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Homemade Yogurt
Makes about 6 cups
Making your own yogurt can be as simple as putting a spoonful of store-bought yogurt into warm milk and keeping the milk warm for a period of several hours, but the results can be hit or miss. Less than perfect conditions can render homemade yogurt too thin and off flavors can result from improper handling. But by paying close attention to the temperature and following a few careful steps, you can make a yogurt that's superior to anything you can buy. Sterilizing the jars and using previously unopened plain yogurt as a starter will ensure that no uninvited bacteria will set up camp in your yogurt.
5 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups instant, nonfat dry milk
1/3 cup plain (unflavored) yogurt from a new container

1. Sterilize six 1/2-pint canning jars by simmering them in boiling water. Turn off the burner and let the jars stand in the water undisturbed while you prepare the yogurt. Preheat your oven to the lowest possible setting.

2. Whisk the milk and the nonfat dry milk together in a soup pot and heat the liquid until it just begins to boil. Remove the pot from the burner and cool the milk until it registers 115 degrees, then stir in the yogurt.

3. Pour the milk-yogurt mixture into the sterilized jars, filling them to within 1/2 inch of the top, and seal the jars with new lids. Put the filled jars back into the pot in which they were sterilized and put enough hot water around the jars to almost cover them. The water around the jars should be at 115 degrees. Put the pot with the jars into the warm oven; turn off the oven and close the door.

4. Check the temperature of the water every hour, and if necessary, add a little hot water to bring the temperature back up. After 6 hours, move the jars from the pot in the oven to the refrigerator and chill the yogurt for several hours or overnight. The jars of yogurt will keep in the refrigerator for 10 days.

Copyright © 2002 The Seattle Times Company

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