Monday, February 25, 2013

Mama's Yogurt

A few years ago I heard someone say they made their own yogurt. I thought that was just crazy cool and probably something that I couldn't pull off. During my pregnancy, I started drinking smoothies daily for breakfast and my main ingredient was Greek (organic) yogurt. If you haven't priced this lately...well its just insane! I was spending almost $2.00 a day on yogurt (thats $60 a month). I decided I would HAVE to pull off this homemade yogurt if I wanted to continue my smoothie drinking. I found a couple of different recipes on pinterest and around the internet. It only took me a few times to really master it and have an end product that I was happy with (actually more satisfied than what I was buying).

Since Dino eats yogurt too and needs full fat, I have been buying the large (32oz) Stoneyfield Organic Yogurt (Whole Milk) and using some of that to make my lower-fat Greek version. I can usually get about 48oz (about 6 cups) from my recipe.
I have had several people ask me how to make it, so I wanted to share my recipe and tips.
What you will need:
A crock pot
1/2 gallon of milk (I use non-fat or 1%)
6 oz of yogurt (any kind will do...I typically use just plain organic)
3/4 cup dry powdered milk
Vanilla extract (optional)
*Since making yogurt takes several hours, one of the most important tips is to start late afternoon. I have found around 5:30ish works the best for our schedule.
What to do:
  • Pour milk into the crock pot and turn on high. The milk needs to heat to 180 degrees (which takes my crock pot about 2 1/2 hours).
  • Once the milk has reached 180 degrees, unplug the crock pot and allow the milk to cool to around 115 degrees.
  • Once the milk has cooled, add in the yogurt and the powdered milk and stir until completely blended.
  • Wrap the crock pot in a towel and place in oven (make sure oven is OFF) overnight. 8-12 hours in the oven seems to be optimal, so the timing should work out for it to be ready when you wake up.

The next morning...
  • At this point the yogurt is ready. If you are like me and prefer a thicker yogurt, there are a few more steps.
  • Line a strainer with cheesecloth and place over a large bowl to catch the whey (the liquid that comes off the yogurt).
  • Scoop the yogurt into the lined strainer and place in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours (allowing this time to cool and strain will make the yogurt very easy to remove from the cheesecloth).
  • Remove yogurt out of cheesecloth (sometimes it just falls off and sometimes I have to scrape it with a spatula).
  • Vanilla can now be added if desired (about 1 Tbsp). The yogurt is also great with fresh fruit or preserves.

What about the whey?
I can't stand to throw anything away! The whey can be used in several different ways. My favorite thing to do with it is to "water" my plants with it. The nutrients are great to help the plants grow and thrive. Here are some other great ideas!

Happy yogurt making!!

1 comment:

  1. I was just talking about how I need to start making yogurt because it's a huge chunk of our grocery bill. Thanks for posting your method! When I've had whey left from making cheese, my favorite use was to make this delicious Italian feather bread. I freeze the extra and then defrost when I want to make the bread.