Sunday, July 25, 2010

Recipe: Yogurt

We are huge yogurt fans in our house.  So much so, that I have often thought about making my own yogurt... but then, anytime I would attempt to find a technique that sounded doable.... I always found myself so overwhelmed & intimidated at the seemingly complicated process, and I stopped before I could even get started!  Then, my mom found & passed on this technique... and it seemed so easy (too good to be true?)  that I just had to try it for myself.

AND.... It's fantastic!!

SO easy, healthy, and very yummy! It's not only a excellent way to get some good probiotics and active cultures - which aid in digestion into your diet...  but it's a healthy source of protein, calcium, magnesium, and other essential vitamins and minerals!  And the best news... it's SUPER frugal!!!

I don't know about you... but it's not east handing out $4 every time you buy just ONE quart of Organic yogurt. Even with coupons, it was hard to find less than $3.   But by making myself... I can get a half-gallon of Organic milk for around $3 (often cheaper with a coupon)... and I get not one, but TWO quarts out of the deal!  - Yes, I think it's totally worth the 10mis it takes to assemble it in the crock pot... don't you?!

  1. Take ½ gallon of milk (Raw is best... but even store-bought organic is better than buying pre-made yogurt! -- I had a coupon, so I got a half-gallon of Horizon Organic [Whole] Milk for like $2!)
  2. Pour milk into a Crockpot**
  3. Heat/cook on low for 2½ hours
  4. Once the 2½ hours have elapsed.... turn off and unplug your crockpot... and let the milk cool in the crock with the lid on for 3 hours. (at the end of this period, you want the milk warm (around 90-110°) - but not hot, so as to not kill off the active cultures--- the warmth helps the good bacterias in the starter to grow.)
  5. Add ½ cup starter (I use plain yogurt with live cultures.  Usually I buy a small cup, since ours typically gets eaten up before I can make it again. -- Of course, full fat is best.... but our store only carries low-fat in the small cups, so that's what I used, and it worked fine)
  6. Whisk together, thoroughly
  7. Place cover back on crockpot, & wrap entire thing with a beach towel
  8. Leave for 12-24 hours to culture.
  9. When finished, stir yogurt, spoon into quart sized jars, and store in quart-sized glass jars

    Viola! You have yogurt!
Now what?  Enjoy!!! You can.... eat it sweetened with your favorite sweetener (we like stevia, honey or maple syrup!)...  mix with some granola, fruit, etc for a nutritious breakfast or snack.... use as a base for a delicious smoothie... use as the acid medium when soaking grains...  and so much more!  ~ The possibilities are really endless! :)  

** Note about crockpot...  Mine's not small by any means (I just measured it, and it's a 4.5 quart)... and it worked just fine. It did start looking a little toasty brown around the edges, towards the end of cook time... but it didn't effect the yogurt one bit. I would say, it yours is any bigger than this, it may be a wise idea to find a smaller one. But otherwise, you should be good to go!  I would think buying one (even a used one) would save you $$ in the end, compared to buying yogurt all the time - esp when we're talking raw and/or organic. :)

Recipe note: I am still working on an adaption for a gallon of milk.  With various tweaks - and  much trial & error -  my first attempt came out  *ok*... but wasn't quite the same awesome result as the half-gallon adaption.  Good, but not great.   Of course, since milk is often found cheaper (per oz) when bought by the gallon, around here.... I will definitely be playing around/tweaking it some more, and post my findings & tips, once I finally make a successful batch!

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