Yep, it's official...I'm a hippie. You may have thought it was official when I posted about my homemade granola back in January, but that was nothing, NOTHING compared to the hippie-ness of making my own yogurt.
Really, I'm just cheap. The yogurt I usually buy (either Fage or Oikos greek style) is around $6 or more for about 16 ounces. I was able to make about 4 times that much yogurt for about $3. And it was EASY!
Let me first just say that there are about a hundred different recipes on the internet for homemade yogurt. All call for milk, some call for store-bought yogurt, and others call for some type of powder active cultures. I combined 2 simple recipes I found online (this one and this one) and made up my own measurements.
Yogurt-making sounds intimidating, but it's honestly one of the easiest things I've ever done. All you do is take warm milk, add a little store-bought yogurt, and let those little bacteria in the yogurt reproduce until they've turned all that milk into more yogurt. It's like cloning!
Let's talk about the ingredients. Fore my starter, I used plain, organic, fat-free, greek-style yogurt (Oikos brand which is a division of Stonyfield Farms) which has 5 live active cultures. I have heard that other brands have fewer different live active cultures and it helps to use Stonyfield Farms brands because your yogurt will work better with all those different little bacteria running around.
For my milk, I went with whole milk. It was weird to go full-fat, but I wanted a good tasting final result for my first batch of yogurt. Maybe next time I'll try to lighten it up. But in Europe they don't worry about full-fat yogurt so I won't either. Along with all that fat comes great flavor and lots of vitamins and minerals so it's a tradeoff I can deal with. Plus I felt better because I bought the milk from a local dairy that doesn't use RBH treated cows.
So here is how I made homemade yogurt!
1/2 gallon whole milk
4 Tbsp plain yogurt w/ active cultures
Heat the milk to almost boiling, stirring to avoid scalding. Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm temp (or approx 110 degrees). Pour into non-metal bowl and stir in yogurt.
Keep at approx 100 degrees (I put my yogurt bowl in an insulated cooler lined with wet dishrags microwaved for 1 minute) and do not disturb.
Then you wait.
And wait (this is the difficult for us impatient people).
Finally, after you've waited at least 8 hours (but no more than 12 hours), stir again to incorporate any whey that has collected in yogurt. Pour into jars or plastic containers and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
My yogurt ended up runnier than my usual preference (remember I usually buy greek-style) so I went a step further and strained some homemade yogurt overnight through a coffee filter in a colander suspended over a bowl. In the morning I had delicious thick creamy yogurt in the coffee filter that I scooped into a bowl with fresh blueberries for breakfast. Will go so nicely with my homemade granola in the winter.
I'm well aware that I will be mocked for being such a hippie, but I'm willing to take it in return for getting to enjoy this delicious yogurt for only pennies per serving. This is something I'm definitely willing to do again in order to be green and lean!