Homemade Yogurt! Save $!

Homemade yogurt is a simple and lovely way to save money on your favorite yogurt.  Yogurt and other truly fermented foods like real saurkraut, pickles (fermented not just soaked in vinegar), kefir, miso, and kim chee are amazing digestive aids (yogurt-as long as you can eat dairy).  However for some of us it is a little expensive to buy the amount of yogurt we would like to eat!  

Did you know that when you make yogurt you get 1 for 1 the amount of yogurt to the amount of milk you put in! Think about the savings – 1/2 gallon organic milk = 1/2 gallon of yogurt!

This is such a fun way to save some money and a great learning opportunity for the kids (and adults) Each batch of yogurt will likely turnout slightly different whether in consistency or flavor.  Play with it and see what you like.  Try adding some preserves at the bottom or honey!  I Always make it plain  then add things if we want later (yeah I know boring).

Here are some basic directions for making yogurt.

-Start by bringing your 1/2 gallon of milk to a simmer (I have accidentally boiled my milk over onto my stove a few times and the yogurt still turns out fine) I have only ever used whole milk for this process you can use goat milk (try coconut milk or soy they might be great!) 
*note I sometimes add 2 Tbls of milk powder to my milk (this seems to help it get thicker in the end)
-Next skim off any film and cool to about 110 degrees or just warm to the touch.
-Now mix in 1/2 cup of whatever kind of yogurt you love  (I really love Greek Gods and it has 5 different lovely bacteria in it that are soooooo good for you! most yogurts only have 2 or 3 different strains of bacteria). fyi your yogurt will mimic whatever yogurt you use for a starter and turn out approx. the same consistancy
-Strain your mixture and pour into your favorite containers uncovered (I use our drinking glasses that have covers for later) then put it in your warming place.
-I own a yogurt maker so that is what I prefer to use.  Or you can make it in a crock pot (my friend Jerri has done this, maybe she will share in the comments how it works!) here is a link for crock pot yogurt   I have also read about using your oven on low and cracked open a bit, this is not possible in a household with children so I have not tried it. 

The idea is to keep it sort of warm all night long so the bacteria can grow and coagulate.  Then about 12 hours later put your yogurt covered in the fridge for eating later.

*If you love thick Greek yogurt all you need to do is strain your yogurt when it is cool with cheese cloth or very fine mesh strainer for a couple of hours and it will be lovely and thick! 

I own a Yolife yogurt maker and think it is pretty great (if I remember right it was about $30 when I got it, which was recouped in yogurt to milk costs within 4 uses!).  There are many to choose from.  Don’t believe them when they say you must use a special starter (that will just cost more).  I choose my yogurt maker because you can use any size or shape container to make your yogurt in because it has a large dome top.  Some you have to use the containers that it comes with (not as convenient). 

milk in the pot (try not to boil over, it is a pain to clean up!) after simmering and cooling mix in the yogurt.

 this is what I use to strain my milk – the big measuring bowl makes it easy for pouring into the cups

 fine mesh strainer -you don’t want lumpy yogurt

pour into the cups and let the bacteria grow and grow!

pour into cups or jars you like (this is a photo of my yogurt maker and jars inside) you can see it is all steamy inside, the yogurt maker just keeps it at a steady slightly warm temp overnight
the next morning!  don’t eat it warm! not good.  just put it in the fridge and eat it later with honey drizzled on top!
check this out!  easy easy!  I love to eat plain yogurt but you can experiment with mixing in preserves when done.  I often use yogurt in place of sour cream in recipes or for toppings.

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