Several months ago I was doing my regular grocery shopping and some cute little jars caught my eye. These cute little jars contained French style yogurt. I was intrigued, so I grabbed a couple and put them in my cart. When I got home I tried one of these little yogurts and oh my goodess. I have never had yogurt anywhere close to what I was experiencing then. It was thick. So thick it held its shape on the spoon. No dripping yogurt here. The flavor was a mild vanilla and not very tangy. And the texture was incredibly smooth.
I was hooked, so I kept buying them. But at $1.49 per 5 ounce jar it was getting pricey. So I did some recipe searching and I did some experimenting and what I have here for you today is a recipe for French style yogurt that is just as good if not better than the store-bought stuff. AND it equals out to about $.50 per 5 ounces. That sure as heck beats $1.49, right?
I incubate my yogurt in a Yolife yogurt maker. I makes the process so smooth and you don’t have to really think about your yogurt until it’s done because it keeps a constant temperature. I let my french yogurt incubate for about 12 hours. If you want it more tangy, then just let it incubate longer.
The Yolife yogurt maker comes with 7 little jars with lids for convenient single-serving sizes. But it also comes with two sizes of domes. One short one for the small jars and one tall one so you can fit whatever container you happen to want to incubate your yogurt in. You can fit quart jars in there if you want. But for French yogurt, I think it’s best to incubate it in smaller jars because there’s something about the texture that I don’t like to compromise by stirring it. If you stir it, it still stays thick, but it’s not stiff. It’s that stiffness that I like. But that’s all personal preference. I use the jars that came with my Yolife and because this recipe is pretty large, I’ll also use half pint jars.
I also like to use Yogourmet freeze dried yogurt starter. When I use it I know my yogurt is going to set. I’ve never had yogurt fail when I’ve used this. However, you can still use yogurt that you’ve made as a start for other batches of yogurt. This will help with making you yogurt even cheaper. But after a while the cultures in the yogurt will start to be less effective and so you’ll need to start a fresh batch with the freeze dried starter.
- 1/2 gallon (8 cups) half and half
- 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 (5 gram) packages Yogourmet yogurt starter OR 1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt with life and active cultures
- In a large pot, stir half and half and sweetened condensed milk til well combined. Heat to just a boil. Do not let it boil.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool to 100 degrees F.
- When cooled, put about 1/2 cup of half and half mixture in a small bowl and add yogurt starter. Combine well and pour back into the large pot of half and half.
- Add vanilla and stir well.
- Divide between jars and incubate for 12 hours. (If you want it more tangy, let it incubate longer. The longer it incubates, the tangier it will get.)
- When done incubating, remove from yogurt maker and put in fridge to cool.