Making Your Own Yogurt

Why buy yogurt at the grocery each week when you can make your own with very little investment.  All you need is milk and yogurt. 🙂

Honestly, your kids don’t need yogurt that squirts out of a tube or is funny colored or tastes like cotton candy.  I fail to see the health benefits of those kinds of yogurt.  You can make your own, add your own extras, and still make it fun and healthy to eat.  Yogurt is just fermented milk so it’s really easy to get started making your own and then coming up with your own ideas on how to jazz it up a bit if you want to.  All you need is milk, a bit of live active yogurt cultures, a large pot, an incubating source (more on that later), a cooking thermometer, and some time.  So, next time you head to the grocery to pick up some milk, add a little extra (just remember that you will be making an equal amount of yogurt to milk…i.e. 1/2 gallon of milk = 1/2 gallon of yogurt) and pick up a small container of PLAIN yogurt with active cultures (it will say on the label if it has it).

Let’s get started.

Milk and yogurt should be room temperature before you start and all your implements and containers should be sterilized to avoid the potential of food born illness.

  • Heat your milk to 185 degrees stirring frequently and hold steady at this temperature for about 30 minutes  (if you don’t have a thermometer, know that at 185 degrees it will start to foam and froth…but it is best to have a thermometer)
  • Once milk is cooked remove from heat and let cool to 110 degrees (if you add the active cultures while too hot, you will kill them and you will not have yogurt).  Once you reach 110 degrees, add 2-3 tablespoons yogurt. Give it a stir.  Let sit a few minutes and stir again to make sure the yogurt is blended in well.
  • Move to incubating source.  Some will move to a 100 degree oven (my oven doesn’t go that low).  Others will cover the pot and wrap the whole thing in towels and a heating pad.  I use a small insulated lunch box

  • I ladle the newly made milk/yogurt mixture into canning jars, but you can put it in whatever you choose to make it easier for you.  To the lunch box, I add water that is between 100-110 degrees and put the canning jars inside.

  • I zip up the lunch bag and cover with a few towels and leave it alone.  About every 2 hours I check the water temperature and try to keep it at 100-110 degrees in there.
  • Let sit for 6 to 8 hours…longer if you want it more sour tasting.
  • By now it should be thick like the yogurt you are used to.  Refrigerate and you are done.

Remember, this is an unsweetened yogurt but you can add sweetener, other fruit, granola, or even use it in a recipe that calls for mayonnaise.  In this post I give a recipe on how to make Greek Cucumber Dressing using your newly made yogurt.

Now that you’ve made your yogurt, you can make it all the time.  You just need milk and active yogurt cultures.  You can use your own yogurt to start the batch process again.  But you can only do that for a couple of times before the active culture sort of dies out.  You can buy freeze dried cultures, or you can buy a larger container of store bought yogurt and freeze it to be used each time.  Just put the yogurt in ice cube trays.  Once frozen, store them in a freezer container and use one or two “yogurt cubes” for each batch of new yogurt you make.

See…it really is easy and way more affordable then buying the store bought kind.  You just need a little time.

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