Have you ever made your own yogurt? Did you know you could make your own yogurt? I was curious about this b/c my kids like yogurt and its not exactly cheap and they put tons of sugar in it. I researched it a little online and there are tons of websites that will tell you how you can do it. I decided to experiment with the crockpot method b/c it seemed the simplest. It did not turn out perfectly the first time, but not bad. It was just a little runny which may have been my yogurt starter or may have been that it was not warm enough for the "incubating" period. Anyway, if you think I'm crazy and no way are you going to bother making your own yogurt, I understand and I'll see you with my next post. Otherwise, if you are curious or a little interested, read on.
The recipe/method I used came from a site called Nourishing Days. You can click on that link to read her actual post - and many of the comments that followed were helpful. This is basically how it goes:
1. Turn your crockpot on LOW and add 1/2 gallon milk (skim is fine)
2. Heat on LOW for 2 1/2 hours - you are looking for a temperature of 180 degrees before moving on to the next step...
3. Turn off the crockpot and unplug it. Let it cool with the lid on for 3 hours. The temperature you are now looking for is 110-115 before moving on to the next step...
4. Remove 1-2 cups milk and place in a bowl. To this add 1/2 cup plain yogurt w/live active cultures and mix very well (I think this is where I went wrong - I used Dannon, which the ingredients says has live cultures, but I guess not enough. After researching more, there should be a "live active cultures" seal stamped on the container. Stonyfield Farms seems to be a good starter that other people use, so that is what I will try next time.)
5. Pour yogurt/milk mixture back into crockpot and mix thoroughly with a whisk.
6. Put lid back on crock & wrap entire crock in 1-2 thick bath towels.
7. Let culture overnight 8-12 hours (or longer if you want it thicker)
8. Stir and store in containers of your choice. Reserve 1/2 cup to use for your starter for the next batch.
9. Refrigerate at least 8 hours before using.
I stored mine in small 4 or 6 oz containers (can't remember if they are Glad or Ziploc, but you know what I mean). That way the kids could still have their own personal yogurt. This is also where you can experiment with different flavors by adding mix ins. Some suggestions are vanilla extract, jam, powdered drink mixes (Nesquick or Crystal Light, etc), jello powder, pudding mix (this helped make it thicker too). Or just use it plain for smoothies, on top of fruit, with granola or as a substitute for sour cream on tacos, etc.
**After making it a few times now, I have found my kids don't like it unless it's thick like the kind from the store. So I add & whisk in 3/4 cup milk powder in the very beginning with the regular milk.
I'm curious if anyone else has tried this (or if they will try it), so please comment! If you are going to try it I would recommend reading a little more online , but don't overwhelm yourself. This seemed to be the simplest method.