Thursday, October 01, 2009


Evan has been teaching me how to make yogurt. It's actually surprisingly easy, at least going by his seemingly fool-proof recipe, and delicious. I've been eating it with leftover Indian take-out, or with dried cranberries and a dollop of buckwheat honey, or with a handful of Grape-nuts and a drizzle of maple syrup, or with a spoonful of raspberry jam, or as this morning, stirred into a bowlful of oatmeal.

Here is what we've been doing:

Heat a half-gallon of milk (we've been using 2%, though you can of course use any kind you want) over medium heat to boiling, stirring occasionally and looking out to not let it abruptly boil all over the place and make a frothy, sticky mess, as I find milk is wont to do.

Remove from heat, insert a candy thermometer, and let cool to 120 degrees. (This can be expedited by placing the saucepan in an icebath.)

Stir in 1/2 cup of active-culture yogurt (either one grocery-store bought container of yogurt, or remnants from a previous batch of home-made yogurt).

Pour mixture into plastic containers (quart-sized wonton soup take-out containers are my favorite, or at least what I've had on hand, but of course pretty much anything will do) and place in oven next to the oven light, which, if left on, should keep your oven at about 100 degrees. You might want to check this with your candy thermometer though, since some oven lights are more equal than other oven lights. (Also, beware assuming that if you turn on your oven and set it to 100 degrees, it is actually a steady 100 degrees. My oven, for example, is closer to 120 degrees when set at 100.)

Leave the yogurt in the oven for about 7 hours, and then check to see if the whey has separated and the yogurt has set. If not, leave in the oven with the light on and check every 30 minutes or so.

Once the yogurt has set, you can either pour off the whey, leaving a thicker yogurt, or, as we've been doing, just stir it back into the yogurt, making it nice and creamy.

Absolutely scrumptious, any way you have it.

One piece of advice: start this little project at a time when you won't have to wake up at 4:30 in the morning to pull the yogurt out of the oven. I'm just saying. Learn from my mistakes.

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