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Yes, you can go to the grocery store and buy yogurt, and it is very easy to do just that, however, it seems a challenge and an interesting one, to make your very own. Offer it to a friend and proudly let them know, “I made it myself.” Your friends will be impressed I am sure, and will probably think it was a very time consuming and difficult procedure. However, we know better! Not everything needs to be purchased commercially we can enjoy knowing that we have the skill to make some of our very own recipes!

Yogurt is milk that has been fermented with beneficial bacteria. The starter for the “beneficial bacteria” can be plain unflavored yogurt purchased from the grocery store or pure culture from a health food store.

The equipment used for making yogurt must be extremely clean. The growth of bacteria must be the “good” kind and not the harmful.

Commercial Yogurt Maker
Some may prefer to use a commercial yogurt maker they work very well and are inexpensive. They have a constant even temperature that is electrically heated. The instructions come with the appliance. Personally I find it “not much of a challenge.”

PLAIN AND SIMPLE
This method takes a little longer, but is less expensive and more “back to basics.” Heat milk to boiling point but do not allow to boil. Let the milk cool to lukewarm and then add ½ cup yogurt for each quart of milk. Mix yogurt well leaving no lumps. Warm a large casserole dish in low oven or with hot water. Place the milk and yogurt mixture in the dish and cover. Wrap the casserole dish in a large towel and set in a warm area. Let set without disturbing for at least 6-8 hours. Check the yogurt “gently” if it seems thick enough then place in refrigerator right away. It is served when chilled well. This is a simple and easy way, however it is not foolproof. The main problem is to maintain a constant temperature of 115 degrees. Keeps trying you will master this technique in time.

YOGURT IN AN OVEN
A bowl that tends to retain its heat well is good to use for making yogurt in an oven. An earthenware bowl works well for this particular project. Use one quart of milk to ¼ cup of commercial yogurt. You will need a thermometer to attach to the side of the bowl. Place the bowl in the oven and bring the heat very slowly up to about 120 degrees. Turn the oven off and let cool to about 90 degrees. Keep the heat between 90 and 105 degrees; you will need to turn the oven off and on as the temperature fluctuates. This will take 2-3 hours. Check often until desired consistency is achieved.

CREAM CHEESE FROM YOGURT
After making yogurt do not place in refrigerator but pour directly into a colander lined with a porous cloth. Place a bowl under colander to catch whey or liquid. Allow dripping for a few minutes then hang the cloth by pulling the four corners together and tying over the sink faucet. Or simply be inventive! Let it hang for 6-8 hours then remove and store in refrigerator. Delicious!


DID SOMETHING GO WRONG?
* If you use pure yogurt culture it might take longer to thicken.
* Make sure the starter is fresh. The starter should be less than 5-6 days old.
* Make sure the mixture is the right temperature use a thermometer.
* Do not disturb the incubating yogurt. No “tilting or bumping” it could cause the whey to break apart and become much like cottage cheese.
Keep yogurt for up to 8 days refrigerated and in an airtight container. You may freeze it for several months.