Classic Yogurt

Makes 1/2 gallon.

Note: "The simplest incubation chamber, and my go-to, is a small, well-insulated ice chest," writes Gianaclis Caldwell in "Homemade Yogurt & Kefir." "Choose one that easily holds your incubation vessel with a little extra room to tuck jugs of warm water and/or towels around the vessel. I place a towel in the bottom of the ice chest, set the vessel in the middle of the towel, and tuck another towel on top and around the vessel. If the room is cool, I fill one or two jars with warm water (one or two degrees above 110 degrees) and add them to the chest. When tucked in like this, yogurt will ferment quite evenly." Powdered yogurt culture is available online at sources that include and

• 1/2 gallon dairy milk

• 1/8 c. fresh plain yogurt with active cultures or 1/8 tsp. powdered yogurt culture (see Note)


In a large stainless steel saucepan over medium heat (or in a large stainless steel double boiler set over gently boiling water), heat the milk to 180 degrees and hold it there for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let milk cool to 115 degrees.

Add the culture. If using fresh yogurt, combine the yogurt and 1/4 cup of the warm milk in a small bowl and whisk until smooth, then whisk the mixture into the rest of the milk. (If using powdered culture, sprinkle it on top of the milk and let it sit for 1 minute, then whisk it in).

Pour the ferment into a tempered glass jar with a lid. Cover and incubate at 110 degrees for 8 to 12 hours (see Note). Do not stir. Stop the fermentation process by chilling. Place the incubation vessel in cold water (fill the sink with cold tap water, or fill a bowl with ice water) until the yogurt is cool. Move the yogurt to the freezer for 1 to 2 hours, then store in the refrigerator.

Gazpacho Blanco

Makes 5 to 7 cups.

Note: "Bread is a main ingredient in most traditional gazpachos, but I find that yogurt easily adds a similar body and mouthfeel," writes Gianaclis Caldwell in "Homemade Yogurt & Kefir." She based this recipe on one she encountered at Jaleo, a restaurant of José Andres, in Washington, D.C. "It's hearty enough to be a main course for a dinner party and refreshing and enticing enough to serve in a tiny cup as an amuse-bouche before almost any meal."

• 2/3 c. slivered almonds

• 2 garlic cloves

• 1 tsp. salt

• 1/2 green melon, such as honeydew, diced

• 6 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 tbsp. sherry vinegar

• 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

• 2 c. plain yogurt

• Green seedless grapes or melon balls, for garnish


In a food processor or blender, combine the almonds, garlic and salt, and process until fine.

Add the melon, olive oil, sherry vinegar, apple cider vinegar and yogurt, and process until smooth and creamy.

Fill a 1-cup measuring cup with ice cubes. Add water to fill the cup. Add ice and water to gazpacho and purée until the ice is dissolved or crushed fine. Divide gazpacho into bowls and garnish with 6 to 8 grapes (cut in half if grapes are large) or melon balls per serving. Gazpacho will keep for about 1 week in the refrigerator.

Classic Indian Cucumber Raita

Makes 4 cups.

Note: From "Homemade Yogurt & Kefir."

• 4 medium cucumbers, diced

• 2 green chiles, seeded and finely diced

• 1 to 2 garlic cloves, finely minced

• Handful of mint leaves, finely chopped

• 2 c. plain yogurt

• 4 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

• 2-4 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper


In a large bowl, combine the cucumbers, chiles, garlic and mint. Stir in the yogurt, olive oil and lemon juice, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours to improve the flavor. Before serving, stir and season as needed. Raita will keep for about 1 week in the refrigerator.

Berry Good Smoothie

Makes about 3 to 4 cups.

Note: From "Homemade Yogurt & Kefir."

• 1 c. fresh or frozen berries (any kind)

• 1 c. plain yogurt

• 1 tbsp. honey, maple syrup, agave nectar or other sweetener

• 1 tsp. freshly grated orange zest

• 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

• 4 to 5 dates, optional

• 1 banana, optional

• 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon or nutmeg, optional


In a food processor or blender, combine the berries, yogurt, honey (or other sweetener), orange zest, vanilla extract, dates (if using), banana (if using) and cinnamon (or nutmeg, if using), and purée until smooth. To chill, add ice cubes and pulse.