One of the simplest and most satisfying staples I make around here is plain yogurt. It’s especially extra fun now that we live right around the corner from Sassy Cow Creamery (whose products I’ve been inhaling for the last eleven years–since they opened their doors in 2008). [Fun side-note : I freaked Jeff out in the car a few days after we moved here, because I saw the sign for the creamery on the side of the freeway, saying ‘next exit’ and I started hollering, because I was so excited. The kids just laughed at me.]
So, yogurt. The fun thing about yogurt is that it’s super easy, but also terrifically impressive. When you tell people that you make your own yogurt, they gasp and say things like ‘Surely not!’ and ‘Heavens to Betsy!’. But it’s like…the laziest food you can possibly make.
All you need is some leftover yogurt (if you’re making this for the first time, just get a single-serve plain live-culture yogurt from the Dairy section. Or sometimes, if you’re me and wait too long and the top of your yogurt looks like one of those green brillo sponges, you also need to get a single-serve plain yogurt from the Dairy section) some milk, and a jar that will hold the amount of yogurt you want. Whole milk preferred! I generally use a candy thermometer too during this process.
So all you have to do is pour the milk into a small pot, and heat it to 160°f. If you’re not using a thermometer, this is just where it starts to skim over, or right before it starts to boil. After it warms up, take it off of the burner, and let it cool to about 110°f.
Before I had an Instant Pot I would wrap the jar I was going to set the yogurt in in a sweater sleeve, and a few extra towels, add the yogurt, top it with the cooled-down milk, and set it in the sun. Ideally, you keep the baby yogurt at a steady 110°f for 7-11 hours, then put it in the fridge (this is seriously it. How you make yogurt). Before my lazy ways set in, I would have it chase sunbeams all day long to keep warm. I know that some people will turn on their oven light and set it directly under the light (still wrapped up), or they can keep their oven at a really low temperature. I have turned to the magic and laziness of the Instant Pot. All you have to do is put the screen thingie in the bottom, put the yogurt mix on top (with it’s lid on), and twist the lid of the Instant Pot down. Then use the yogurt button and set the time. That’s literally (not figuratively) it.
I generally set mine for about nine hours, overnight. I used to think that it was important to make sure that I was able to grab it as soon as the timer ran down, but the other nice thing about the Instant Pot in this case is that it just changes over to ‘keep warm’ so if I somehow miraculously manage to sleep in, it’s not a big deal. I still have delicious yogurt. I love how this is so so simple to make. Mostly ‘making’ it is…waiting. My kinda recipe!
One of my favorite ways to enjoy this is to crumble in some toasted walnuts, drizzle in some maple syrup, and go to town! (Speaking of maple syrup…WAIT UNTIL NEXT YEAR. We found out that there are way more silver maples than we thought on this property, and they’re the BIG trees that can take 2-3 taps. I cannot wait.)