You need a clean, preferrably sterile jar or lidded container to grow your yogurt in, a pot, a thermometer that goes over 200 degrees, milk that has not been ultra-pasturized (I used Promised Land dairy), and some starter yogurt that has active, live cultures (After you make your own you will use your own yogurt as a starter. For the first time just buy some plain yogurt at the store). You will need 2-3 tablespoons, or up to 1/4 cup of yogurt plus 2-3 cups to up to a quart of milk.
Note: These images reflect two different yogurt making sessions. The first one I used a double boiler, but it wasn’t necessary. I also tried sweetening the yogurt while heating the milk as one recipe suggested but I used agave and it didn’t ever set (hence the two different sessions). The second time I sweetened after the yogurt was set and that worked just fine.
Heat milk until boiling, but don’t let it scald. Stir, stir stir!
To cool it down quickly, put your pot of heated milk in an ice water bath. Clip on your thermometor and let it cool until it hits 110 degrees. Pour off a cup of milk and mix it with your yogurt starter. Add the rest of the milk and mix well.
You want the yogurt to stay warm for a few hours while it…yos? gurts? Anyway, there are lots of ways of doing this but since I was making mine in a mason jar I figured the easiest was to use a heating pad. I set mine on medium (mine doesn’t get very hot so you may want to use low) and wrapped it with a bungee cord to keep it on (made me feel like the love child of MacGyver and my machinist hubby)! I checked the temp after a few minutes and it was where it needed to be, right at 100 degrees.
I covered it all with a towel so the heat wouldn’t escape from the top and in a few hours I had yogurt. It was delicious, fresh and clean tasting, and my son ate it mixed with fresh fruit. We also made smoothies and other delicious things so more recipes will be forthcoming!