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My roommates are comedians.
Yogurt is incredibly easy to make.  There's really no reason to buy yogurt in those plastic cartons - especially when you have a source of free milk! 

I know most folks aren't as lucky as I am in the free-milk arena, but free milk happens

First, Morgan worked at a local community organization which had a surplus of free food - much of this food came to me, including gallons of milk! 

Lately, my roommates have been in and out of town, leaving me with soon-to-expire milk. 

My thoughts on this?  1.  Excellent.  2.  Yogurt!  3.  Most excellent.

And the best part is, you can make yogurt too!

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You will need:
~ 1 quart milk*
~ 1 tbsp yogurt culture
~ saucepan
~ thermometer
~ tablespoon measure
~ jar
~ cooler
~ small bottle (for hot water)

* normally I wouldn't choose low-fat milk (as pictured), but hey - use what you have.

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Kitty thought the milk was for her...
First, measure your milk.  Just pour the milk into whatever jar you have (I used a quart jar), and pour that milk into the saucepan.  Turn on the heat (medium-low, to avoid scorching).

Next, you'll want to pre-heat your jar and cooler.  Fill each with very hot water and let sit while you finish up the yogurt.  Pre-heating your containers keeps them from leeching valuable heat from the incubating yogurt.  Since yogurt needs to stay at 100-110 degrees (F) to culture, we need all the heat retention we can get.  Plus, you can use the hot water to wash your saucepan afterwards.

Pre-heating = very simple.  Just add (hot) water.
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Heat your milk to 180 degrees F
This step isn't technically necessary, but it results in a thicker yogurt.  And since I'm using 1% milk, thicker yogurt is a very good thing.  Stir frequently.  There will probably be a layer of burnt milk on the saucepan afterwards, so stir frequently to reduce scorching.

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At this point, there will be a thick layer of film on the milk.  Skim the film off the top, since this will give your yogurt strange lumps.  Edible, but strange.

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Once the milk reaches 180 degrees, turn off the heat and let it come to 110 degrees.  This is the temperature at which yogurt cultures thrive and grow.  If you don't want a thick yogurt, you can skip heating it to 180, and just heat it to 110.  If you don't have a thermometer, just heat it to where it feels hot to your (clean!) finger, but isn't too painful.  Pour the milk into your jar.  

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Next, mix in the yogurt culture.  You don't need to special-order this culture.  Simply buy a small yogurt (if this is your first time making yogurt) that's marked "Live and Active Cultures" - this contains all the wonderful flora (Lactobacillis bulgaricus & Streptococcus thermophilus)   that will make your yogurt dreams come true.  Once you've made yogurt, you can use leftovers from the last batch. 

Only use 1 tablespoon per quart of milk!  More culture does not equal better yogurt - it equals a sour, watery yogurt.  The culture needs 'Lebensraum', or 'room to live' (thanks Wild Fermentation!).  Mix it thoroughly with the milk.

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Seal the jar tightly and store it in your pre-heated cooler.  Fill a glass bottle (or several, depending on the size of your cooler) with very hot water, and pack the hot-water bottle around your jar of milk.  This will help the temperature stay around 100-110 degrees throughout the incubation process.

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Snug yogurt, all tucked in for the night.
Let the yogurt incubate for 8-12 hours.  If you can, refill the hot water bottle 4-6 hours into the process - maybe before you go to bed.  I wrap my cooler in a towel and set it over a heater vent, just for good measure.  The longer it incubates, the tangier your yogurt will be.  If you check it after 8 hours and it's too mild or hasn't gotten thick, let it keep culturing for another 4-8 hours.

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Check the yogurt for done-ness!  It may be too thin or too mild - if so, then re-fill the hot water bottle and let it keep culturing.  If it is thick and tastes good, then you're done.  Hooray!

Once your yogurt is done, you've just gotta eat some!  The fresh yogurt will be pleasantly warm and deliciously smooth.

I made an entirely free breakfast:
~ homemade yogurt from gifted milk
~ granola, gifted from my gluten-free mother
~ homemade dehydrated raspberries, free
You can store your yogurt in the fridge or make yogurt cheese out of it - I recommend both!

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03/15/2012 4:32pm

Great tutorial. I make my own yogurt too, but I have never tried to do it this way. It looks pretty nifty. Thank you for sharing.

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03/15/2012 7:14pm

Hey Heidi,

I'm glad you enjoyed it! I'm curious, how do you usually make your yogurt?

~ Anna

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03/17/2012 3:52am

An awesome tutorial -- you did a great job detailing all of the steps.

Thanks so much for sharing at Rural Thursday! :)

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03/17/2012 8:54am

Thanks Nancy - I'll look forward to more Rural Thursdays to come!

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03/17/2012 8:52am

This looks interesting. I've never made my own yogurt.

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This web site will be liked by those guys who love to take care of their health. The ways to make Yogurt explained are very good. I am expecting new posts from you guys. Thank you so much for posting this article.

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09/02/2013 3:24am

Thanks for sharing this with us. I am researching this topic for use in a future business I am thinking about starting

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10/18/2013 7:45am

Was browsing through Weebly when I stumbled here

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