My Homemade Yogurt Maker

I was eagerly awaiting my new yogurt maker.  So I boiled the milk and once cooled I added the yogurt starter and was ready to go.  It wasn't until then that I realized that the yogurt maker was BROKEN.  I would not heat up.

Although I must say that if it would have worked, I would have been able to use different sizes of glass bowls or jars due to the flexibility of the design.

Well, I didn't want to waste all of that organic milk and starter, so I made my own homemade yogurt in my own homemade yogurt maker!

I got the idea from Breaking the Vicious Cycle's website. Their directions can be found on this page. (Currently there are no photos at the website, but there once were.)

Here is what I used:
1 - Stainless steel pot with a heavy base and lid
2 - Foil paper
3 - Heating pad
4 - Instant read thermometer
5 - Kitchen towels

Here is how:

  1. Preheat heating pad to the Low setting.
  2. The only yogurt started I found that was legal based on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet was one by Yogourmet.  Make sure that it doesn't contain any form of Bifidus (Ellaine makes this recommendation).
  3. I used whole organic milk (2 cups) and organic half-and-half (2 cups).  The purpose of the half-and-half is to keep the yogurt creamy even though the yogurt has to ferment for 24 hours.
  4. After boiling milk mixture to 180 degrees and allowing to cool, remove 1 cup and add starter.  Mix well and then add back to what remains in the pot.
  5. Place pot onto heating pad and cover with foil.
  6. Insert the thermometer so that you will be able to easily read it throughout the process.  The most my thermometer read was 109 degrees.  The suggested maximum is 110 degrees.  
  7. In the beginning, especially if this is your first time to make this apparatus, continue to read the thermometer to test temperature.  I recommend that you start early in the day, so by bedtime, you will feel confident in leaving your yogurt overnight.  The temperature was always stable, unless I made changes to the configuration.

I know it doesn't look pretty, but it actually works out really well for me because I can vary the temperature by adding/removing the kitchen towels and the pot lid.  I've actually used this setup twice because I'm still contemplating whether or not to purchase a yogurt maker.  I will have to get one that doesn't turn off automatically because it must ferment 24 hours and most yogurt makers turn off between 8 and 12 hours.  Also, I'm only limited to the amount of yogurt by the size of pan that I use.

Note:  I also tried this using plain stainless steel bowls and the steady temperature kept at about 104 degrees.  So the heavy bottom of the pan I originally used did heat the yogurt to a higher temperature.  But I was satisfied with the output of both configurations.