Friday, July 13, 2012

Real Crunchy Step: Homemade Yogurt

Did you know you could make yogurt?!  I did not.  In fact not only can you make yogurt but it's pretty simple too!  The yogurt and crock pot pretty much do most of the work. Who knew?!?!?  All you need is milk and a little bit of already made yogurt, either your own or store bought.  I used Stoneyfield Organic plain yogurt because that's generally what I buy.  I think by this point we all know that yogurt has live bacteria in it and that the bacteria is good for us. (We know this because it's on TV and if you see it on TV it must be true!!!)  Very simply put when you mix a little bit of yogurt with live cultures in with milk and provide a great environment (warmth followed by a slow cooling) you get more yogurt.

I followed the instructions I found here at Keeper of the Home (in case you haven't noticed this is my current go to blog for healthy recipes and information.)  My yogurt was little runnier than I would have liked but for my first time I was pretty happy with it.

2 TBS plain yogurt.
4 Cups milk (I used organic whole milk)

Step 1:  Heat up your crockpot on low
Step 2:  Measure out yogurt
Step 3:  Heat milk in saucepan to bubbling and foamy or 185 degrees (I just did bubbling and foamy because it was easier)
     *while the milk is heating move on to step four
Step 4:  Fill the sink full of cold water.  Once the milk is foamy put a lid on the pot and place the whole pot in the water (the water should come up about halfway and not get in the pot.) to cool.  The milk should be very warm to the touch (stick in a clean finger) but not so hot you pull your finger out and not cool.  The recipe I used said this takes about 10 minutes.  Apparently I have very cold water because after 5 I think mine was a little too cool (maybe this contributed to the runnyness)  Again, if you need to do this "right" then you're going to want it to get to between 90 and 110 degrees.
Step 5:  mix one cup of milk with the yogurt starter.  Pour the rest of the milk into the crock pot.  Mix the cup of yogurt and milk and then pour that in as well.
Here's where it gets a little weird.
Step 6:  Wrap your crockpot up in a thick beach towel (I guess it doesn't have to be a beach towel but a bath towel just seems weird.  Maybe a pool towel)  I used two thinner ones.  Unplug the crock pot.
Step 7:  Let it sit and don't mess with it for 6-10 hours.  I did 7 and 1/2.  Next time I will do longer and see how that affects the consistency.
Step 8:  Move the crock into the fridge.  Do not shake, stir, or otherwise disturb your yogurt.  I've read varying reports on how long to leave it from, "until it's cool" to "24 hours"  I left it for 12.
Step 9:  Pour or scoop yogurt into clean glass containers

All in all it was pretty easy.  The kids tried some with blueberries and honey and didn't love it but they aren't huge on eating yogurt straight up anyway.  George and I tried some with blueberry butter (more on that next Friday)  mixed in and that was pretty yummy.  It will definetely be great for smoothies.  I'll be adding this to my list of things to always make from scratch.

He likes it!
Cost wise:
2 Tbs Yogurt Starter $.13 (yogurt can be frozen so I bought a 32oz container of Stoneyfield Organic for $3.99 and used 1 oz.)
4 Cups Whole milk $2 ($3.99 for 1/2 gallon I used 1/4 of a gallon)
Total:  $2.13 for 4 cups of yogurt so just over 1/2 the cost of buying the yogurt in the store!  That's a pretty good savings.  Especially if you eat yogurt a lot or use it for smoothies or other cooking!

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