Over the summer, we were on a homemaking kick. We learned how to make bread (with the help of a machine), granola, and yogurt. Not wanting to invite a uni-tasking device into our home (like a yogurt maker), we were determined to do it with what we had around the house. We had to get creative, but it's absolutely possible. Here's how.
What You Need
2 cups milk (whole, 2%, or skim; organic and/or local if available)
2-3 tablespoons yogurt (either store-bought or saved from your previous batch), or cultures
Sterilized Mason jar with lid
Instant or candy thermometer
Stainless steel two-quart saucepan
Two kitchen towels
1. Set yogurt or culture on counter to bring it to room temp (70 degrees).
2. Heat milk on stove, stirring constantly so it does not scald, until it boils.
3. Cool milk to between 105-110 degrees (106 is optimal).
4. Stir in the yogurt or cultures until incorporated.
5. Pour into a clean jar.
6. Cover and keep warm (about 100 degrees), without disturbing, until creamy texture is reached. Here's where you get creative if you don't have a yogurt maker.
6a. To keep warm, place covered or closed jar inside an insulated lunch box. Completely douse a cotton kitchen towel with water, ring it out, and microwave it until hot (one minute will make it dangerously hot). Carefully remove the hot towel from the microwave and place into insulated lunchbox with the jar. This will help keep it at the optimal temperature, but you'll have to check it every half-hour or so.
6b. If you don't want to go to the trouble of microwaving kitchen towels, you can keep the yogurt warm in the oven. Set it at 100 degrees and place the jar on a baking sheet inside. Monitor closely so that the oven doesn't get too hot.
Additional Notes: The yogurt can sit anywhere from three to six hours on the counter at the right temperature. As it sits, it will develop creaminess and flavor, and there will be whey on top.
(Images: Amber Byfield for Re-Nest)