We are one yogurt loving family, but living on Saipan makes finding plain yogurt difficult and expensive. If you’re like us, you have limited options:
1. Scour the grocery stores on island and go home empty handed, having spent more money on gas than you would have on yogurt.
2. Drive all around looking in grocery stores and finally find some but use all your gas money to buy it.
3. Park it (your car) and make it your own dang self. Save your gas money for something better like driving to the beach.
I considered option 3 many times, but thought it might be way too labor intensive. While it is a little tedious, it gets easier after you’ve done it a couple of times. Plus, you can use all the money you save to buy other ridiculously priced items like gas masks, a generator, duct tape and heavy duty plastic sheeting. You know, just in case North Korea wants to bomb you because you make freakishly awesome yogurt.
What you’ll need:
A cooking thermometer
Sanitized glass jars with lids
8 cups of whole milk
4 tablespoons of plain yogurt
1. Sanitize your jars and prep all your ingredients.
2. Pour 8 cups of whole milk into a pot, stirring constantly until it reaches 180°F.
3. Fill your sink with cold water and transfer the pot to the sink. Let the pot sit in the cool water and bring the heat down to 110 degrees.
4. Mix in 4 tablespoons of plain yogurt. Please make sure to buy the kind that has active cultures, it will say so right on the label. Whisk the yogurt in gently until it is fully incorporated with the milk.
7. Put your jars into a cooler, I used a small styrofoam container and filled it almost to the rim with 110 degree water. The temperature is really important here; too low and you may get runny yogurt, too high and you will end up with a cheesy consistency.
8. Place your cooler in an area where it won’t be bothered or moved and where there won’t be any draft. Let the yogurt incubate in the cooler for at least six hours.
9. After six hours, put your jars in the fridge and cool for another two to four hours.
It will look like this. If you want creamy Greek style yogurt, you’ll have to strain it over cheesecloth and remove the whey. That’s whey too much work for me.
You can do all sorts of things with your yogurt batch, including adding some sugar and vanilla for flavoring after mixing in the starter. Plain yogurt is the best though, and you’ll be able to do so much more with it in your kitchen. I hope this has been helpful, especially for all the families out there with yogurt monsters that creep into the refrigerator at night and steal spoonfuls of creamy goodness. Enjoy!