Monday, April 18, 2011

Homemade Yogurt

Yogurt is such a healthy snack and we go through quite a bit at our house!
Making it has been on my to do list for a while, so when my friend Monica mentioned she was thinking about doing the same...I knew it was time to give it a whirl.
Monica is one of my dearest friends...the kind of friend who doesn't think it is weird that I get excited over yogurt.
The kind of friend who stays up and reads my late night emails detailing the yogurt making experience.
I LOVE the science behind food preparation and cooking:).

So, after trying a few different methods of making yogurt, I have come up with a recipe that we love!

I have made this several times now and we have truly enjoyed it, but please note I can't be responsible for any bad results:). Make sure you are working with clean equipment and sterilizing your jars. If you are worried, you can also take the time to search the internet and research yogurt making techniques and risks. We have never had a problem and I continue to make it because I know exactly what is in the yogurt AND it saves me so much money:). 

So, here is what you will need:

4 quart canning jars with lids and rings
1 gallon whole milk
4 TBS vanilla
1 - 1 1/2 cups honey 
1~ 6 oz. container of plain or vanilla yogurt with LIVE CULTURES
candy thermometer

First, I sterilize the crockpot by rinsing it with boiling water.
You can also sterilize your quart jars.
Set them aside for a later time.

Turn your crockpot on low and let it heat up.

Next, fill one side of your sink with really cold water.

Pour milk into clean, heavy bottomed pot and stir constantly until it is heated to 180 degrees.
You want it to stay at that temperature for at least 60 seconds.
 I also add 1 1/2 cups of honey, as it will blend evenly in the warm milk.

Take your pot and put it in the sink filled with cold water.
Cool to 110 degrees...I stir occasionally.

Add 4 TBS. vanilla and the yogurt starter.

I have found that if you choose a yogurt that you really love, you will have a slightly similar tasting product.
Whisk everything together.

NOTE: I have not tried for a thicker yogurt, but some recipes call for 2 packets of unflavored gelatin to be added at this point.
 It might be something to try if you are interested.
Crockpot 365 has a great recipe.

Now, turn your crockpot off. Yup...unplug it.
Pour your milk into the crockpot, put the lid on, and cover with a thick towel.

Let it sit for between 7-9 hours. I prefer the 9 hour mark, as there is a bit more "tang."
Just sample a little to see if it is where you want it to be.

Now comes the fun part!
Just look at that beautiful yogurt!

It is not quite the same consistency as store-bought, but really delicious and so healthy!
There are many different ways to thicken your yogurt, but so far I haven't attempted it.
I really like the final product just the way it is. 

At this point, you can also add jam, fresh fruit, or any other flavor. 
Just use your blender and create to your heart's delight.
DON'T worry if the yogurt looks really runny after blending! It will thicken up in the refrigerator.

I like to at least stir it up in the crockpot before removing. There will be a little whey....don't worry about that.
Just mix it right in. Some people like to use a cheese cloth and strain it out, which you can try, too.
 It makes the yogurt slightly thicker.

Next, pour into your quart jars. I use a little funnel because, well, I'm messy.
Now put in your refrigerator and let them sit for a few hours.
Before you know it, the yogurt has thickened and is perfect for breakfast, dessert, or a snack.
If you feel your yogurt is not sweet enough, just add a little powdered sugar and stir in.
It's so good with granola and a little jam on top:). Yum!

Make sure to save at least 6 oz. for your next yogurt starter! The yogurt is great for about a week. 
If you don't consume a gallon {like we do} feel free to cut the recipe in half.



PS: Here is the best part: each 6 oz serving costs about 11 cents {once you have your starter}.
My milk cost $2.39, is 128 oz, which is {21} 6oz. servings. That averages to 11 cents a serving:).

Want more tips on creating great yogurt?
Click HERE!

I am linking to these great places.


kim rakes said...

oh my goodness, you make it look so easy! thanks for this tutorial, we are yogart junkies over this way too... i`ll have to give this a shot (:

Robin {keephomesimple} said...

I've always wanted to try making yogurt myself{it's one of my favorite foods!}! Thanks for this tutorial. I just need to get a candy thermometer and then I'll be set!

Shannon said...

That looks delicious and ambitious! I don't know if I am quite ready to try that. The cultures and potential for messing it up makes me nervous! But, I am going to keep the recipe and method for when I am less tentative :o)

I also wanted to thank you for the homemade microwave popcorn post. I love that idea and will be trying it soon. I like the simplicity of making microwave popcorn but the ingredients make me shudder. Your recipe solves that issue perfectly! Yay!

ashley said...

Wow, you make me want to bust out my crock pot to make this yummy treat!

Thanks for stopping by my blog and following!

Mary Margaret said...

This sounds so good I want to try this too. Can you tell us more about the crockpot? There was nothing mentioned about what temp to turn it to or how long to leave it on before turning it off. Maybe I missed something, sorry if I did. Thanks.

Julia said...

HI Mary Margaret!

I did skip that minor detail...thanks for noticing:). I added it to the post, but you just turn on your crockpot to low for a few minutes until it heats up:). Good luck with the yogurt!


Anne Marie said...

this is such a great idea...showing others the "how-to"....bravo

yes, it is a family heirloom! all 23 of the grandkids are baptized in that gown & their names and date of baptism are embroidered on the inside :)

Jacqueline said...

My household consumes yogurt by the gallon. It's a mainstay in our fridge. The crazy thing is, I've never made it!?! Your post has convinced me to finally do it. Thanks, Julia!

Anonymous said...

I'm going to try it with raw goats milk today. I have greek honey yogurt for a starter. I think I'm going to add the 2 packages of gelatin. We like it thick. If it's not sweet enough I'm going to try Stevia instead of powdered sugar at the end. This is my first time...I said I was going to try this one day. I have lots of goats milk now that the sun has come out. I have everything and home all day. Wish me luck!

Laura & Family said...

I made this yesterday and it turned out great. YUMMY! I think I'll add some gelatin next time, but the taste is great. We had it for breakfast with your heavenly granola, which we are officially addicted.
:-) Thank you so much for sharing -- this will save us tons of money!

Jana said...

YAY I cant wait to to try this, I saw your fab soap dispenser on pinterest and hopped on over....thanks so much for breaking this down with pictures, makes all the difference for me!

Brandy said...

This looks so much fun! We are a small family and I can't imagine using 4 quarts of yogurt in a you suppose that I could use a smaller crockpot and cut the recipe in half? Do you forsee any additional changes? ex. changes in temp, cooking time, etc?
Thank you! I'm gonna try this soon!

Julia said...

Hi Brandy!

You can totally cut this recipe in half and just follow the same directions. I have enjoyed adding 1 pkt. of gelatin when I am adding the yogurt starter. The yogurt turns out a little thicker. I hope you enjoy it! We make it ALL the time!


Anonymous said...

We used to make yogurt with low fat or fat free milk. Makes it less tart. We didn't add anything but the starter. Anxious to try your recipe!!

Aleksandra said...

Hi Julia,
I've been following your blog for a couple of weeks and love it!
I just came across your recipe for Yogurt to see how you make it and there are a couple of steps I usually avoid. No Crockpot, ice baths, or thermometers! I'd like to share my version with you.
I bring 4L of raw milk to a boil in a regular pot, and let it cool down enough to be able to stick my finger in it without it burning (the milk has to be warm but not hot - I never used a thermometer!). Then I pour a cup and a half of room-temperature plain yogurt (I use Astro Balkan Style: I cover it with a lid and keep it in a warm place wrapped in towels overnight [or for 12hrs]. In the morning I have natural plain yogurt that I can sweeten with whatever I want! I do the same thing as you and keep my home-made version as a starter for the next batch. I look forward to your next posts! Cheers!

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