Yogurt: The Dish That Practically Makes Itself

Jar of fresh homemade yogurt
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Hectic mom schedules and homemade yogurt go hand in hand. Yogurt essentially makes itself: You simply mix the ingredients and let them stand. Whatever your milk preference – skim, whole or 2 percent – the technique stays the same. With no special ingredients, skills or equipment required, you can't afford not to make yogurt at home. If only everything you cooked for your family were this easy!

Total Time: 30 minutes | Prep Time: 30 minutes | Serves: makes 1/2 gallon

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 gallon milk, any fat content
  • 1/2 cup yogurt with active cultures, or 2 tablespoons of yogurt starter

Directions:

  1. Heat the milk on the stove over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or other heavy pan with a tight-fitting lid. Stir the milk as it heats, and take it off the stove when it reaches 200F.
  2. Let the milk cool to between 112F and 115F, stirring occasionally. Next, ladle out about 1 cup of the warm milk, and whisk it with the yogurt until smooth.
  3. Stir the milk-yogurt mixture into the warm milk and cover the Dutch oven. Transfer the Dutch oven to the conventional oven and turn on the oven light.
  4. Let the yogurt coagulate in the oven for 4 hours. Check the yogurt's thickness; if it's too thin, let it stand until it reaches the desired thickness. Take the yogurt out of the oven.
  5. Whisk the yogurt until it develops a creamy texture. Transfer the yogurt to an airtight storage container, and chill it in the refrigerator until cold before serving. Store the yogurt up to two weeks in the fridge.

Tip

For easy frozen yogurt, sweeten plain yogurt to taste with your favorite sweetener dissolved in a touch of milk, and add secondary ingredients, such as citrus zest and chopped fruit. Add the yogurt to a bowl and freeze it, uncovered, stirring every 20 to 30 minutes until it's frozen.