Yogurt and granola recipes from Preserving Traditions

yogurtJarSeven people joined us at the Preserving Traditions event at the Grange last Sunday to learn to make yogurt and granola. Yogurt, as a process, takes time but not much attention once the milk has come up to temperature. Granola is also easy, though you really need to watch the timer once it goes into the oven.

We made half a gallon of plain yogurt and three batches of granola: pineapple/coconut, sesame/currant, and “the kitchen sink” with wonderful crispy walnuts, sesame seeds, and several kinds of dried fruit. Even after our yogurt parfait buffet, there was plenty for each person to take home.

There’s lots of variation in recipes for both yogurt and granola. The instructions below are a good set of guidelines – don’t be afraid to play with them a bit to suit your taste.


  1. Heat one or two quarts of milk to 180 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, heat it until just before it boils. You want steam and a few bubbles, but not actual boiling.
  2. Cool it to 110 degrees – just barely warm to the touch.
  3. Take about 1/2 cup of milk out and dissolve your starter. You can use prepackaged starter or existing yogurt.
  4. Add the starter back to the big pot of milk and mix thoroughly.
  5. Pour into containers and keep warm for 4-8 hours. We used a cooler with a hot pack – you can use any method you can think of to keep the jars at around 90-100 degrees.
  6. Once it’s thickened, store in the fridge.

Yogurt notes:

  • You can use any kind of milk: skim, whole, creamtop, powdered, ultra-pasteurized, and even soy.
  • There’s a lot of variation using yogurt as starter. Best results come from homemade yogurt started with packaged starter, but you can also use Dannon plain yogurt – about 2-3 Tbl per quart of milk.
  • The thickening of the yogurt comes from keeping it warm during the incubation period.
  • The yogurt will reach maximum tartness (and lowest lactose levels) after 3-4 days.
  • It’ll keep at least 2 weeks in the fridge.


You can mix an match any flavor combination you like, but keep these proportions roughly equal:

  • 5 cups dry ingredients: rolled oats, other rolled grains, puffed grain cereal
  • 1 cup nuts or seeds
  • 1/2 cup oil plus 1/2 cup honey or other sweetener
  • 1 cup dried fruit and/or coconut

Method of assembly:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients and the nuts.
  2. Heat the honey and oil until it’s very liquid.
  3. Pour the honey and oil over the dry ingredients and stir to coat thoroughly.
  4. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes.
  5. When the nuts start to get toasty, or the oats start to brown, remove from oven.
  6. Stir in the fruit and coconut while it’s still warm.
  7. Cool and eat!


  1. Sarah said,

    May 12, 2009 at 10:06 am

    I just started making my own yogurt, and I am thrilled! Why didn’t I start doing this years ago. It tastes so much better and fresher than store bought, and more importantly I know exactly what is in what I’m eating. My favorite lately has been homemade yogurt with rhubarb compote.

    As far as incubation goes, I wrap my heating pad, set on the lowest setting, around the jar, and let it incubate overnight. It works great, and I love finding double uses for items around the house that I already have.

  2. Ed Bruske said,

    May 12, 2009 at 11:42 am

    Emily, homemade yogurt is a wonderful thing. We make at least a quart every week with the unhomogenized whole milk we get delivered from our grass-fed dairy. Using the information on yogurt science in Harold McGee’s “On Food and Cooking,” we’ve developed a method for thick yogurt bringing the milk up to 200 degrees and holding it there (regulating the heat) for at least 15 miutes. The thickening process is regulated by the heat, and the amount of time the milk is subjected to high heat, binding up the proteins.

    After coolign the milk to 120 degrees and adding a couple tablespoons of last week’s yogurt as a starter (we use an Icelandic-style yogurt for a starter), we pour it into a quart canning jar, which goes into a small cooler with a couple of other jars of hot milk for 24 hours or more.

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