Yogurt is a thick cultured dairy product produced by using lactic acid bacteria to ferment milk. It has a sour, tangy flavor which can be sweetened and flavored easily.
How to Make Yogurt
There are many different varieties of yogurt, so this recipe is just a template. For more thorough instructions, see How to Make Yogurt at Home by Serious Eats.
- Milk – The more fat in your milk, the thicker your final yogurt will be. Most difficult to make with ultra-pasteurized milk and UHT shelf-stable milk.
- Starter culture – The lactic acid bacteria responsible for fermenting your milk. There are many options but I recommend working with whey or existing yogurt since they’re easy to obtain.
- Scald the milk by bringing it up to about 180 or 190°F (82 to 88°C). This helps to kill unwanted microbes and denatures the whey protein lactoglobulin which helps to create the right texture in the finished product. The longer you scald your milk, the thicker your final yogurt will be. Remember to scrape the bottom of the pan during this process or you will burn your milk.
- Cool the milk to around 105 to 113°F (41 to 45°C) to prevent killing off your starter culture.
- Add your starter culture and mix it in thoroughly.
- Incubate your yogurt between 86°F and 110°F (30°C and 43°C). The lower the temperature, the longer it will take to incubate but the more delicate the flavor. The longer you let the yogurt incubate, the firmer and more sour it will be.
- Strain the yogurt to make it even thicker if you like. The remaining whey can be used for other projects.
Uses for Yogurt
- Can be eaten on its own or with flavorings for breakfast or a light snack. Particularly good with fruit, chocolate, and granola.
- Can be combined with fresh herbs to make a savory dressing or sauce
- Can be substituted for other thick cultured dairy products
- Greek Yogurt – Thicker and more tart than regular yogurt.