By Liesl Clark
I’m amazed at how hard it is to find yogurt in glass. Supermarket yogurt is all in plastic containers and if you’re trying to keep your family plastic-free, yogurt would have to be taken off your list. Unless you make your own.
We’ve been making yogurt for about 10 years now and it wasn’t until about 2 years ago that I realized I didn’t have to make it in a yogurt maker with those tiny little jars. When I was 16, I recall making yogurt on the beach in a big camp pot when we were camping during the summer on the island of Corsica in France. The simple process of making yogurt in a pot, bowl or jars in the sun or by a fire should’ve stuck with me, but somehow I became complacent thinking I needed a yogurt maker to make the good stuff. Not so.
Today, I make yogurt in bulk — large quart mason jars of it so I can share starter with friends or barter it for other fresh produce or home-made goodies. I don’t need any electricity to make it so I call it off-the-grid yogurt, reminiscent of my teen days in France.
This yogurt is the best I’ve ever made or tasted. All started from organic Greek full cream goat’s milk yogurt. But now I simply use our local organic whole milk as the yogurt’s main ingredient, which is delivered once a week to our home. This yogurt lasts in the fridge for months without molding!
All you need is a couple of tablespoons of leftover yogurt as your starter for the next batch. We usually make at least 2 quarts of yogurt.
Whole milk (at least 1 quart)
2 Tablespoons yogurt (I prefer organic)
Jars with lids
Pour your favorite whole milk into a pot. There’s no exact measurement for this, just pour as much milk as you want yogurt. It’s basically a 1:1 ratio of milk to finished yogurt.
Set your timer for about 8 minutes so you don’t let the milk boil over.
You want to heat up the milk until it scalds. You’ve scalded it when little bubbles start to appear on the sides of the pot and a film develops on the surface.
Turn the heat off and take the yogurt off the burner to cool. Let it cool to room temperature. Add your 2 tablespoons of yogurt and with a wire whisk, whisk the yogurt completely into the milk. Pour the milk/yogurt mix into jars.
Place your jars of yogurt into a pot of warm water. You want to create a warm water bath. I simply put my pot of water over our pilot light and that’s enough to keep the jars warm overnight. You can also place the jars on a warm lintel above your fire in a towel or blanket for warmth. The key is to have a spot that is consistently warm for 8-12 hours. The longer you let your yogurt mixture sit in the warmth, the firmer it gets. I go about 12 hours.
When it’s to the consistency you like, put it in the fridge to let it cool. Enjoy!
My friend Rebecca has another method, which I call the warm cooler method: It involves putting your yogurt jars-in-the-making in a cooler surrounded by other jars of warm water and some blankets and towels. Check out her excellent method here.
Looking for other sweet things you can do with your jars? Please visit our Trash Backwards app for great jar reuse ideas. Here’s a sampling of the hundreds of great things to do with mason jars: