The Kiddo has a nearly unholy love for yogurt. It is his failsafe, will-eat-anytime food even when he won’t eat anything else. I make it myself for two reasons:
1. It’s SO much cheaper. A quart of organic milk to make my own yogurt costs me $1.50. A quart of organic yogurt in the store costs me $3.59 (and the YoBaby packs are even more expensive than that).
2. MY yogurt has vitamin D in it; store bought organic does not. I absolutely could not find whole milk yogurt with vitamin D. At all. And since The Kiddo doesn’t eat much else, he needs all the fat for his growing little brain.
So, in a nutshell, here’s my method, adapted from Alton Brown’s method. It’s long but not as complicated as it looks. Tweak according to what supplies you have on hand.
I start with a 4-cup glass Pyrex measuring cup. I add 1/3 cup sugar, 1/2 cup dry milk powder (the added protein thickens the yogurt), and a splash of vanilla or maple syrup.
Microwave it for three minutes at a time, stirring at the end of each 3 minutes to dissolve the milk and sugar. After two cycles, check the temp; you want it to get to 180 degrees. Add a third cycle if needed to hit 180.
Now it sits until it’s down to 119 degrees (120 is the temp that kills yogurt bacteria and cultures; this is bad). While it’s cooling, set out 2 Tbsp. of yogurt from your last batch of yogurt, or of store bought yogurt; just make sure the label says it contains live active cultures. Cultures are your friends.
Also take this time to set up your incubation system. I put a heating pad in the bottom of my gigantosaurus 6.75 quart Le Creuset oven, and put four glasses (just regular drinking glasses, but big ones) on top of the heating pad. Go ahead and turn the heating pad on to medium to be warming the glasses and pan so as not to shock the milk when you pour it in.
When the milk in the Pyrex is cooled to 1119, take a spoonful of milk at a time and stir it (gently!) into your 2 Tbsp. of milk till it’s thinned enough to be pourable. Then pour it all back into the Pyrex and stir well (gently, still).
Pour this mixture into your warmed cups and put the lid on the French oven. Drop a thermometer probe into one of the cups so you can monitor the temperature. Around 108-115 is ideal. 120 is death to yogurt, so set the temp alarm (if you have one) to 118 so you have warning and can change the temp if needed before all your work is lost.
Now you wait! The longer it incubates, the tarter it will be. Since it’s for The Kiddo and he likes it sweet, I only incubate for about three or four hours. After three hours I gently tip one of the glasses a bit and see if it’s mostly set up. If it is, great! Gently (do you see a theme here?) move it to the fridge and let it sit overnight to finish setting up. In the morning: voila! Yogurt. And it is SO good. I eat it with granola, The Kiddo eats it plain.