These recipes were created and have been used over the years by author Anna Hewitt.
One half-gallon whole milk, not ultra-pasteurized
¼ cup plain yogurt
Pour the milk into a heavy-bottomed pot and place over medium heat. Heat the milk to 180 degrees, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. If you don’t have a thermometer, heat the milk until it is very hot and steamy but not quite boiling. If it does start to boil, just remove it from the heat. Let the milk cool to 120 degrees or very warm but not too hot to touch. When the milk reaches 120 degrees, stir in the yogurt, whisking to evenly distribute it. Pour the milk into two clean quart sized jars and cover. Place the jars side by side in a warm spot and cover with several tea towels. You want to keep the yogurt warm, but not hot, so the cultures can do their work. After 4-6 hours the milk should have thickened and set with the whey slightly separated. It can now be refrigerated and used. Save ¼ cup of this batch to start the next one.
If you prefer thicker yogurt, place a strainer lined with cheesecloth or a clean thin tea towel over a bowl. Let the yogurt drain until it has reached your preferred consistency. Plain yogurt can be sweetened with fruit, honey or maple syrup or used in savory dishes. Use within 7-10 days.
2 cups heavy cream, not ultra pasteurized
¼ cup cultured buttermilk
Pour the heavy cream into a clean jar or bowl. Stir in the buttermilk until the two liquids are completely combined. Cover and let sit at room temperature. It will take 12-24 hours for the cream to thicken and develop a tangy, complex flavor. Keep refrigerated and use within a week.
1 batch crème fraiche, at room temperature
Pour the crème fraiche into a quart-sized jar and tightly screw on the lid. Shake the jar up and down. After about five minutes the crème fraiche will become very thick. It will clump into a yellowish mass and the liquid buttermilk will separate out. Pour out the buttermilk and place the butter in a larger bowl. Add enough cold water to cover the butter and press the butter together with a fork. The water will become cloudy as the milk solids leave the butterfat. Pour out the water, add more clean cold water, and continue pressing the butter. Repeat this process until the water is clear. Pat the butter dry. Mix in salt if desired. It is best used as soon as possible but will keep, tightly covered, for 4 or 5 days.