Reader Tips on Making Your Own Yogurt

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MOTHER readers come through with their best tips for making your own yogurt.

Yogurt making trust certainly be one of those basic, well-loved arts that brings out the ingenuity in people! Barbara Thiel’s “Make Yer Own” article in MOTHER NO. 14, at any rate, certainly inspired a flood of favorite down-home methods for brewing up a batch of the creamy treat. Most–although quite inventive–are variations on the same theme, however, so we now consider our yogurt class closed for the time being. 

Watch the Cord

The yogurt maker in MOTHER NO. 14 works great except that too much heat builds up in the bottom can where the light bulb is.. . my cord began to melt and smoked up the first batch I made. On later tries, I ended up putting the cord and attachment for the bulb on the outside and left only the bulb itself on the inside.

Robin Shaw
New York, N.Y,

Incubate With Towels

I, too, am a yogurt fan but was taught a way of incubating that’s cheaper and easier than Barbara Thiel’s, After you put your yogurt in the jars, wrap each container in a terry cloth towel or piece of heavy material. Put the jars in a pot (or clam steamer or metal box or cooler or whatever) which has also been lined with towels. Place the lid on the pot, put a weight of any kind on the lid and just let things sit for six to eight hours. Delicious!

Nancy Cox
Woods Hole, Mass.

No Yogurt Maker Needed

Barbara Thiel’s method of making yogurt is novel and makes for interesting reading, but it’s not as practical and money-saving as mine . . . which uses very little electricity and costs practically retiring because there IS no yogurt maker involved.

All I do is first heat a quart or two of milk to just about the boiling point (I use raw milk when I can because it’s creamier and contains all the healthful nutrients removed during the pasteurizing of commercial milk). Then I let the milk coat to almost room temperature and add half a cup of yogurt for each quart of milk used. After I’ve stirred the yogurt into the milk (stir until all lumps are dissolved), I pour the mixture into a clean, warmed–run the dish under hot water or place it in an oven for a few seconds until it’s warm , not hot -casserole dish. Any dish will do so long as it has a cover and isn’t made of metal . . . metals may have a tendency to react with the bacteria in the yogurt.

After I cover the dish, I wrap it in a towel so that the heat is retained inside and leave it till eight hours later when i check–gently–to see if it’s solidified and is the consistency that I like (Usually I make my yogurt at night and refrigerate it in the morning).

The nice tittle gadgets are fine if you’re in a crafty mood and want to try something different, but I’ve used this method for over a year now , . . and it works every time with a minimum of fuss.

Carol Hupping
Catasauqua, Pa.

Another Idea for a Yogurt Maker

MOTHER has shown several methods of making yogurt, but they alt seem to be rather involved. May I add my 2¢ worth?

If you have an old beer cooler, a candy thermometer, a container to put the culture in and some leftover yogurt you really only need to spend money for a quart of milk (skim works fine). And if you start the yogurt near midnight and use the following method, you can limit the subsequent “work” to putting a delicious batch of the stuff in the refrigerator the next morning:

1. Heat milk to simmer (about 170°F).

2. Pour two or three inches of 130° water in the cooler.

3. Quickly cool the milk to 130° by setting the pan in a bigger pot of said water and stirring with a thermometer (easier than with a spoon, really).

4, Beat about 1/3 cup of yogurt until any lumps disappear and then beat the milk while you add the yogurt.

5, Pour into containers (I use one-cup plastic glasses with snap-on lids), place these in the cooler–hot water should be level with the top of the milk-yogurt mixture–and put the cooler lid on tight.

6. Leave the whole thing alone for five to seven hours–till it sets–and then put lids on the glasses and refrigerate. Turns o ut just right.

Sue Friend
Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Yogurt Making With a Glass Jar

Why complicate things? Try NOT making yet own yogurt maker (MOTHER NO. 14) . . . just stick your glass jars–filled with the 120°F yogurt mixture–into a carton, fill the empty spaces with crumpled-up newspaper, wrap an old blanket or steeping bag around the whole caboodle, stick it under your bed or in some other out-of-the-way place and have two (six? ten?) jars of yogurt in about six hours.

By the way, if you want thick, smooth yogurt, add one cup of non-instant powdered milk to each quart of liquid milk. Although I do blend the powdered version witty the regular cow’s juice I’ve found that heating it with the rest of the liquid tends to make the finished yogurt lumpy. Anyway, as long as the end product is between 115° and 120° you’re in good shape.

If you use the powdered culture for a starter, don’t get discouraged. It sometimes takes up to twelve hours to get the first batch to set. Start by making no more than one quart (use a lot of starter) . . . consecutive batches will take less time by and by.

Elisabeth Braam
Reno, Nev.