I have to admit those words use to intimidate me. Not anymore!
I had thought about making homemade yogurt before. I looked it up once. I looked at all the steps. I saw that it took 8 hours. I thought, "No way! Who has time for that?!" I decided, at that point, that I would just buy my yogurt like "normal people". :)
Then, this past summer a friend told me she made some, that it was easy and only took about an hour. I revisited the idea. Even asked for the recipe. I still didn't try it. I think I was just being lazy.
Fast forward to January 2013...and my decision to wholeheartedly pursue better health. I know that yogurt is a good thing to have in your diet because it's full of live and active cultures like Lactobacillus acidophilus (good bacteria/pro-biotic). But I'm blown away with the number of store brand yogurts that use modified corn starch (a GMO!) as a thickener. In addition, many of them (any flavored ones) are full of either sugar or artificial sweeteners (which I consider much worse for your health than sugar!). Soooo I revisited the idea of making yogurt again.
I did a little research and easily found this site called Make Your Own Yogurt. Wow! They broke it down step by step. It didn't look that complicated. I had all the ingredients on hand. I decided to give it a whirl.
***UPDATE***SEE my 7 Easy Step laid out for you. Click Image Below!
What I started with:
1/2 gallon of milk (Raw is best. Get the best quality you can! Whole milk is healthier)
**FOLLOW UP: After this post I chucked the double boiler (smaller pot inside larger pot). I just use one pan and put the milk right in. Because I continuously stir, I have had no problems with scorching! Even easier!!**
Let me share a few tips from my yogurt making experience, then check out this link to see the step by step details on Make Your Own Yogurt. I really like this tutorial because it not only tells what to do but why these steps are necessary. Quite educational and interesting.
First, make sure you read the "Notes:"section at the bottom of each page on Make Your Own Yogurt! There are some important notes there...and I think they can be easy to miss.
Notice I used a candy thermometer. It worked fine.
On step #5 NOTE: If you hold the milk at 185 degrees for 30 minutes you will get a thick consistency. This can be a little bit tricky. You have to stand there and adjust the burner accordingly. If you don't keep it at 185 degrees for 30 minutes your yogurt will be runny. So this is important! This was the "hardest" step because it required me standing there with a watchful eye on the thermometer (and stirring the milk) for 30 minutes straight.
At this point the milk looks frothy. Latte anyone?! :)
I removed the smaller pot from large pot. Let the milk cool to 110 degrees (in a sink full of cold water). Wish I had a picture. I don't.
I added 3 Tbsp of high quality plain yogurt to the 110 degree milk and stirred well. Up to this point the whole process took 1 hour.
Now, you wait for 7 hours!
I found a quiet place for my yogurt, a warm place where it wouldn't be disturbed. Hmmm...there are days when I wish I could find a place like that for myself. But anywho.
Cutting Board with Heating Pad on top of it.
Pot with "pitched milk" (fancy term for milk with yogurt added to it) and lid on top
A large bath towel to cover pot.
Heating pad set to medium.
Let it sit for 7 hours.
Pour into containers. I filled two 24 oz cottage cheese containers.
Stuck them in the back of the 'frige overnight.
Enjoyed in the morning!
Very good yogurt!
Add a little fruit.
Or add a little organic granola.
You can also use plain yogurt in place of sour cream on a baked potato or in recipes. Throw some in your fruit smoothies. You can even use it as a hair moisturizer! But don't forget to keep 3 Tbsp back for your next starter!!
A friend of mine says she uses her crockpot to make yogurt. I've also read that you can put it in the oven. Not sure how either method works because my crockpot doesn't have a temperature setting and my oven doesn't allow me to set it at 110 degrees (Guess the Amana folks weren't thinking of us yogurt makers when they designed it to skip for 100 to 170 degrees). I think this method works quite well, so I think I'll just stick to it. Dare I say it? I actually enjoyed it.
I'm officially hooked on making my own yogurt. Not only is it good, I know JUST what's in it. It's also cheaper. It costs less than $2.00 to make 48 oz!
If you choose to buy store bought yogurt instead of making it choose wisely! Avoid yogurts with modified corn starch and unneeded sweeteners. Chobani Greek yogurt is made with all natural ingredients. Another tip: choose plain yogurt over flavored ones. Then add your own fruit. If you don't want to take the time to puree fruit each time buy unsweetened, all natural jams (like strawberry or apricot) and add those along with some raw honey. Much healthier!!
Until next time...take some healthy steps today, friends. I am.