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It's easy to make yogurt in your oven without a yogurt maker. Once you learn how to make yogurt at home, you may not want to buy it ever again.
I've been making yogurt at home for quite some time now. When I first started it was because my husband had inherited an old yogurt maker from his family. They weren't using it, so I decided to give making yogurt a try rather than let them get rid of it. At the time, I made yogurt mostly for fun and tried making up new flavors. Back then, I was more concerned about fat than I was about artificial flavors and sweeteners. In fact, to end up with a decent yogurt consistency using fat-free milk, I had to add in extra powdered milk.
Things have changed a lot since then. Now that I have changed my thought about processed foods, I only buy whole milk anyway, so my homemade yogurt automatically turns out the perfect consistency.
Making yogurt for a baby
I started making yogurt at home again when my son was around 6 months old. I wanted to start to introduce new foods to him, but the yogurts actually marketed as being “baby's first yogurt” were surprisingly filled with a lot of sugar and other unnecessary ingredients. Finding a full-fat unsweetened yogurt in the supermarket was not an easy task. So, I decided that it would be best to just make my own.
My son has always been slightly obsessed with dairy products. He loves milk and cheese, and would go through whatever my homemade yogurt I had made pretty quickly. He loved it either plain or also mixed with bananas and/or avocados. The tiny amount that could be made in a yogurt maker just wasn't going to cut it.
Making large batches of yogurt easily
It turns out that making yogurt in large batches was much easier than I had imagined. Instead of using the yogurt maker, I tried making the yogurt in my oven. Depending on your oven, in most cases leaving the light on is all that is needed to keep the yogurt at the perfect temperature for making yogurt. Using this method, it's very simple and cost-effective to make large batches of yogurt.
Here's how to make yogurt at home in your oven without a yogurt maker:
- 1/2 cup starter culture I used one container of full fat unsweetened greek yogurt.
- 1 liter whole milk
- Heat the milk in a double boiler to 185ºF/85ºC . Heat it up slowly to prevent the milk from curdling which would result in lumps in your yogurt. If you heat the milk slowly, you should end up with a nice, smooth yogurt .
- Cool the milk to 110ºF/43ºC. I usually speed up the process by putting the pot into cold water in my kitchen sink. While it cools, set your oven to its lowest temperature and let it heat up for a few minutes.
- Once the milk cools to 110ºF/43ºC, stir in the yogurt culture.
- Turn the oven heat off, but leave the light on.
- Strain and pour the yogurt mixture into storage containers. I use recycled glass jars for storing my yogurt. By passing the mixture through a strainer first, you'll help keep out any lumps and remove any skin that has formed on the heated milk solution.
- Place the storage jars into your oven, and keep the light on. Leave the yogurt incubating in the lit oven for around 7 hours.
- Once the 7 hours is up, remove the yogurt from the oven and let the jars cool. Once cooled, store the jars in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat the yogurt.
- Save some of your homemade yogurt to use as the starter culture of your next batch! (No more buying yogurt at the store!)
It really is that easy to make your own homemade yogurt without any extra additives or sugar.
Thickening homemade yogurt
Yogurt made at home with whole milk turns out pretty thick on its own, but if you want the yogurt to be even thicker, you can either strain it with a very tight weaved cloth or you can add in a little gelatin to the mixture while you are heating it in the double boiler. Once it cools it will thicken up even more.
If you are using a low-fat milk, another option for thickening the yogurt is to add in some powdered milk to the mixture before pouring it into the jars. You'll have to experiment to find how much powdered milk you should add.
My son still loves eating natural, unsweetened yogurt, despite having been introduced to the flavored, sweetened varieties. I hate the sweetened varieties myself, not only because I know how bad they are for me, but also because I find them way too sweet! Homemade yogurt is superior in taste, texture, and quality, and I love it!
Now that you know how to make yogurt at home easily without a yogurt maker, I hope you give it a try and love it as much as I do!