Made 3.25 gallons of yogurt this batch. 2.5 gallons were plain & 3 quarts were vanilla. Thought I’d share what we do… 🙂
Our PREFERRED method of making yogurt is the “direct set” method. 1/2t of Natren yogurt starter per quart & whisk in 1 quart fresh milk.
From there it goes directly into our dehydrator where it incubates at 101 degrees for 24 hours. (If we want a flavored yogurt, we whisk it in right before we incubate it.)
HOWEVER, since Natren is kinda pricey, we cannot afford to make such large amounts of yogurt with this powder. We’ve tried using plain yogurt from a previous batch as the starter for the new batch, but it wasn’t resulting in a consistent end product. (It’s also not fun finding out after 24 hours that it didn’t work & we need to re-do…)
So, that all being said, here is how we normally make our yogurt:
Heat milk to 180 degrees, whisking pretty steadily. Remove from heat.
If making plain yogurt, we cool milk to 110° either by allowing it to sit or by placing the pot in a sink of cold water.
Once it’s reached 110°, we whisk in 2T (overflowing, rounded T’s) of plain yogurt per quart.
Incubate at 110° for 8 hours. We have an Excalibur Dehydrator, and WE LOVE IT!! (future post, I’m sure…)
If making vanilla yogurt, we add 1T (homemade) vanilla & 1/4c sorghum or honey or maple syrup when the pot comes off the burner. (It mixes in best when it’s warmer.)
Cool & complete same as with plain.
**My normal routine for plain yogurt as a “starter” is: one week I will make a quart of plain yogurt using 1/2t Natren powder. The next week, I’ll use that quart of plain as my “starter” for what I’m making. (Always being sure to make at least 1 quart of plain for my “starter” for the following week.) For 4 weeks, I use the plain yogurt from the week before as my “starter”. The 5th week, I make a new plain yogurt using the Natren powder. This way, my “starter” has not lost its “oomph”, and I haven’t had any problems with my yogurt not setting. (And this helps our Natren powder to stretch a lot longer, lol!)
If we find we have a build-up of plain yogurt in the fridge, we just drain it & make some cream cheese…