Homemade yogurt is easy and inexpensive. Milk + yogurt + heat = homemade yogurt. Here’s your recipe!
Yogurt ingredients? Milk + yogurt + heat = homemade yogurt
and it’s about that easy!
Why make homemade yogurt?
While store-bought yogurt is convenient,
- I like the sugar level. Low.
- I like reducing the number of plastic containers I throw away. A milk jug.
- I like the cost. A gallon of milk.
Fermented foods and healthy bacteria are hot trends. Fermentation uses bacteria and yeasts to convert sugars and starches into an alcohol or acid which creates foods and flavors. Such as wine, beer, bourbon, bread, soy sauce, sauerkraut, coffee, chocolate and yogurt. When shopping for fermented foods, choose brands that state they contain live organisms.
Canned and jarred foods that are heat processed may not be good sources because high heat kills the bacteria. A refrigerated, fresh sauerkraut delivers bacteria that a can of sauerkraut won’t.
Yogurt’s health benefits? Good bacteria are probiotics
Yogurt is fermented milk. Live and active cultures, Streptococcus thermophilus, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus are the bacteria in yogurt that provide health benefits. That’s what a probiotic is: something that confers a benefit on it’s host (you).
Yogurt is a probiotic, helping to create a healthier digestive system by restoring beneficial bacteria and facilitating digestion. If you have trouble digesting milk, you may find yogurt suits you better.
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How to make homemade yogurt
- 1 gallon milk, I use whole milk or 2% (reduced fat)
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt, with live and active cultures (Save some yogurt to use as the starter for the next batch of yogurt.)
- Wash your hands and equipment.
- Heat milk. In a slow cooker or heavy pan, heat milk to 180° F. and hold for 10—15 minutes.
This helps create a thicker yogurt. If heating on stove, stirring prevents milk from boiling over. In a slow cooker, no need to stir, but this could take a couple of hours or more.A thermometer is the only way to be accurate.
- Cool milk. Cool to 115° F. I put ice and water in the sink then put the pan of warm milk in sink. Pull off the protein skin as it develops. Stir to cool the milk. Watch the temperature because it drops quickly. If it cools too much you’ll need to reheat because you need an ideal temperature for the starter bacteria to flourish.
- Make starter. In a separate bowl, make the starter culture by mixing 1/2 cup plain yogurt with 1 cup of the 110-118° F. milk. Stir milk/yogurt mixture into the warm milk.
- Incubate. Heat oven to 100° F. Turn off oven, place pan of yogurt in oven with the oven light on. Let sit for 6—12 hours. It should be thick and look “cultured” — that it’s set and firm (like baked custard). The longer it sits, the thicker the yogurt.
- Refrigerate. Place pan in fridge to cool completely before spooning into storage containers. It thickens as it cools but remains on the runny side. Store in refrigerator up to a month.
- To thicken. Pour off excess liquid. Spoon yogurt into a strainer lined with a coffee filters or paper towels. The longer you strain, the thicker the yogurt becomes. If straining for 60 minutes or less, you can do it in the sink. Longer straining should be done in the fridge.
Homemade Greek yogurt, straining yogurt pros and cons
Pros: Concentrated, so has more protein. Lactose, a milk sugar, is reduced, making it easier to digest. Less sugar means the yogurt is tart.
Cons: Lower in calcium. Much of the calcium is in the liquid (whey).
How to flavor homemade yogurt
- Blueberry, spelt, yogurt scones
- mango, crystallized ginger, toasted coconut
- honey, chopped pistachio
- mango, instant coffee ground, cinnamon
- top granola
- make tzatziki sauce
- cucumber, tomato, basil
- avocado, jalapeno
- salsa, corn, black beans
- canned clams (chopped, drained), salt, and pepper for clam dip
- top tacos with yogurt
- sprinkle herbs and flowers over