Homemade Yogurt

This is what I do:

I start with a gallon of milk.You can use powdered milk (though Moos Milk doesn’t have the lactose content to work…so you probably don’t want to use Lactose Free milk either since the “yogurt microbes” use thelactose)…or 2%…probably even fat free milk.I’ve tried the 2% and powdered.I don’t like the taste of powdered…though I know some who do add a little powdered to increase the creaminess. I prefer to use whole milk. I find it to be more “creamy”…and a bit better flavor.We get the Costco 2 gallons for about $5.I use 1 and divide the other between the 2 containers and freeze it for the next yogurt batch.I then heat the milk in a pan on the stove.I’ve tried using the microwave, but it doesn’t seem to give the same “fullness” to the yogurt. The milk needs to be heated to a minimum of 110 degrees. Supposidly heating it to about 180 helps with texture, but I tend to be impatient and forgetful. If you heat higher then 110, then you’ll need to cool it to that point, otherwise you’ll kill the yogurt making microbes.

You’ll also need to get some plain yogurt from the store…with active live cultures in it.I guess there’s a powder yogurt starter too, but I don’t know much about it.I get one of those big containers of the plain yogurt for about $2.I then portion it into ice cube trays and freeze it to use as needed.I also save my peanut butter jars…cleaned out well…to make yogurt in. Any container that will close tight will work.I put 2 or 3 cubes in each container (but my ice cube trays are a little smaller)…it takes about 5 peanut butter jars for the 1 gallon jug of milk.

I then pour the heated milk into my containers.And then through trial and error of many different flavor ideas…and because my kids like the “gogurt” flavor…and aren’t too fond of the strong plain stuff…I mix 4 of the 5 containers with ½ a box of flavored jello.The 5th container I leave plain to use for cooking and freeze some for starters when I need them.Just pour in the jello, put on the lids and shake vigorously.

Then, I put the containers inside one of those orange camping water jug things…cover with warm (about 100 degrees) water…and a couple towels to hold the “floating” jars down…put the lid on and let it sit all day or all night.About 8-12 hours…the longer it sits the stronger it gets.Then the containers go in the fridge to cool.The jello ones set up nice and thick (usually…sometimes we get a odd batch…but then it’s just drinkable yogurt and the kids still get the benefits.I don’t like runny yogurt…but that’s ok).

Homemade yogurt doesn’t get thick like the store stuff…unless you add the gelatin…so my plain one is a little runnier.But it’s still good for cooking….and I know some people who make sour cream from it and yogurt cheese.Maybe someday I’ll get up enough courage to try it.For now this works for us…and I figure it’s about 20 cents for 6oz like those little Dannon yogurt things at the store…that’s a good $1 savings.

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