Before you get started this recipe assumes you have what I had when making homemade yogurt. These are One quart of whole milk, at least a half cup of Greek-style plain “full fat” yogurt (homemade or store-bought), an oven with a “Bread Proof” setting, and a clean white pillowcase. Sounds interesting so far, right?
When my folks were first married, and starting out in life on a limited budget as some newlyweds are, a lot of what they ate and made were “homemade” or from scratch. Yogurt is a staple in Persian cuisine, my mother recalls my father’s yogurt pillow case, full of homemade yogurt, tied to their kitchen faucet, “dripping” all night long.
So let's talk the science behind yogurt: Two necessary bacterias are needed in yogurt;
Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus. The half cup portions that you introduce to your milk for this recipe has those bacteria required in them. You may also purchase “yogurt starters” that will have the necessary bacteria in them as well. Follow the directions for that when making yogurt. Now for the science part of all of this, these critters start gobbling up the milk sugars (lactose) in their warm environment. Which in turn starts producing lactic acid. The lactic acid starts curdling the milk protein and also gives the yogurt that nice tart flavoring. For the bacteria to survive and do all this eating and “producing” you have to keep them in a pleasant warm environment. That's why the steady and constant temperature of 100-115 degrees is needed. When you go above that, you essentially kill the bacteria and have nothing but hot, sour milk.
With all the various kinds, styles, and flavors of yogurt, making your own doesn’t seem that necessary… and is much less consuming…Not to mention your savings on home bed linen. But, when you’re feeling your kitchen authenticity, or like a “bread starter,” you go from one batch to the other, making homemade yogurt can be quite satisfying. Basically, I have no legit argument for making your own yogurt. If you go through enough yogurt in your household, if you enjoy new kitchen challenges, then make your own. If not, yogurt shop to your heart’s desire.
Yogurt (According to Scotty)
1-quart whole milk
1/2 cup whole plain Greek Style yogurt, or the last of your previously made yogurt
If your oven has a “Bread Proof” setting, this is the setting that allows bread proofing to happen in your oven and reaches the temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit, then bully for you! If not and you have a Yogurt Incubator, or somewhere in your home with a constant temperature zone of 100-115 degrees, then use that source. We’re growing bacteria here, folks. So activate the Proof setting in your oven.
In a large sauce pot add the cold milk and begin to heat slowly. DO NOT BOIL, just gently heat the milk until steam begins to rise from the top. Stir regularly so that a “skin” does not form or the milk does not scorch on the bottom of the pot.
Pour the scalded milk into a clean nonmetal bowl and allow to cool to 100-105 degrees… just right above body temp. So, slightly warmer than your own body temp.
Stir in the 1/2 cup of yogurt; do not whisk or mix in aggressively… just gently stir in with a spoon.
Cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the oven for 12-15 hours.
After 12-15 hours remove from the oven. Spoon the yogurt into a CLEAN pillowcase. Bunch up the top and tie with roasting twine. Hang the pillowcase above a bowl to catch the whey/water that drips from the pillowcase. Allow for dripping 1-3 hours depending on how thick you enjoy the yogurt.
Place the finished yogurt into an airtight nonmetal container and store in the fridge up to one week. Sweeten with honey and add fruit, vanilla, almond flavoring or cinnamon. Great with fresh fruit as well. For a more savory option make your own cucumber mint yogurt!
Use the last 1/2 cup of yogurt to make a fresh batch if desired.