Thursday, March 22, 2012

Homemade Yogurt

Making Homemade yogurt is easy and inexpensive. You can make a whole lot for a lot cheaper than store-bought. I always like to try things like this and cheeses to see the difference in tastes and for the challenge.  I know they have little machines that you can buy to make your yogurt but that’s just one more appliance and you most likely have the stuff to do it at home. There are a lot of different ways to make it out there but after some research I found the best one was to use your crock pot. Bought yogurt will have a different consistency maybe a little thicker or gelatiney because they add gelatin or Pectin to thicken it especially the low-fat versions. You can thicken yours as well but do it more naturally by setting over a cheese cloth lined sieve.
Crockpot Yogurt
1/2 gallon of milk (whole or 2% works best but you can use 1% and add powdered milk it helps elevate the thickness)
1c. of plain yogurt with active cultures (make sure it has the live cultures Greek yogurt has these but make sure it says it on container)
1/2c. powdered milk if using 2% or lower milk
Pour milk into crock pot put lid on and turn onto  high. You want to get it until its starting to boil or 180 degrees to kill off any extra bacteria or it will kill your live cultures. This takes about 11/2 to 2 hours. Then take off lid and let it cool down to 110 degrees or when you can put your finger in it and leave for 10 seconds. Stirring it a little helps it cool down a little faster. Mine took about 45 minutes to an hour to get to this point.
Stir  a little of the milk into the plain yogurt you purchased to help loosen it up and then add all to crock pot add your powdered milk or a single packet of gelatin at this time if using. Stir it in well. Put lid back on and wrap in a large towel  to hold what heat is left in. Set aside for 8 to 10 hours.
I usually do this part at night before going to bed so its ready in the morning.
I did not add any powdered milk I used half whole milk half 2%. If you like your yogurt a little on the thinner side jar up now and place in fridge and it will thicken a little more. I like mine thicker so I  poured it into a cheesecloth lined seive and set over a bowl in the fridge for a few hours. What collects in the bowl below is Whey.  You can use this to make your own protein shakes if desired it so good for you.
After this I put into jars or small containers and out in fridge.
There you have it. It lasts 7 to 10 days. If you want to make yogurt on a regular basis freeze 1 cup portions to use for your live cultures instead of purchasing it.
To eat you can flavor it with  1 -2 T. of Homemade Raspberry Jam (that’s how my kids like it) or with a tablespoon or two of honey or agave nectar with a sprinkling of granola, or a packet of stevia.

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