My Current Love Affair (Homemade Yogurt Recipe)

by Margo on January 23, 2011

As I sit at the computer, I have approximately half a gallon of milk cooling on the stove. Today is yogurt day.

A little less than a year ago, I purchased a yogurt maker. They aren’t fancy or complicated; all it does is keep the yogurt mix warm until actual yogurt develops. You could do the same thing in a crock-pot. Follow an easy recipe, keep it warm for 8-12 hours, and then add flavor. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.

We are making yogurt today because a) I have been promising Becca that she could help me make some yogurt for the past month, and b) I have been eating more yogurt lately than just about anything else. We had a large container of vanilla yogurt that lasted about three days, to give you an idea. I’d take some fruit out of the freezer, let it thaw, and then mix it in with the yogurt, some walnuts and maybe some granola. Yum. And healthy, too.

To make yogurt, you need to first figure out how much milk your “yogurt maker” will hold (crock pot, thermos, other warm area). Then dump that amount of milk into a pot, and heat it to 185°F. Let the milk cool to 115°, and then add in your starter. We just use plain commercial greek yogurt (small cup- 6-8oz.), warmed to room temperature. Stir it all up, and then put the mix into whatever you’re making the yogurt in. Let it set for 8-12 hours.

At that point, you’ll have yogurt, but it will be pretty thin. Take cheesecloth, and drain the yogurt until it reaches the consistency you prefer. We leave it until it makes a thick Greek yogurt, which we then thin a bit with fruit or honey. Today, Becca has decided that she wants to make peach yogurt. I might throw some strawberries in with the peaches, just to change it up a bit.

Save some of the plain yogurt (about half a cup) to make more yogurt later on. Just store it in the fridge, and pull it out before you make your next batch. It’ll be good for a couple weeks if you keep it in a sealed container.

I’ve heard a lot of different ideas for where you can keep the yogurt mix warm. You can put it in an insulated cooler, with hot water bottles set beside it. You can put it in a jar, and then wrap the whole thing up in a towel or blanket. Evidently, you can also set it in the oven, with the pilot light on. Your goal temperature, regardless of what you’re using, is around 90° If you have a slow-cooker, I’d just use that. Leave it on the lowest setting, and then occasionally turn it off so the yogurt mix doesn’t get too warm.

When I first got our yogurt maker, I used it on a regular basis. It was great when I was tackling my weight loss goals. I need to get back into that habit. Yogurt is so healthy, once you remove all the excess sugar the commercial versions have. Seeing as I’m only about six weeks away from finding out how much weight I’ll actually have to worry about postpartum, I need to start worrying about quick and healthy snacks to keep around the house. And yogurt (along with my current collection of frozen fruit varieties) is a perfect solution.

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