Sep 15, 2013

homemade yogurt

I had two big surprises this past week.  First of all, somehow I got sucked in to "volunteering" to be our department website developer.  I can't say I've ever done anything quite like it before, besides blogging, but I suppose I'm probably one of the most technologically competent people in the office.  That may not be saying much, either.  Anyways, I went to a one hour "crash course" in how to make changes to the website.  I came back to my office and asked everyone what needed changed.  Within minutes I had a request come in.  I made the changes, slightly afraid that the entire university system would somehow implode due to me adding a new faculty bio on our website.  But, IT WORKED!  Perhaps I shouldn't have seemed so surprised.

Secondly, I had been reading for a while that it's easy and cheap to make your own homemade yogurt.  I found a recipe, heated some milk, added some yogurt, and left it in a warm place overnight.  And IT WORKED!  The gallon of milk turned into this beautiful thick yogurt.  A gallon of yogurt cost about $4.  I'll give you a second to reread that last sentence. Four dollars for an entire gallon.  Plus, by making your own, you can control what goes in it.  I've been avoiding most yogurts for years as any of them that are a reasonable price are filled with gelatin.  Hubs has been avoiding it for years because there's way too much sugar in the pre-made stuff.  I am happy to announce that we no longer need to compromise our values, our wallets, or our diets to enjoy yogurt.  And, we've got more than we can eat in a really long time in the fridge and freezer.

Please note, though, that this recipe is for plain, unsweetened yogurt.  Once it's made, play with adding a little sugar, honey, vanilla, fruit, or granola.  My dad's favorite is adding a little strawberry jelly.  My favorite is adding a little sugar and coffee for coffee yogurt.  Hubs likes his with a little sugar and peanut butter granola.

Homemade Yogurt 
Recipe from Make the Bread, Buy the Butter by Reese

Makes 1 gallon

  • 1 gallon of milk (I used whole milk, because the higher the fat content, the thicker it will be)
  • 1/2 c plain unsweetened yogurt with live active cultures (I used Velvet View from Fresh Fork)
Heat the milk in a large pot until it's just about to boil, stirring often.  There will be little bubbles starting to form.  Pour the milk into another large pot or a large bowl and set it on the counter.  Allow the milk to cool to 110-115 degrees (Reese said you can test this by putting your finger in the milk for 10 seconds comfortably but still feeling heat).  You can remove any skin that develops on the milk as it's cooling.  Once it has cooled to the right temperature, mix in the yogurt well and cover it lightly with a damp cloth or an off-center lid.  Allow the yogurt to sit out overnight, 8-10 hours in a warm spot.  I turned on the oven as low as it could go for a minute, turned it off, and put the yogurt in there to brew overnight.  In the morning, you will be just as surprised as me to find a thick, beautiful yogurt!  Mix it up and put it in a closed container and refrigerate or freeze until ready to enjoy.

If your yogurt isn't thick enough for your liking, or if you want Greek-style yogurt, you can strain it through cheese cloth in a strainer until it reaches your desired thickness.  But you will lose up to half of your volume of yogurt by following this method.

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