Tuesday, March 20, 2012

When Homemade is Totally Worth It - Quick & Easy Homemade Yogurt

Homemade yogurt with wild blueberries and flax seed.
I'm all about making things from scratch, but there are some items like homemade butter, soap or cheese that I just won't even give the time of day. It costs more in time and raw materials to make it from scratch than I have to spare! The one homemade item we never go without though is homemade yogurt. I first started making homemade yogurt about a year ago originally to save money. Organic yogurt tends to add up quickly in price when you have 3-4 people eating it on a daily basis! I've tried a couple of methods, but here's the one I favor - it's a quick and easy way to make homemade yogurt at a much more affordable cost.

Why raw milk would be the best choice of milk...

Homemade yogurt is a great source of probiotics...

If you cannot get a hold of raw milk, then the next best choice would be non-homogenized milk from grass-fed cows such as Snowville Creamery or Harzler Dairy. Their milks are minimally pasteurized and are better then conventional highly pasteurized and homogenized organic milks.

Jar with lid large enough to hold 1/2 gallon (may use 2 large mason jars)

1/2 gallon full fat, grass-fed raw milk
2 tablespoons of yogurt starter for live bacteria (plain, full-fat organic regular or greek yogurt)

Directions - prep time is about 10-15 minutes, then it incubates undisturbed for 12 hours
Set milk and yogurt starter out on counter top to warm up a little. Sanitize all of your utensils. Pour milk into pot and heat slowly up to 140 degrees F. The higher you go, the more enzymes you will kill off. Remove heated milk from stove. Set the pot in a ice cold water bath in the sink to cool down to 110 degrees F. At 110 degrees F, remove pot from cold water bath and immediately stir yogurt starter into your milk. Pour milk into your jar(s) and screw the lid on tightly. Pour hot water into your cooler and place the jars into the cooler with water levels high enough to reach the yogurt levels of the jar to maintain warmth throughout the incubation period. Place thermometer in the water to make sure your water is the correct temperature. Incubate the milk undisturbed in the cooler between 105-110 degrees F for 12 hours. After 12 hours, open and stir your yogurt and place in the refrigerator to cool down before eating.

When it comes time to make the next batch, save 2-3 tablespoons from your homemade yogurt in a small container for your next starter.

Side note - homemade yogurt is usually runnier than regular store bought because it does not have added pectin. Serves great plain or with frozen berries, flax seed and honey.
Add yogurt starter at 110 degrees F
Incubate in cooler with hot water
between 105-110 degrees F for
12 hours