A few months ago I decided to try making my own yogurt. I heard that it could be made in a sous vide bath, and we have a circulator, so I decided to give it a go. It’s actually pretty easy (though it does take some time). This past weekend I made my first batch using my own previously made yogurt as a starter.
Homemade yogurt! The yellow stuff is whey that I strained off, because I prefer thicker yogurt.
To make this, you only need milk and yogurt—you don’t even really need a sous vide circulator, but it makes the process more precise. I’ve made this a few times now and haven’t had any failures. A thermometer is really helpful too.
I like to use the Weck jars because they don’t have “shoulders,” which makes it more convenient to scoop the yogurt out. Mason jars work just fine too, preferably wide mouth jars.
I followed a tutorial from ChefSteps, but it should work with any circulator (I have a different brand myself). This is the basic recipe:
- 20 parts milk (I used 2qt of whole milk, which weighed 1936g)
- 1 part yogurt with “live and active cultures” (I needed 97g – I forgot to measure this, but it should be a little less than ½ cup. I don’t think extra would cause problems)
- Heat milk to 180°F (about 82°C, should be just steaming a bit with small bubbles). Stir occasionally to prevent a skin forming (skin will stay in the finished yogurt, which won’t hurt you but isn’t very nice).
- Remove from heat and allow to cool to 110°F (about 43°C, lukewarm) or lower. Continue to stir occasionally to prevent skin. You can preheat your water bath to 109°F/42.8°C now.
- Mix a little cooled milk into your yogurt to thin it out, then stir the yogurt mix back into the milk.
- Pour milk into jars and close as for processing. Place in water bath and process for 5 hours.
- Yogurt is done! You will see it is much thicker now. If you don’t want to strain your yogurt, pop it in the fridge to cool/set for a bit.
The yogurt thickens and holds its shape when the jar is tilted. There will be some whey around the yogurt, this is normal.
- I like Greek-style yogurt so I strain next. Dump all the yogurt in a cloth lined strainer set over a bowl. Let it sit for a few hours until desired consistency is reached.
The yogurt looks a little separated when it first comes out of the jar, but it will smooth out if you stir it.
Beginning of straining. You can still see some whey in the yogurt.
After a few hours it looks much drier and is very thick.
- Return yogurt to one of the jars (depending on how long you strained, the volume can be reduced by up to 50%). Reserve the whey for another use. It makes delicious bread dough!