I use my yogurt for many things! I make delicious smoothies and fruit shakes out of it, eat it with my fruits for a quick snack, Frozen yogurt treats and it is delicious with my homemade granola. I use my plain yogurt as a substitute for sour cream on my potatoes, as a topping for my salads and taco's and in many cooking recipes where it calls for sour cream. You name it AND it is a much healthier alternative! I make 2 quarts a week (my granddaughters love it!!) Yogurt is a great source of calcium, vitamin D and probiotics for your intestinal tract.
I tend to start my yogurt in the morning so it can culture during the day while I am at work. On those occasions when I forget I just get it ready after dinner and let it culture overnight while I sleep. The recipe below will make 1 quart (4 / 8 oz cups). I use a canning jar with screw on lid to let it culture in and then store it in the fridge for use. Feel free to halve the recipe if you need less.
Also you do not need to buy Yogurt starter every time you wish to make a new batch, if you keep back 2 TBSP for every quart you wish to make you can use your homemade yogurt as your starter for your next batches as long as you are making it weekly. As I have researched this some say that they can only get 2-3 batches before having to buy more starter. I am on my 4th batch right now and it actually seems to be getting a thicker consistency (like greek yogurt) than the first batch. I have also read good reviews from many people who have successfully frozen their "yogurt starter" in ice cube trays and claimed that they were good as long as they used them to culture within a month, however I have not tried that myself yet so I cannot vouch for that fact.
For my yogurt starter I use Chobani brand plain yogurt. It is important to start with a good quality yogurt that is rich in probiotics. You can keep it plain or add flavoring of your choice. In the recipe below I am making French Vanilla and using pure vanilla extract and ground Vanilla beans :) Let's get started.
Homemade French Vanilla Yogurt
4 Cups of Milk (Whole works best)
2 TBSP of Yogurt starter (I use Chobani plain yogurt - The 6 oz cup will net you 3 quart jars of finished product)
1 Qt Jar with lid
Flavorings to add after culturing!
Be sure to put in the fridge and let sit for a couple of hours before adding your flavorings. This allows the culturing to stop. Also make sure to keep back 2 TBSP of your plain yogurt to start your next batch.
2 Tsp. 100% Pure Vanilla extract
1 Tsp Ground Vanilla Beans
4 TBSP powdered Sugar or honey
First thing to do is to sterilize your jar and lid. You can either put it in a pan with water and boil it for 5 minutes to kill all bacteria OR you can fill your jar (without lid) about 1/2 way with tap water and place in the microwave for 5 minutes and then allow it to cool while you are preparing the milk.
Measure your milk out and put it into a sauce pan, put your burner on about medium heat. You will need to heat your milk to 185 and hold it there for about 5 minutes. This is essentially re-pasturizing your milk and will make sure that there is no bad bacteria in there. Turn the heat off and move it to another burner and allow it to cool down to 110 degrees.
Next you will remove the water from your jar, and place the yogurt starter in there. *Important* Pour about 1/2 cup of your warm milk in the jar with the starter and swish around to mix it up. Now add the rest of the milk in the jar, put the lid on and swish it around to mix it all up. YOU MUST do this in the two steps above or else you will kill the yogurt cultures from the sudden heat of all the milk.
You will need to place your starter in a warm draft free place for 8-10 hours so it can culture. I put mine in my insulated lunch bag. You can also wrap it up in a towel and sit it on your counter or place it in your oven. The key is to keep it about the same temp and out of drafts.
Now all you have to do is wait. After 8-10 hours check it and when you move the jar, it should all move together in a mass. The longer you let it culture the stronger the taste will be.
Take the jar put it in the fridge and allow to cool for at least a couple of hours. After that you can add any flavors you may want or just leave it plain. The choice is yours. Here is my cost breakdown:
Cost to Purchase Ingredients: $ 3.88
Homemade Yogurt Cost Per 32 oz Batch (Quart): $ .88
Milk: $0.72 / quart (2.89 gallon at Costco)
Chobani plain Yogurt : $0.16 / 2 TBS (.99 per 6 oz cup)
Homemade: $0.03/oz or .88 per Quart
Purchased: $0.16/oz or $ 5.28 per Quart!
This is a change we can all live with!
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