I’ve been making my own yogurt for about a year. It’s so easy and for my family, cost effective. Between both boys and myself, we would easily spend $9 a week or $36 a month buying yobaby organic yogurt. Since I’ve started making my own yogurt, I now spend about $14 a month on local whole milk, frozen berries, and fruit to flavor. That’s right, many people don’t realize that yogurt is actually a fermented milk product whose active bacterial cultures aid in digestion (probiotics). So besides saving quite a bit of money a month, the health benefits are tremendous. My boys eat a yogurt a day and I usually give it to them before bed as it’s said that it also helps you sleep better at night.
Equipment and ingredients needed:
- 1 Half gallon or gallon of milk
(The amount of milk you use is how much yogurt you will make, I currently use 1 gallon which lasts me 4 weeks)
- 1 tbls of plain organic yogurt
- 1 4-5 Qt pot with lid
- Spoon to Stir
- 1 thermometer
- 1 heating pad
Step 1. Sanitize equipment
Make sure all equipment you’ll be using is sanitized. Either sanitize in boiling water or run your pot and spoon through the dishwasher.
Step 2. Add Your Milk to the pot and heat to 185°F stirring frequently to prevent the milk from scorching. I use local Picket Fence Creamery Whole Milk. Non-homogenized.
Step 4. Cool to 110°F
Once the milk has reached 185°F immediately take off the heat and place in a sink filled with cold water and ice cubes and continue to stir until the temperature drops to 110°F. Important – If you’re yogurt starter is cold, only drop the temperature to 120°F. The cold yogurt will bring the temperature down to around 110°F or the temperature at which the beneficial bacteria will multiply.
Step 5. Add 1 tablespoon yogurt starter to the milk and stir to distribute the cultures. I use Organic Cultural Revolution yogurt from Kalona, Iowa which can be found at any local area Hy-vee.
Step 6. Cover and Keep Warm
Cover the pot with a lid and place on top of a heating pad set to medium. Cover with dishtowels and allow to sit undisturbed for 7-8 hours or as long as 12-24 hours. The longer it sits, the thicker it gets, however, the tangier it will also get.
Step 7. After as many hours as you have let it to ferment, stir well to incorporate the curds and whey.
As you can see in the picture below, the liquid or whey, rises to the top with the curds below it. If you are into lacto-fermentation, I would suggest you save some of it to use for fermenting vegetables. For more information on lacto-fermentation, click here.
Step 8. Pour into containers and chill overnight
Once your yogurt is made, place in the coldest part of your refrigerator overnight where it will thicken further. Make sure to save a tablespoon of your yogurt as it will serve as your starter for your next batch.
Sweetening the Yogurt
This is totally personal preference. It took me awhile to get it just right for my family. I personally like it plain drizzled with raw honey or pure maple syrup. However, for my kids after many variations, I finally came up with what works best for them.
For this particular batch I used strawberries. However, you can substitute for any berry or fruit.
- 1 pint plain homemade yogurt
- 1 1/2 cups frozen berries or fruit
- 2 tblspoons organic sugar
Step 1. Thaw your berries
Step 2. In a food processor, blend your berries. I do this for my youngest as I’m not yet comfortable with chuncks, but as he gets older, I will just mash the fruit with a fork.
Step 3. In a bowl, mix in the yogurt, fruit and sugar.
Step 4. Place back in pint jar and serve in individual portions as needed.