Some would ask why would I want to make yogurt at home?
Well there are a number of reasons that this is a good idea. For one thing, you can save a lot of money making it yourself! Quality Greek yogurt at the store right now goes for at least $4.00 per quart. If you buy it in the small containers, it adds up to even more.
Out of one gallon of milk, you can make 4 quarts of yogurt, even using organic milk, this will cost you less than two dollars per quart.
Another benefit of making your yogurt at home is the ingredients, just milk and yogurt culture, that’s it! No starches, no guar gum, no colorings, no pectin and no preservatives! That is important to me, I believe anywhere we can cut out the man made additions it benefits us in the long run.
Even though it has no preservatives, an unopened jar of yogurt lasts in the fridge for at least a month!
It’s good for the environment, because you use canning jars and not disposable plastic containers, and if that’s not enough to convince you, it is utterly delicious!
I think it’s just plain fun to make something for your family that you know is not over processed and loaded with chemicals. Something you can easily pass down to your children that will in the future save them some money and contribute to their health! I can’t stress enough teaching your kids simple skills like this to help them be more independent when they are grown. I think the more from scratch things we know how to make the better off we’ll be if the time comes in the future when things may not be as easy to just pick up at the store. Well I digress… lol! On to the yogurt making process!
When I can get local milk fresh from the farm, that is what I prefer, but when that’s not available I use whole milk from the store. You get a creamier, more delicious product by using whole milk.
The first step is to sterilize your jars, I do this by putting them in a sink with warm water, and then filling them with boiling water from my tea kettle.
The recipe doesn’t require any special equipment, you should have everything you need right in your kitchen. You will need a heavy bottomed pot to heat your milk in. You must heat it to 185-195 degrees. The heavy pot works well because the milk is less likely to scorch at the bottom. Slowly heat it, stirring occasionally. I just use a regular kitchen thermometer to check for the correct temp.
Once your milk reaches 185 to 195 take it off the heat and set it into a sink with a couple of inches of cold water, to bring it down to between 115 and 100 degrees.
Now is the time to add your culture. No need to buy anything special, I just use 3 Tbsp. of regular store bought yogurt, like Dannon or Stony Hill Farm. Whisk the yogurt in to the milk very well so as to distribute it evenly throughout.
Pour the milk into your sterilized quart jars and put the lids on securely. Now you will need a cooler, put the jars in the cooler and pour some 110 to 115 degree water about halfway up the jars.
Just close the lid, and leave it for 6-8 hours to thicken up. I often do this in the late evening and leave it overnight while I sleep.
After the time is up you can take it out and you will have yogurt! I like to pour mine into a cheese cloth to drain a bit of the liquid off and make it more like Greek yogurt. I flavor mine with honey and vanilla, and often add raspberries or blueberries. The choices are many, whatever pleases your palate.
My friend Heather over at The Welcoming House Blog has a great recipe for some wonderful granola to put on top of your yogurt.
She also has a very cool recipe to make yogurt in your crockpot! I have done it this way too, and both turn out wonderfully!
Well I hope you give it a try, once you do it once or twice, you will find there is nothing to it, and it will be a great addition to your collection of healthy family treats!