Stovetop Yogurt

My recent ventures into making soap with yogurt led me to make yogurt from scratch. Crock pot yogurt turned out ok, but me and my girls weren’t crazy about its texture and consistency. It was really runny, which was great for the soap I made, but not very appetizing.

So, of course, I had to try again. I like to do things at least until I do them well. Can’t help it. Perfectionist, anyone?

This time, I decided to go with the tried and true method of making yogurt on the stovetop, then incubating in the oven.

I started by heating half a gallon of milk in a heavy stainless steel pot. Once it hit 180 degrees, I put the whole pot in an ice bath in the sink until it came down to 120 degrees. That only took a couple of minutes. At that point, I whisked in 3 tablespoons of yogurt containing live active cultures. I also added in about a tablespoon of vanilla extract and about a third of a cup of sugar. (My girls also weren’t crazy about the plain yogurt I’d made in the crock pot; we all like it sweet.)

Next, I poured everything into glass jars, making a nice mess in the process. Typical of me.

Stovetop Yogurt Mess

How did I manage to make such a mess?!

Ready for the oven

Here’s the heated milk ready to be transformed into yogurt in the oven.

I preheated the oven to 200 degrees, turned it off, then placed the glass jars inside on a sturdy cookie sheet. I left the light on inside the oven to help maintain the warm environment, giving those little yogurt guys the perfect place to make themselves comfy and multiply. After 8 hours in there, I pulled out the jars. What a difference from the crock pot yogurt!

The whey had separated quite a bit throughout each of the jars.

Yogurt fresh from the oven

See how the whey was already separated, forming what looks like bubbles around the inside of the jars?

Pouring off the whey

Pouring off the whey

I could easily pour off the whey, leaving a thicker, creamier yogurt. I decided to strain half the batch just to see what difference it would make. I let it sit in a mesh strainer lined with coffee filters for just over half an hour, then I plopped it into the mixing bowl and whisked until it was smooth. The strained yogurt (aka Greek yogurt) is much thicker with a more concentrated tangy flavor. I can turn the jar upside down without spilling a drop! The unstrained yogurt is more fluid, but it’s definitely thicker than the crock pot yogurt (yay).

Yogurt success!

Yogurt success! Thick and creamy and delicious. Doesn’t this look like soap batter at trace?!

The triplets are loving this stovetop yogurt! They can’t get enough of it. And the baby drools when she sees us eating it! She’ll have her turn soon enough.

The triplets eating yogurt

Here are the triplets getting their first taste of the new yogurt. They love it! Notice that Chloe (on the left) has already spilled it on her pants? We’ll blame this one on mommy for letting them sit on the kitchen floor. We were all just so excited to try it! Who needs tables?

Homemade granola and yogurt

And I even made some homemade granola to go along with our homemade yogurt. YUM!

I’ll probably be making yogurt like this from now on. It really wasn’t that much harder than the crock pot method, and my whole family prefers the second result. But I won’t be making any soap with this stuff! It’s all gonna be gobbled up before I have the chance!