After my trip to Daylight last week, I felt inspired to try to make my own yogurt. I’ve always had mixed feelings about doing so because I heard that homemade yogurt may involve complicated ingredients, like yogurt culture powder and warmers (as seen here and here) But after a bit of research, I realized that it’s possible to make homemade yogurt with minimal fuss or equipment. For my first attempt, I used an easy recipe from the New York Times as a guide. I made some improvisations, such as halving the recipe, so I wouldn’t waste too many ingredients in case it didn’t work. I also liked this particular recipe, because it involves no special equipment or ingredients. Just a pot, milk, and yogurt.
The recipe I used recommended that you use some store-bought yogurt as a “starter.” Make sure that it has active cultures, since the cultures are what changes the milk into yogurt. In case you buy a local brand of yogurt that doesn’t have English labeling, then make sure it has the character 活 or 生 the ingredients list, which means “live” or “active.” This time, I used Juono yogurt, which is a basic, but good quality yogurt that can be found at Jason’s Supermarket or PX Mart.
Some of the recipes I read recommend that you rub the inside of your pot with an ice cube to prevent the milk from burning. （I tried this and it worked!) It’s also recommended that you use a heavier pot, with a lid because it will keep your mixture well-insulated and cozy during the resting time.
Then you lightly simmer the milk until it bubbles at the edges of the pot. Remove from the heat and let cool.
When the milk has cooled down (without a thermometer, it should be comfortably warm to the touch~ make sure the milk is not too hot~ otherwise you will end up killing your live and active cultures. (For a pot of this size, I estimate it took about 20 minutes for the milk to cool down sufficiently). Pour some of the milk into a small bowl, and lightly whisk in the yogurt. Then pour back into the pot.
Then just wrap the pot up in a dishtowel and let it rest for 6 to 12 hours. This is when the super-warm temperatures we are experiencing now in Taiwan really becomes a bonus. Without air-conditioning, my apartment hovers at about 28-30 C, so I decided it was probably warm enough.
6 hours later…. voila! I was pleasantly surprised with a thick, creamy and tangy yogurt that was every bit as good as the one at Daylight. You may ask, was the process worth it? In my opinion, yes! I eat yogurt quite a bit~ especially in the summer. Some of the nicer yogurt options in Taiwan can be quite expensive~ I saw a jar of homemade yogurt topping out at about $350 NTD (about $13 USD) and looking at the ingredients list, I realized that it was just live, active cultures and milk too. By planning ahead just a bit you can easily make your own~ that way you can control the quality of the ingredients that you use, and have something spectacular to enjoy every morning.
Easy Creamy Homemade Yogurt (from the New York Times)
- 2 quarts whole milk, the fresher the better
- ¼ cup heavy cream (optional)
- 3 to 4 tablespoons plain whole milk yogurt with live and active cultures
- Rub an ice cube over the inside bottom of a heavy pot to prevent scorching (or rinse the inside of the pot with cold water). Add milk and cream, if using, and bring to a bare simmer, until bubbles form around the edges, 190 to 200 degrees. Stir the milk occasionally as it heats.
- Remove pot from heat and let cool until it feels pleasantly warm when you stick your pinkie in the milk for 10 seconds, 110 to 115 degrees. (If you think you’ll need to use the pot for something else, transfer the milk to a glass or ceramic bowl, or else you can let it sit in the pot.) If you’re in a hurry, you can fill your sink with ice water and let the pot of milk cool in the ice bath, stirring the milk frequently so it cools evenly.
- Transfer 1/2 cup of warm milk to a small bowl and whisk in yogurt until smooth. Stir yogurt-milk mixture back into remaining pot of warm milk. Cover pot with a large lid. Keep pot warm by wrapping it in a large towel, or setting it on a heating pad, or moving to a warm place, such as your oven with the oven light turned on. Or just set it on top of your refrigerator, which tends to be both warm and out of the way.
- Let yogurt sit for 6 to 12 hours, until the yogurt is thick and tangy; the longer it sits, the thicker and tangier it will become. (I usually let it sit for the full 12 hours.) Transfer the pot to the refrigerator and chill for at least another 4 hours; it will continue to thicken as it chills.
Original recipe source: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1017991-creamy-homemade-yogurt
(This was not a sponsored post. All experiences and opinions expressed are my own. I paid for all items consumed with my own money)