I love to make yogurt. You know exactly how much sugar is going into it…which in this case is NONE. That’s because I add a natural sweetener called Stevia extract. More on that some other time.
I have been using the same method for 15 years (geez, I feel old). I originally got it out of the Tightwad Gazette (remember that?). I changed it a little by adding the Stevia extract and occasionally I add vanilla extract too.
I make a gallon at a time. We eat it fast. If you don’t want to chug down that much, just adjust measurements accordingly. Oh, and you need a candy thermometer. So, what I do is…
In a large pot, add dry milk (2 cups) to liquid milk (1 gallon) and heat to 180 degrees. If you decide to try the Stevia extract, add it while the milk is heating up (3 teaspoons). Cool it to 115 degrees. Whisk in 1/4 cup plain yogurt (as starter). Pour into jars. Put the lids on. Now the yogurt needs to incubate for around 8 hours. The way that I learned was to place the jars on a heating pad, cover with a big towel, and cover that whole thing with a big soup pot. Set the heating pad on low for 8 hours. Improvise the incubation process. There are other ways people do this, but I really love this method. It’s safe and the yogurt can stay in the container that you incubated it in!
The Tightwad Gazette also recommended saving some of the yogurt for next time by freezing it in ice cube trays. I learned from trial and error that the cubes need to be thoroughly thawed before you add them to the heated/cooled milk. I thaw them in a bowl that I sit right in the cooling milk (see picture below):
Here’s a picture of the finished yogurt: