I love yogurt but boy do I hate those plastic tubs they come in. I don’t like being party to accumulation of single-use plastic. There are brands of yogurt that are produced in glass jars but they are not widely available. If you share my love/hate for yogurt dilemma, you may be really excited to know how easy it is to make yogurt at home. Are you psyched for this?
You’ll need some equipment:
- A one quart mason jar and lid
- A kitchen thermometer
- A heating pad measuring 24inches long by 12 inches wide that does NOT automatically turn off. I ordered mine online.
- Milk. You may use whole milk or low fat milk if you have concerns about fat content.
- And yogurt! This could be your final purchase of yogurt in a plastic tub. Select a good brand of plain yogurt with no additives.
Heat one quart of milk in a saucepan over medium/low heat to between 180 – 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a wisk to stir the milk once in a while to distribute the heat and to prevent the milk from scorching the pan. Hook the kitchen thermometer onto the lip of the saucepan so you can easily monitor the heat.
Wonder why milk has to be scalded to make yogurt? I did too, so I looked it up. It has to do with the way the proteins of the milk bond to form a nice, silky texture. If it is not heated first and then cooled down, the resulting yogurt will be thin and watery.
If you want to infuse your yogurt with lavender, add 1 tablespoon of culinary lavender buds as you are heating the milk.
The scalded milk will form a skin on the surface. That’s normal. Just skim it off with the whisk and dispose of in the compost.
Allow the milk to cool down again to no more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have added lavender buds, strain the buds out through a small sieve and pour the cooled milk into your quart mason jar.
It’s time to add the yogurt culture. Add a big spoonful of plain yogurt to the milk in the mason jar. Screw the lid and and shake well to integrate the live yogurt culture with the milk.
Next step is to wrap the quart jar in the heating pad. I place a tea towel underneath my jar to insulate it better. Wrap the jar, plug the heating pad in, set the heat on low and don’t touch it again for 12 hours. After 12 hours (it’s ok if it sits wrapped in the heating pad for a few more hours) the result is a quart of velvety smooth yogurt. I love that first spoonful of warm yogurt before I pop it into the refrigerator.
If you have infused the yogurt with lavender, get ready for the most sublime taste experience; creamy, rich yogurt that is subtly but unmistakably infused with lavender essence. It blends well with fruit or jam. I like it with a dollop of Blackberry Butter from a local farm market, Phillips Farm.
Surprisingly, lavender infused yogurt works equally well topping a savory soup. It pairs with cream of carrot soup, also cream of beet or borscht, both of which have a natural sweetness to them. The warmth and earthiness of a cream of wild mushroom soup is nicely accented with a dollop of the yogurt, as well.