I'm pretty sure I have purchased almost all brands of yogurt in the store; fruit on the bottom, cream on the top, Greek yogurt, organic, coconut, soy, thick-n-creamy, lowfat, fat-free, you name it, I've probably tried it. But yogurt is expensive and there is too much sugar and extra ingredients for me! So I hope you are brave and try making your own yogurt at least once. My cost ranges from $1.88 to $3.18 to make 2 quarts! Who doesn't love to save money and eat more healthy?
1/2 gallon milk (I use Berbach's 2% milk or any milk not ultra-pasturized)
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I use Chobani or Dannon plain Greek yogurt). Make sure it has live and active cultures.
* 1/2 cup powdered milk (this is optional - it works fine without this)
You will also need a crock pot, a thermometer (I use a digital thermometer), and 2 bath towels or a blanket. Make sure all of your items are clean. You can use hot, boiling water to sterilize or use the dishwasher sanitize cycle works the best.
- Pour milk into the crock pot. Cover with lid and turn on high. Let the milk heat until almost boiling 180F degrees, but don't let it boil. (Mine took 2 hours and 15 minutes).
- Turn the crock pot off and remove the lid, let the milk cool down to 115F degrees. If you get a film over the top, remove it with the backside of a spoon, just lay it over the top of your milk and gently press and lift up, it'll stick to your spoon.
- When the milk cools down to 115F, it took mine about an hour, remove about 4 ladles of milk and place it into a bowl, then add 1/2 cup plain yogurt (and 1/2 cup powdered milk, if you chose to use it) and gently whisk it.
- Then pour this back into the crock pot and whisk it all together.
- Place the lid on the crock pot and place the crock back into the heating element portion. Wrap the entire unit with 2 large bath towels or a blanket. Place it in an area away from drafts. The best is to put it in the oven (DON'T turn your oven on!), turn the oven light on, keeping the towels or blanket away from the light, and let it sit undisturbed for 10-12 hours. I usually put mine in the oven at 8:30 pm and take it out around 8:00 am.
- In the morning, unwrap your crock pot, remove the lid, take a deep breath and enjoy the yummy smell of your homemade yogurt!
- You will see the whey (liquid) in the crock pot with your yogurt. You can mix this in but I like a thick, Greek style yogurt, so I line a colander with cheesecloth or paper coffee filters and place it on top of a large bowl.
- Spoon out your yogurt from the crock pot into the colander. Leave it for about 1 hour then remove the colander and pour the whey into a glass jar. I store mine in the refrigerator. You can use the whey in your homemade pancakes, bread, muffins, pour some in your bath water, and I've even heard of people watering their plants with it.
- Stir the yogurt and take out 1/2 cup to save as starter yogurt for your next batch, this way you won't have to buy any yogurt for a starter, you will have your own. I save mine in a glass container and put it in the freezer.
Some of my favorite things to add are: 1 tsp of honey, 1 tsp agave, 1/4 cup homemade muesli, homemade granola, sliced almonds, fresh slice strawberries of other fruit, homemade jam or homemade applesauce with a little cinnamon. Now wasn't that easy? And don't forget super yummy and healthy! My granddaughter helped me and thought it was the coolest thing ever and that's a memory builder! Good luck and enjoy!
Love and peace.
~ Simply Tammi