A few months ago, our multi-talented friend Victoria Vu mentioned in passing that she had been experimenting with homemade yogurt. Having dabbled in a few homemade staples myself, my ears immediately perked up. At the time, I’d been making a Sunday ritual out of stocking my fridge with homemade almond milk, ricotta cheese, pesto sauce, and hummus… but yogurt? That was completely foreign to me.
On my next visit to her cozy abode, she walked me through the process and sent me home with a jar of cultures to start my own version. A bit like a sourdough starter, reusable yogurt cultures multiply with every batch, and an offshoot of them can be used for years and years. Victoria started her own yogurt-making when gifted with a batch of cultures from her mom, and so began the network among her friends.
Victoria was kind enough to open her kitchen doors to us, and share her step-by-step process so you too can explore your own yogurt-making at home. The practice is fairly simple once you get set up, but be prepared to keep the yogurt train going once you start. Within a few weeks you’ll be making enough to forego any future trips down the dairy aisle. Bonus: you don’t need a yogurt maker to tackle this recipe. So let’s get started.
Step 01. Beginning with a small mason jar (a half pint works best), place 1 tablespoon of cultures in the bottom. Fill the jar to the top with whole or 2% milk (approximately 1 cup) and cover with Saran wrap. Place the jar on your kitchen counter in a dry, room temperature area.
Step 02. After 1-3 days (depending on the temperature of your kitchen), pour the contents of your mason jar through a small strainer over the sink, catching the contents in a bowl beneath it. Using a plastic spoon (no metal should come in contact with your yogurt during this process), push all of the yogurt liquid through the strainer.
Step 03. Pour the contents of the bowl into another clean mason jar (I prefer the wide mouth 64 oz. jars for this) and cover it with a lid to refrigerate. The yogurt is best when consumed the following day.
Step 04. Take the remaining cultures in your strainer and rinse with cool water until it runs clear. Squeeze out the excess water using your plastic spoon until the cultures are dry. Using a new 1 pint mason jar, scoop 1 tablespoon of cultures into the bottom, and repeat the process.
The yogurt will come out slightly tart and makes for the perfect base to add layers of flavor, adapting to sweet or savory dishes with equal success. Some of my favorite ways to enjoy it are as a morning breakfast with a dollop of jam and a few scoops of granola, or over a bowl of carrot soup for dinner. You can even use it to bake with.
Some items to note:
• Ideally, you’ll want to start off with cultures handed down by someone else, but if you don’t know of anyone, there are a few resources available online. Check out these Heirloom Yogurt Starter Cultures to get started.
• Be sure not to use any metal utensils or vessels throughout the process of your yogurt-making. Certain metals disrupt the bacteria from doing its handiwork.
• The colder your kitchen is, the longer the process will take. The batch can be ready in as soon as 1 day if your kitchen is warm, or as long as 3 days if your kitchen is cool. Be sure not to exceed the latter.
• You can continue to add yogurt to your larger mason jar as it is ready. Yogurt can keep up to 7 days in the refrigerator.
Any questions? Don’t hesitate to chime in on the comments below. You can find more of Victoria and her petit graphic design company, Paper & Type, by following her on Instagram, perusing her favorite finds on Pinterest, or liking Paper & Type on Facebook. A big thank you to Victoria for joining us today!