The first time I ever read French Women Don’t Get Fat I fell in love with it. While at it’s core it is a weight-loss specific book, I just loved hearing first hand from a woman who was born in France, who loves America too, and found a way to marry the two worlds together. Mireille Guiliano shares the story of how she gained weight as a foreign exchange student in America, then figured out how to painlessly lose it all without sacrificing her pleasure in food.
One very short snippet in the book is about yogurt and how she’s been making her own homemade yogurt for years. She provides a recipe that requires a yogurt maker, and an alternate recipe for those of us who don’t want to make that investment. I just liked the story she shared about how she would eat goat’s milk yogurt in Greece with the freshest fruit and left the islands “floating in her clothes” but feeling incredibly pampered. Is that not the best advertisement of yogurt ever?!
I can’t pretend that I know a ton about gut health, but I do know that there are infinite studies out there about how probiotics found in yogurt are incredible at keeping us healthy. And sure, there are a ton of other places to get them, but yogurt is my medicine of choice. Can you really go wrong with a supplement that tastes like a dessert and is fun to eat?
I’m going to go through what I do exactly to make my yogurt at home, but you should know that the first time I made it (and the recipe that I base everything off of) is this one from The Kitchn. It’s such a great resource for kitchen questions, and I’ve yet to be led astray by anything on there!
EXACTLY HOW I MAKE MY HOMEMADE VANILLA BEAN YOGURT
Makes about 10-12(ish) servings
- 1 gallon whole milk
- 1 (5.3 ounce) container of plain yogurt with live active cultures (I usually use Chobani or Fage because they’re the most widely available)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons liquid stevia (or sweetener of choice)
- a cast iron Dutch oven with a fitted lid
- a candy thermometer
- a whisk
- a blanket or a towel
- cheesecloth OR paper towels
- A quick note on the vanilla bean: I think it’s infinitely easier to get the caviar out of the vanilla bean if it’s been soaked first. I like to add my vanilla bean to a plastic bag with the vanilla extract, remove the air, and let it sit while I make the yogurt.
- Pour the milk into the Dutch oven (lid removed) and place the candy thermometer inside.
- Bring the temperature on the stove to medium-high heat and, stirring the entire time (trust me on this) bring the milk to 200°F.
- As soon as the temperature hits 200°F, remove the pot from the burner and allow the temperature to drop back down to 110°F.
- When the temperature is at 110°F, scoop about 1 cup of the milk out of the pot and whisk it together with the plain yogurt until no longer lumpy.
- Pour the mixture into the pot, stirring well to combine, then remove the candy thermometer and place the lid on top.
- Place in an oven with the light on (mine is an electric range; I just leave the light on) and wrap tightly with the blanket or towel.
- Let the mixture sit for 8 hours (I usually start mine in the morning or at night so I can let it sit the full 8 hours).
- Remove from the oven, then whisk really well until no longer lumpy.
- Line a colander with cheesecloth or paper towels and place over a large bowl.
- Gently ladle the yogurt into the colander until it’s all in there.
- Set it in the fridge and let the whey drain out. (I usually have to remove the whey a couple times until it’s super creamy).
- I let mine drain for about 2-3 hours because I want it to be SUUUUUUUUPER creamy.
- When the whey is pretty much done draining, pour it out (whether you’re saving it or not) and then dump the yogurt into the bowl.
- Whisk the yogurt, and I mean WHISK IT GOOD. It will be fairly lumpy again from sitting against the cheesecloth/paper towel and you will want to make sure it’s silky smooth. Alternatively you could blend it or put it in a food processor to get the lumps out.
- Whisk in the stevia, the vanilla, then remove the caviar from the middle of the vanilla bean and whisk into the yogurt.
- Refrigerate and serve cold!