Montessori Elementary Homeschool Blog - with documentation of our infant Montessori, toddler Montessori, and primary Montessori experiences; as well as preparation for the upcoming adolescent Montessori homeschool years.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

God With No Hands - cooling layer

We make our own yogurt and the last few times, we've been using a simpler method that we LOVE - it's so easy!

When removing the milk from the pan and placing the jars on the counter, we always notice the layer of cooling milk on top.

This layer is mentioned in the first Great Lesson - The Story of God With No Hands - right before introducing the volcano... so it can easily slip into the recesses of one's mind when confronted with that *awesome* volcano!

This last yogurt-making was interesting though...

We were both working quietly in the living room and continued to hear a pop - pop - pop. Ever so slight.

Dreading the possibility of a mouse in our apartment, we crept into the kitchen....

and found...


If you listen very carefully you can hear the quiet pop-pops - just barely. There are two other videos as well - both showing the same thing, but we couldn't decide which one to post!

Give it a try! Boil some milk in a glass jar by placing a 75-90% filled with milk jar into a saucepan of water and cover with a lid. Bring to a boil until the milk is about 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Now use a mitt to remove the jar and place it on the counter. Just let it sit. It won't take long!

Neat, huh!?

Wanna make yogurt while you're at it?
If you don't have a nice consistently warm place, do what we do and place that pan of hot water in a cooler which has been lined with a thick towel. Close the cooler for now to get it nice and warm in there.
(if you want to use raw milk and keep it raw, to make yogurt, you'll heat only to 110, but will not get a skin on the milk)

When the milk is about 105-110, mix in a spoonful of yogurt with active cultures. Put a lid on the milk culture and place it in the cooler next to the pan (best not to let them touch if the pan is still too hot - you don't want to kill the yogurt culture). Close the lid.

Come back in 24 hours (usually less but the 24 hours part is easy for us!).

To a pint jar, we add about 1 1/2 tbsp of sweetener (powdered sugar, honey, maple syrup, fruit juice concentrate) and whatever other ingredients you'd like. We are out of vanilla (still waiting for it to finish up) so we've been using almond extract - YUM!

Or mixed with homemade granola. YUMMIER!

It's pretty thick to start, but gets a bit runnier with stirring, so minimize your stirring if you want thick yogurt.

No pectin, no preservatives, our own sweeteners.

AND science!

Can't beat it!

Yes, those are wide-mouth Ball glass jars - we have been slowly switching over to just using those, instead of re-using other glass jars, because, well, we're not buying as many other glass jars as we make more and more of our own food from fresh produce. I chose wide-mouth because 1) the food doesn't clog up underneath a lip and 2) the same lids and rings fit on both pint (think jam) and quart jars - I really need ease of use and mis-matched lids have been hair-pullers in the last year! ;) Now I have multiple sized jars and just one size of lid that fits on all the jars. And everything looks so NICE in the cupboard, fridge and freezer!

After stirring it is just a bit runnier than organic yogurt.
Just as thick as well-stirred non-organic yogurt. 

In the cooler; we make 4 jars at a time.
Saving the last half of one jar as the culture for the next batch.


  1. We make our own yogurt too. But all we do is boil milk on the stove top, let it cool a bit, mix in the starter which is usually a spoonful of the previous day's yogurt. I just leave it on the counter overnight and it is done! We've made yogurt this way for generations in India!

    1. That is typically how I've done it in the past; or placed it on top of the refrigerator. A friend of mine's mother re-uses the small cups and puts it in the back window of the car when on car-rides... I love all these ways, and they are definitely much preferred methods. I wish I could go back to that way! Maybe in a new home :)

      The problem we have is that our home is not a consistent temperature. Summer vs winter is most obvious, but even throughout the day. And there is no good way to maintain a nice steady temperature. So we end up with *very* inconsistent results :( I've even used the crockpot (turned off as soon as the yogurt is placed inside of it, then well-insulated with towels) - but it was still inconsistent and seemed awkward. It all tastes great and definitely is yogurt, it just might be super thick (how we like to to start) or super-runny (then used in a smoothie or as "drinkable yogurt", even though I actually prefer thick yogurt in smoothies and I have a hard "drinking" my yogurt).

      Plus we are in a tiny apartment so counter space, top of the fridge space - it's all very minimal and is shared space with science kits and art for my other business.

      The cooler for us works top-notch because I can't use it in my car (it doesn't fit in my trunk, despite being "small"; and is awkward at best in the back-seat - I bought it to use in our van(s) and it was perfect! So the last 3 years it has sat in our closet hardly used except as a printer stand ;) Now it has new life! And I get consistently-textured yogurt.