Wednesday, May 09, 2012

My Experiment of Homemade Yogurt

Ever thought about making your own yogurt?  Frankly, I wasn't really sure it was possible.  I would like to make my own cheese or press my own olive oil, too, but both of those seemed about as unrealistic for a "normal" person to attempt as yogurt.
But I found myself with some extra milk and a twinkle of inspiration.
I follow Money Saving Mom {and you should, too} and recalled she had a guest post about making your own yogurt and other ways to use up milk.
Within the post, she linked to someone using their crockpot.  I would prefer my slow cooker do all the work so I don't have to dig out the {lost} thermometer and went with her idea.

I altered my recipe from hers a little so this is what I did to achieve my results:
  1. 1/2 gallon of 1% milk {She recommended full fat but that is not what I had.}
  2. 6 oz plain Greek yogurt {as the "starter"} Again, she suggested full fat but I only found 0% Greek at Aldi's & Target so that's what I went with instead.
That's it!  Two Ingredients!  Can you believe it?
Pour the milk in the Crock Pot/Slow Cooker on low and "cook" for 2 1/2 hours.  
Turn it off and let it set with the lid on for 3 hours.
Stir in the yogurt, put the lid back on, cover the whole thing with a towel {on your counter} and let it set for another 8 hours.  
Yep, on your counter.  
 Kind of grosses you out, huh.  Yep, that's how bacteria does me, too.
This is what it is going to look like, thin & runny.  Think drinkable yogurt.  And you have to stir every time since there are no pesky chemicals keeping it coagulated. 
Now it is plain, aka no flavor just tangy, so to eat it like yogurt, you might want to mix in honey, fruit or granola.
I thought this was a fun idea to utilize it, too. Another guest post on Money Saving Mom, for making your own frozen Go Gurts or Frozen Yogurt Pops, really.
What I did with the majority of it was make "Yogurt Smoothies" for my 4 & 2 year olds.  At least that is what I called it to them. I put in about 1/3 of the stirred-up yogurt, a good glug of honey and filled the rest with milk.  Shake it up and, voila, a Yogurt Smoothie.  I bought jars of fruit puree, aka baby food, to stir for Banana or Apple/Carrot Smoothies tomorrow.  They are going to love them. Really, they are.
I also used it to make my own real smoothies via a blender, frozen berries, a banana, & a good helping of the tangy yogurt.  Worked great.
Over the weekend, I made Turkey Tetrazzini  and added in about a half cup to give it a little zing.  It would be a great trade {as is} for sour cream in numerous recipes, such as Mexican dishes or Beef Stroganoff.

If the thin consistency doesn't work for you or you love the Greek yogurt texture, like I do, you can strain it like the picture below.  
I used a small mesh strainer and a coffee filter over a bowl.  It was in the fridge for almost a day to get the thick texture I was after.  I was amazed at how much liquid, or whey, that came out of the small amount I put in the container.  
I will have to come up with a larger way to strain more at one time but this will be good for my breakfast mixed with some fresh fruit and a little honey.  
I hope you give this a try!  For the experimentation alone, it was worth it.  But the savings and health benefits are great bonuses, too! 
Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!