towel, or pillowcase, or (if you"re swanky!) an actual cheese-cloth

The Basic Idea:

Making yogurt consists of sterilizing the milk by bringing it to lớn a boil, letting it cool to lớn a temperature that yogurt bacteria will thrive at, adding a dollop of store-bought yogurt khổng lồ the milk in order to lớn dose it with the right kind of bacteria, và then keeping the whole concoction at the right temperature for about 8 khổng lồ 12 hours so the bacteria can grow.


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Step 2: Sterilizing the Milk


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Depending on how experienced you are in the kitchen, the next step will either be super-easy, or a potentially terrifying, lava-like kitchen disaster. The TL;DR version of this is: You want khổng lồ bring the milk to lớn a boil.

However! Milk tends to (1) burn on the bottom of the pot before it boils, and (2) boil over the top of the pot INSANELY quickly once it reaches the right temperature.

So first, inspect your pot. Is the metal thick or thin? If it"s thick và heavy, then you can probably bởi vì what I do: Pour your milk into the pot, put it on a stove burner set khổng lồ about ba phần tư of its maximum heat, và let the milk warm up.

For my stovetop, the milk takes about 14 minutes to boil at that temperature, và although the milk does brown on the bottom of the pot, that doesn"t adversely affect the milk"s flavour, & I don"t have to lớn stir while it"s heating. (But I *do* have to soak và scrub my pot lớn get it clean afterward, however.)

If your pot is made of thin metal, then you need lớn stir the milk constantly as it heats up in order to prevent it scorching on the bottom of the pot. (Burnt-tasting yogurt would be disgusting! Also, scorched milk is a pain lớn scrub off the bottom of your pot.) Again, mix your stove element lớn about 3/4 of its maximum value. If your stove is lượt thích mine, it should take about 14 minutes khổng lồ boil.

Now the dangerous, potentially-messy thing you must guard against: When milk finally decides it"s at the right temperature to boil, it will very rapidly go from "I"m just a wee bit frothy and bubbly" to "WHOO-HOO! VOLCANO IMITATION!"

Thus, for the sake of your stovetop, watch that pot lượt thích a hawk once it starts khổng lồ look lượt thích it"s close khổng lồ boiling. You will literally only have about 3 seconds khổng lồ pull it off the heat once it starts to foam up.

Once the milk starts to lớn foam up, take it off the heat, & pour it into the non-metal bowl or container you plan khổng lồ use lớn incubate your yogurt culture in. The hot milk will sterilize your container.

Please cảnh báo the container MUST be non-metal because metal self-sterilizes, i.e. It kills bacteria, including our friendly yogurt bacteria that we want lớn nurture. This is why door handles in institutional settings are often unvarnished metal; after about 8 hours, most of the bacteria on the metal will be dead. (But the viruses won"t be, sadly.)


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Step 3: Cooling the Milk & Preparing the Oven


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Leave the milk lớn cool at room temperature for about an hour. If you"ve got a thermometer, you can kiểm tra whether the milk temperature has gotten down khổng lồ roughly 40 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit), but you don"t have to be exact about this. You want the milk khổng lồ be roughly body toàn thân temperature, and an hour should bởi it, unless the air temperature of your house is particularly hot or cool.

While you"re waiting for the milk lớn cool, turn on your oven light (but not the oven! That would be too hot for our bacteria), và keep the oven door closed to lớn hold the warmth in.

By the way, if you forget khổng lồ turn on the oven light now, just vì chưng it before you put the milk into the oven lớn incubate. I"ve made that error, but it has never hurt my yogurt.


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Step 4: Dosing the Milk With Yogurt Bacteria


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Once your milk has cooled khổng lồ roughly body toàn thân temperature, a skin will likely have developed on the surface of the milk. Scoop that skin off and either eat it or discard it. (My husband loves this stuff. I have no idea why, but okay, he can have it.)

Next, you want to plop some yogurt bacteria into the warm, sterile milk so they can start building their yogurty empire for you.

The yogurt bacteria will come from your small container of plain, store-bought yogurt. As long as the ingredient menu on the yogurt says it contains "active" or "live" bacteria, it should work.

Put a spoonful of the store-bought yogurt into your milk & whisk it in with a fork (or an actual whisk, if you have one.) You only need one generous spoonful of the store-bought yogurt in your milk. I usually buy the smallest-possible kích thước of yogurt, then use it as my starter culture for three or four home-made batches of yogurt.

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Step 5: Incubating Your Yogurt


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Now that the milk has been dosed with friendly yogurt bacteria, you need to keep this milk/yogurt concoction warm for 8 to lớn 12 hours. This gives the bacteria time to lớn turn all the milk into yogurty goodness.

Your incubator is just going lớn be your oven with the oven light turned on to keep things cosy, but not hot. Put your bowl of milk/yogurt into the oven, close the door, & leave it for 8 to 12 hours.

By the way, I find the yogurt is noticeably better if I wait the full 12 hours as compared to lớn only incubating it for 8 or even 10 hours. I"ve heard of people leaving their yogurt to incubate for a full 24 hours, but I"ve never had the guts lớn try that.

Also, a friend of mine"s mom used to lớn make yogurt by putting the bowl on đứng đầu of her old refrigerator. The heat coming off the coils at the back of the fridge were enough lớn keep the yogurt bacteria happy! I"m not sure that would work with today"s more energy efficient refrigerators, but it might. If you don"t have a working oven light, you might consider trying this.


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Step 6: Enjoy Delicious Yogurt Immediately! Or, Make Greek Yogurt to Enjoy Later


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When the yogurt comes out, it will look like this: A white, jelly-like, solid mass with transparent, yellow-ish liquid mixed in with it.

IMPORTANT: If it does NOT look lượt thích this, i.e. If it still looks lượt thích liquid milk, then discard the whole batch. For whatever reason, the bacteria didn"t multiply, & that means the milk will have gone bad và is no longer safe to drink or use in any way. (But don"t worry, I"ve never had a batch of yogurt NOT work -- except for the time my husband turned the oven light off. Guess I should"ve put an explanatory post-it lưu ý on the stove that day...)

The white, solid stuff in your container is the yogurt, of course, và the yellow liquid you see is the whey. Both are perfectly edible. If you don"t mind watery yogurt, then you can just mix these two components together and eat/drink the yogurt like this. Lassi, an Indian drink, is made with yoghurt mixed together with all its whey, & then flavoured with cardomom, honey, và either banana or mango puree. It"s delicious!

Personally, I love my yogurt thick, so I always drain it lớn make Greek-style yogurt. The remainder of this Instructable will cover how khổng lồ drain the yogurt, with the final step listing a few of my favourite ways to lớn flavour my yogurt.

For those of you stopping here, however, I"ll chú ý that this yogurt does NOT freeze well unless you plan to blend it again after it thaws (it"d be fine for smoothies, for example.) However, it keeps in the refrigerator very well. In fact, I"ve heard it will keep for up lớn a month, although we"ve never managed to lớn refrain from devouring it for that long. Vì note, however, that if you add other ingredients lượt thích fruit or fruit juice to the yogurt, you should get it eaten within one week.


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Step 7: Draining the Whey From Your Yogurt


Greek-style yogurt is just yogurt with a lot of the whey strained out.

Take your spaghetti strainer (colander) & nest it inside a large bowl. The bowl should be deep enough the strainer doesn"t touch the bottom.

Drape whatever you"re going to lớn use as your cheese-cloth over the strainer. I used a clean tea-towel, but an old, clean pillowcase would work too. Press the fabric down to lớn make a dent in the centre of the strainer that you can pour your yogurt into.

Pour all the yogurt & whey into the cheese-cloth/strainer. Wait 5 minutes. About half a litre/quart of whey is going to lớn drain out pretty much immediately.

Unless your bowl is very deep, you probably want lớn pour the whey out now so that the yogurt isn"t sitting in a puddle of it. It won"t continue to drain very well if it is!

Re-assemble your strainer/bowl cài đặt and wait another 5 minutes. Another 1/4 of a litre/quart of whey will drain off in this time. Pour this away too, & then I recommend you stir your yogurt. By this point, the yogurt next to lớn the cheese-cloth will be noticeably drier-looking than the stuff in the middle.

Now you have a choice: Continue straining your yogurt the easy, laziness-enabled way, or get it strained faster by investing a bit more effort in it.

If you want to do it the easy way, just stick your yogurt/cheese-cloth/strainer/bowl assembly into the fridge & leave it for an hour. Or several hours. I usually boil my milk the night before, let the yogurt incubate overnight, drain off the first ten minutes" worth of whey in the morning, then stick it all in the fridge và go khổng lồ work. When I get home from work, I have this super-thick, almost crumbly yogurt (called labneh in the middle east) that can be spread on bread.

If you want your yogurt faster, however (and looking like yogurt, not ricotta cheese), then leave it lớn drain for another 15 minutes, stir, and then decide whether it"s thick enough yet. If you want it to match the consistency of store-bought Greek-style yogurt, then you probably want to drain it for an additional 15 minutes after this. The proper consistency occurs after you"ve drained off about 1 litre/quart of whey, i.e. Half the original volume of milk.

Personally, I don"t use the whey for anything, but you can địa chỉ cửa hàng it to smoothies và bread recipes lớn give them extra protein & calcium. (But be aware of the corollary lớn that last point -- when you strain your yogurt lớn make Greek-style yogurt, you are *reducing* the amount of calcium in it. Some of it leaves with the whey.)

Next, my favourite recipes for flavouring my yogurt!


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Step 8: Some Suggested Flavours for Your Yogurt


My favourite way to eat home-made Greek-style yogurt is with mashed blueberries (looooots of blueberries) và brown sugar.

I put about 2 cups of frozen blueberries in a bowl with a few tablespoons of brown sugar, then microwave it for 3 minutes to lớn make the blueberries nice and squishy. Then, of course, I squish them. Next, I địa chỉ cửa hàng a cup of yogurt, set it in well, và devour! (The yogurt is warm when you prepare it this way, but I"ve come khổng lồ prefer it like that.)

My husband"s favourite recipe is quite different, but pretty neat. We make ginger syrup, và he mixes it with his yogurt. The ginger gives the yogurt a nice, light flavour but with a bit of burn. It"s an exotic alternative to lớn vanilla yogurt!

To make a batch of ginger syrup, combine a cup of sugar with a cup of water, then grate in maybe a quarter cup of fresh ginger root. Boil everything together lớn about 225 degrees Fahrenheit, or to lớn the lower edge of the "thread" stage of candy making, then strain out the ginger root. If you find the ginger root is starting lớn burn và darken the syrup, go ahead và strain it out early, then continue boiling the syrup to the desired consistency.

Add a few tablespoons of ginger syrup lớn a cup of home-made yogurt, mix, and enjoy!

By the way, for those of you (like me) with a minimal number of kitchen gadgets, making syrup without a candy thermometer is a pain, but it"s possible. Read this webpage (https://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/candy/sugar-stages.html) khổng lồ learn the basics, và then remember you"re trying lớn get to lớn the "thread" stage. (And also remember lớn be very, very careful, because holy moly, can you ever burn yourself badly with hot sugar syrup!)

Finally, I just recently tried lemonade yogurt (fresh lemon juice & white sugar) và it was yummy! You bởi need to use very well-drained/thick yogurt for it, however, or the lemon juice will make it runny.