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homemade...yogurt? (ho-gurt?)

yes, i know it sounds gross, but hear me out.  it's way cheaper than buying it from the store, plus it doesn't contain all those gross, fake ingredients that flavored yogurts have.  you can always add berries, or honey and cinnamon, or vanilla, etc. for flavoring later.  plus, it's ridiculously easy, requires no special equipment (other than a crock pot), and turns you into the crazy lady who makes her own yogurt.

yogurt is way good for you.  it contains a bunch of probiotics for digestion, and has a really high protein content.  because it's fermented, it's easier for people with dairy issues to process.  and little kids love it.

are you ready for this?

ingredients:

4 c. milk (i recommend whole or 3.5 cups of skim milk and 1/2 cup of cream to avoid homogenization)
1/4 c. plain yogurt (either store-bought or leftover from a previous yogurt batch.* i recommend dannon all-natural, full-fat yogurt.)
1 packet plain gelatin (NOT jell-o. found in baking aisle at fareway.) - see update
1/4 c. powdered milk (optional) - see update

directions:

1. put milk in crock pot and turn on "low."  leave for three hours.

2. unplug crock pot and leave for two and a half hours.

3. place yogurt in small mixing bowl, whisk 1 c. warm milk into it.  whisk in gelatin and powdered milk, if using.  pour all back into the rest of the milk in the crock pot and mix.

4. wrap unplugged crock pot in a towel and leave eight hours or overnight.  the longer you leave it, the "tangier" it will be.

5. put in container in the fridge to stop "yogurting" process and to let it set.  avoid messing with it (stirring, pouring, etc.) too much or it will get runny.

that's it. pretty hands-off, which i love.  goes great with cereal, fruit, and even as sour cream in things like chili.

*keep 1/4 c. back and freeze for use in next batch.  the more each batch is paid forward, though, the weaker the good bacteria in the yogurt becomes.  if you notice it being runnier than usual, start over with fresh yogurt from the store.

**UPDATE: scrap the gelatin and dried milk powder.  just stick your starter in a coffee filter-lined strainer for a few hours or overnight so the starter gets really thick (almost like cream cheese).  mixing this in will give your yogurt the perfect consistency.

notes:

1. the powdered milk and gelatin give it more consistency.  i've made yogurt without using these and it was REALLY runny - good for eating on cereal or using as a yogurt drink, but not easy to eat with a spoon!

2. i freeze leftover yogurt in an ice cube tray and use three cubes' worth per new batch.

3. don't let a kid eat as much yogurt as they want - it will give them a SERIOUS case of the runs.  believe me.

3 comments :

apotratz said...

Thanks for sharing this, I will try it!

Eric Crawford said...

And if you want Greek yogurt, get some cheese cloth and line a strainer and pour in yogurt. Let sit. The liquid portion of the yogurt should strain through while leaving all the good yogurt stuff in the strainer. Just let it sit there until it gets to the consistency you like. This is a way you could make yogurt without the gelatin because that just sounds weird and fake to me. Just sayin'. Dina Hamouche, who is from Lebanon and makes yogurt a lot, says that sometimes she will strain it so long it almost becomes a cheese of sorts that she crumbles on top of salads and traditional meals. Sound tasty.

paige said...

i've actually heard of straining it as well, but i've never actually tried it. without at least adding either dry milk or gelatin, i'm not sure it would even stay in the cheesecloth. it's THAT runny...basically the consistency of heavy cream.

but maybe i'll try just the dry milk and then straining it to see if that works a little better - thanks for the tip!