Now I know it's not Sourdough, but this homemade yogurt is fermented, and does require a "starter", plus it's going to be as good or better than what you will be able to buy in the store. I have been eating homemade yogurt for as long as I can remember. It has definitely changed a little bit over the years, but now I have got my system dialled in and the results are extremely consistent. It's tangy (if you want it to be), it's thick, and it's really easy to make. You only need two ingredients to make this: milk and a little bit of yogurt from your last batch. This yogurt is a huge hit in our house and it doesn't last long, so I make it all the time. I have been a big fan of my Brod & Taylor Proofer for a long time and it's great for providing consistency when it comes to sourdough baking, but it is also incredible for making yogurt! With the proofer I am able to make 4 litres (4.2qt) of yogurt at a time (although since this is greek style yogurt I strain it down to 2L). My favourite way to eat this yogurt is with homemade granola (Cookie and Kate has a great recipe HERE).
4 Litres of whole milk (3.5% milk fat here in Canada).
200g of plain yogurt (make sure it says "active bacterial culture on it", and avoid yogurt with gelatin)
Pour all of your milk into a large pot; cover with a lid
Slowly heat the milk up until it reaches 180°F. I typically put my element on "Low" and let it come up to temperature over the course of an hour or two. By doing this I don't have to worry about burning the bottom and I only have to stir it every 30 minutes or so. I generally do this in the evening while wrapping up dinner and getting the kids ready to for bed.
Once the milk gets up to temperature you want to cool everything down to 115°F. I like to remove it from the heat and place whole pot directly into my sink (with the milk still inside...don't dump the milk into the sink!). I fill the sink up with cold water and sometimes even add ice cubes to speed this part of the process up.
Next, add the bacterial culture that is going to turn your milk into yogurt. This culture comes from other yogurt, either from the store or from your last batch. Since the yogurt is coming out of the fridge it will drop the temperature of your milk even further. This is fine because our target temperature for fermentation is actually 110°F. I like to do this by pouring some of the warm milk into a separate container with my 200g of culture (old yogurt). I use a fork to mix this up until there are no chunks left and then add that mixture back into the main pot. Mix very well.
Double check the temperature. It should now be sitting at 110°F. If it has cooled down too much I will heat it up for a minute to bring it back up.
Now the fermentation begins! Put the whole pot into your Proofer that is set to 110°F (or oven with a light on also works for some people). I leave mine in there for anywhere from 8-12 hrs.
After your fermentation is complete it is time to strain the yogurt to make it greek yogurt. I do this by lining a colander with a muslin towel or cheesecloth and pouring all of the yogurt into it to slowly strain for approximately two hours. The liquid that comes out is the "Whey". At this point scoop out and save 200g of yogurt to use for your next batch
After an hour or two I scoop out all of the strained yogurt and put it into a blender. Blend on low just until everything is smooth and creamy looking. At this point it will seem quite liquid, but don't worry, it will set up in the fridge.
Pour/scrape out all of the yogurt into containers, seal with a lid and put into the fridge.
Click HERE for a link to the Proofer that I use
This recipe makes 2L of greek yogurt so scale up or down as you would like.
If you heat the milk up too fast it can lead to the yogurt being a little more "grainy".
If you forget to save 200 grams before straining don't worry, 200 grams afterwards still works well. I forget 50% of the time and it's always good.
The longer you ferment the yogurt, the tangier it will be. The preference in our house leans more towards 12 hours.
Sometimes I will lose track of time and end up straining the yogurt for much longer than I anticipated. This will result in extremely thick yogurt. If this happens you can simply pour some of the whey back in when it is time to blend the yogurt.