This recipe comes from my new Food & Wine Annual Cookbook, 2011. It's attributed to Michael Psilakis, who wrote a cookbook I've been coveting for a while now: How to Roast a Lamb: New Greek Classic Cooking. (And what do you know, my birthday month is coming right up!)
I was excited to try this, and I finally remembered to buy both whole milk (I got organic cow milk) AND good live yogurt at the same time.
The method is surprisingly easy. I mean, it really takes less than 15 minutes total of active, working time. Way less actually. It's mostly waiting time.
I used my Le Creuset pot, mainly because it doesn't have a non-stick finish the way my saucepans do. I don't know if it was a legitimate concern, but it was mine. Boiled the milk, let it cool a bit, followed the steps, then stuck it in our oven. The hard part for me was figuring out when I needed to start the yogurt so I would have power for the oven light for the whole amount of time. (We run a generator for power and turn it off at night). So I had to start my yogurt around 6am. I ended up taking it out of the oven an hour or two ahead of time because I wanted to go to bed, but it still turned out great! I skimmed it (more like scraped the skin off) and ladled it into a strainer. I left the strainer over a bowl in the fridge overnight, instead of just for four hours, because it was my bedtime. I ended up with a nice thick, bowl of actual yogurt! Amazing.
I suppose it was actually on its way to becoming yogurt cheese with the extra straining time, but no matter, it turned out creamy and delicious! I was wondering what to do with all the whey that had drained out...but that will have to wait until next time, because while I was gone, my husband dumped it out! I will report back with all the uses for whey...
The only thing you need to know: this recipe doesn't make very much yogurt.
Another good thing to know: you can use 2 tablespoons from this batch of yogurt to make your next batch of yogurt! You'll never need to buy yogurt again!!
I can't wait to try this with goat or sheep milk, if I can ever find any!
Homemade Greek Yogurt
Homemade yogurt requires surprisingly little prep and keeps in the fridge for a month.
Start with 1 quart whole goat's, sheep's or cow's milk, transfer 2 tablespoons into a bowl and stir in 2 tablespoons plain whole-milk yogurt (with live active cultures).
In a saucepan, bring the remaining milk to a boil. Let stand off the heat, without stirring, until it registers 100 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about 15 minutes; a skin will form on the surface.
Make a small opening in the skin with a table knife and carefully pour the yogurt mixture into the milk in the saucepan. Cover the pot with a kitchen towel; transfer to an oven. Turn the light on and close the oven door. Let stand for 16 hours.
Using a skimmer or slotted spoon, lift off the skin and discard it. Carefully ladle the yogurt into a sieve lined with a double layer of cheesecloth and refrigerate until much of the whey is drained and the yogurt is thick, at least 4 hours. Transfer the yogurt to a bowl and serve.