I’ve nothing against store-bought yogurt. I’ve eaten it for years, fed it to my family, and I think it tastes perfectly fine.
The first time that I read about making yogurt at home, my curiosity was most certainly piqued. “What’s this? Make my own yogurt? At home? How interesting!”
Unfortunately, that interest quickly gave way to feeling overwhelmed. I read blog tutorials that went on for pages and pages, involving steps like “rig a shop lamp to hang inside a drawer, then place the crock of yogurt, wrapped in a towel, inside the drawer… but DON’T JIGGLE THE YOGURT OR IT WILL BE RUINED”… and other similarly complicated, dire sounding steps.
Hmm – I think I’ll just buy my own, thanks.
But, then we moved to a small town, and you know what? Finding plain yogurt that isn’t low-fat or fat-free is nigh impossible at our local grocery stores. I have a skinny whippet of a two-year-old. He doesn’t need fat-free.
There’s also the issue of cost. Joe, Jack, and I all love yogurt. I give it to them as snacks, use it in baked goods, in casseroles, make smoothies with it, and the cost can eat up my grocery budget, especially when you like the thick Greek yogurt. The large, family sized (35 oz) container of Fage Greek yogurt runs around $7.50 at our local grocery store, and that’s only available in the fat-free variety. Even the store-brand variety isn’t much more economical than name-brand. I figured our yogurt consumption was just going to have to decrease, a casualty of small-town living.
Then, I found this recipe over at Keeper of the Home and thought, “I could do that”. If you start on it in the morning, it’s done before you go to bed. No shop lamps hanging overhead. No storing it in the oven. No excessive babying it. No watching it over a 24 hour period.
I followed the recipe and was amazed that it resulted in edible yogurt. Chris was surprised by my amazement. He asked, “Don’t most of your recipes usually work just fine? Why are you so surprised by this one?”
I don’t know – something about regular milk turning into yogurt in my kitchen seemed impossible. But as it turns out, it’s not.
Here it is after I took it out of the garage (the recipe calls for putting it in the fridge, but it’s so cold in our garage that it basically is a fridge out there, so that’s where I stored it).
It tasted great. It’s got a smoother flavor and isn’t as thick as Greek yogurt, but I’m guessing you could make it thicker by placing a cheesecloth over a colander, then allowing the yogurt to rest on that and drain some of the whey. It might also have been a bit more tart if I’d let it stay in the “wrapped up” phase a bit longer (I put it outside after 8 hours) or if I’d purchased starter cultures rather than using store-bought yogurt I had in the fridge.
Even nicer is the fact that I made it using the milk of my choosing, which for Joe means Vitamin D (not low-fat for our skinny-minnie toddler). Added bonus: it’s much, much cheaper. I buy milk for about $3.75 a gallon and used 6 cups of milk, so a little over a third of a gallon. That comes out to around $1.40 for 48 ounces of yogurt. Remember, the 35 oz container of Fage yogurt that I can buy from the store is $7.50. Wow.
I have to admit – I did do my own taste-test before giving it to the boys. If I was going to get sick from eating it, then no one else was going to have any. I know, I know, the sacrifices we mothers make.
Next morning, I felt great! So, lunch time dessert was a bowl of yogurt for both of my babies.
If you want to make your own yogurt, here are some tutorials that are worth checking out:
Keeper of the Home’s Tutorial (this is the one that I used)