Creamy Homemade Yogurt
This is an amazing recipe for anyone who likes to use yogurt on a daily basis. The most important ingredient in this recipe is the best milk you can possibly buy. I look for local milk ideally, but a GMO-free, organic, grass-fed whole milk is your best option. The possibilities are endless when it comes to using yogurt. From granola and fruit in the morning to smoothies and even salad dressings. We like to add a few drops of lavender oil and honey* or a teaspoon of natural vanilla.
* Honey should never be given to Infants younger than 12 months. - AAP Pediatric Nutrition Handbook
4 cups USDA organic, GMO-free, grass-fed whole milk
¼ cup heavy cream (optional)
(live and active yogurt culture should be written on the ingredient list or ask store assistant if you are unsure)
You will also need a digital cooking thermometer. (I prefer to use an Allytech Digital Cooking Thermometer)
Start with a cold pot that has a tight-fitting lid. Add milk and cream (if using), bring the temp to 190 to 200 degrees over a medium-low heat. Stir the milk occasionally as it heats, when it comes to temperature remove pot from heat and let cool until it reaches 110 to 115 degrees.
Transfer 1 cup of warm milk to a small bowl and whisk in yogurt until smooth. Stir yogurt-milk mixture back into the remaining pot of warm milk. Cover pot with a large lid. Keep pot warm by wrapping it in a large towel, 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. I found that the oven with the light turned on works the best, but remember this puts your oven out of commission for 6 to 12 hours!
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 found 10 hours works great)
Transfer the pot to the refrigerator and chill for at least another 2 hours, it will continue to thicken as it chills.
After refrigeration, whisk until smooth and serve. (The yogurt will be at its best for five days after making)