When we visited Toronto this past April, my boys gobbled up yogurt that my mother-in-law made. I saw what she did and it looked easy enough. The only problem was that she used her gas oven as the incubator and my oven in Mexico doesn’t have a pilot light. I also didn’t want to buy a yogurt machine, okay I kind of wanted to but I had already bought this and I was on a kitchen toy diet. So upon returning home, I googled homemade yogurt and found that you can make yogurt in a wide mouth thermos.
I had a wide mouth thermos that came with the cooler that I bought about eight years ago. I was so excited until I couldn’t for the life of me find where we had stashed the darn thing. This reminded me of my barbeque adventure. Anyways, I was looking around my kitchen when my eyes settled on my Tiger Magic Thermal Cooker. My eyes lit up and I knew I was going to make yogurt, yeah!
The thermal cooker is made up of two parts, an outer insulated pot and a removable covered inner pot.
I then went in search of an easy recipe that would yield a thick yogurt. Well, of course I would find it courtesy of Alton Brown. Its simple and the yogurt came out perfect.
Alton Brown’s Yogurt Recipe
1 quart milk (this is approximately 1 litre)
1/2 cup powdered milk
1-2 tbsp honey
1/2 cup plain yogurt
Pour milk into a saucepan, add powdered milk and honey, stir to dissolve. Place pot over medium heat and heat to 120 F*. Remove from heat. Pour into a plastic container reserving 1/2 cup of milk in the pot. Mix 1/2 cup of the plain yogurt into the reserved milk then pour into the plastic container with the other milk and stir to blend. Put the container inside the removable pot of the thermal cooker and put a couple of clean kitchen towels in the gap between the plastic container and the pot.
Meanwhile, bring about 2 cups of water to just before the boiling point, the water will start to steam but has not yet begin to boil. Turn off heat and let cool slightly. Pour 1 cup into the insulated pot. Put the removable pot into the thermal cooker and carefully pour in the remaining hot water onto the towels in the gap. Cover and close the thermal cooker. Let you yogurt sit undisturbed anywhere from 4 – 11 hours – depending on how tart you like your yogurt. Refrigerate overnight before eating.
I make this yogurt weekly and the whole process (not counting fermentation) takes me less than 10 minutes. Also, you can save 1/2 cup of your homemade yogurt to start the next batch.
* If you don’t have an instant read thermometer or like me and just can’t be bothered to use one, here is how I gauge the milk’s temperature. When the milk at the side of the pot starts to form little bubbles, I know my milk is at the right temperature. I use a gas stove so this may not work on an electric range. I’ve found this suggestion on the web, carefully place your baby finger into the milk and if you can hold it there for a count of 10, its ready. I don’t know about you, but I would be afraid to stick my baby finger into the pot. I’ll just stick to gauging by bubbles, thank you very much.