Making yogurt

  • I made homemade yogurt for the first time today (without a yogurt maker).

    Wow, so easy. There are a lot of ways to do it, but I chose one of the simplest (no double boiler).

    I heated the milk slowly to 185, stirring frequently. Then cooled it on the counter until the temperature was about 110 degrees and then added in a couple tablespoons of plain yogurt containing live cultures (I chose Chobani greek). Poured the yogurt into a crock pot (because I was going to need the dutch oven that I heated the milk in) and put the crockpot on a heating pad set on med. and covered with bath towels, and let sit for 5.5 hours (the recipe said 3.5 to 12 hours - and the longer incubation, the tarter the yogurt).

    The half-gallon of milk made half-gallon (two quarts) of yogurt. If I want a thicker greek-style yogurt, I can strain it and will (per the recipe) end up with 1 to 1.5 quarts of strained yogurt.

    At 1.50 for the milk (and almost nothing for the yogurt - especially since I can use my homemade yogurt as starter for the next batch), that's a pretty good savings.

    And it tastes better than the best yogurt I've ever eaten (and not just because I made it. I've never had yogurt this mild and milky tasting. There is some tartness, but it's very subtle. I love that. It reminds me more of creme freche.

    And along the way, I found recipes for sour cream and various cheeses that are nearly as simple.

    Maybe I'll start some sprouts tonight too, just to get into the hippy spirit.
  • Cool! Thanks for sharing. Sounds pretty simple.....hmmmmmmmm........
  • I'm intrigued. My dad makes cream cheese and sour cream- so simple! I could eat yogurt by the tub full, but it gets so pricey. I need to look into this.
  • It's been in the fridge for about an hour and a half, and I had to have some. The consistency is a little runny, but it may thicken up overnight. If not, it's still really awesome, it's just more like the yogurt drinks than spoonable yogurt (but I know they add gelatin and stuff or strain commercial yogurt to make it thicker).

    I also put a little bit of the yogurt in a couple plastic bowls and added whey powder to one, and xanthum gum to the other, to see how they thicken in comparison.

    Either way, the taste is amazing, and I can't get over how it barely needs any sweetener (I used one packet for a whole bowl of yogurt).

    The various recipes online give different suggestions for thickening yogurt (using more starter - but that can make the yogurt bitter, incubating longer - but that can make the yogurt tarter, adding cream - though that adds calories and fat, and adding whey protein or powdered milk - before or after the yogurt is made).

    I can't wait to experiment with future batches. I don't have any way to strain it, so I'll maybe buy some cheesecloth or muslin for my next batch.

    I also definitely want to buy a better food thermometer. I had to use a meat thermometer and it didn't register the lower end, so I had to guestimate when to add the starter.

    The only problem I see with this, is I'm going to have to be very careful about portion control. I had a very nice 200 calorie budgeted-for snack, and I've come in just under-budget for my daily calories, but the yogurt in the fridge is still calling my name "just a little bit more, I'm sooooo yummmmmmy, and inexpensive, and good for you too."

    Naughty talking yogurt.
  • Homemade yogurt is the best. The flavour is just as you explained. I've been making it on and off for years similar to how you did it. A few years ago I found a brand new, still in the box yogurt maker at the local Goodwill for only $2. It makes 1 litre (1 quart) and I've never had a failure since I started using the maker. I guess it's the consistent regulated heat. This is the recipe I use, except I incubate it in the yogurt maker:

    As your yogurt sits in the frig the whey will collect on the top. I usually drain that off each time I serve it and in a few days the yogurt is thick enough to stand on. LOL When it gets really thick it makes a lovely spread in place of cream cheese

    My grandmother used to make yogurt years before I was born. She used to incubate it overnight on the back of the wood/coal burning range. My uncle was reminiscing how when he was a boy he would eat the warm yogurt right from the crock on the stove.
  • I, too, have been making yogurt for years. I started out making it for one of our dogs, who needed to be on a special diet, but we eat it too! I would warm it in the dehydrator - nice even temp, and room for all the containers - I usually make a gallon with raw milk.

    Straining it does improve texture, but don't toss the whey - it's great for making baked goods, breads, added to smoothies, and even watering plants! (That last sounds a bit bizarre, but the plants respond well to it - just don't over-water with it)

    And, the main reason I started making it myself is to save money - but the health and flavor is why I keep making it!
  • I made a second batch with a new thermometer (hubby bought me a fancy one with a timer) and incubated it longer. It was a little tarter, but MUCH thicker.

    I'm going to make my third batch this weekend, using my yogurt from the previous batch as a starter (I also have a small container of Chobani plain to use in case my starter fails).

    It's just amazing to me that for about $6 (about the price of one quart of Chobani on a good sale), I can make two gallons of yogurt. I've cut my yogurt budget by about 75%.

    And the flavor isn't even comparable. So for 1/4 the price, I end up with something thats 10 times as good.

    The only problem is that I do have to be very careful with portion control. I follow an exchange plan, and I've always had trouble getting in my two servings of dairy. Now I'm struggling to stay within my limit (sometimes swapping one of my carb/starch exchanges for a third serving of dairy).

    I do notice though that the yogurt keeps me satisfied longer than many foods.
  • Kaplods, wait until you try growing sprouts! Equally fun and rewarding. Toss some sprouts on a salad, on veggies - whatever. I got seeds for several different kinds of sprouts at the health food store.

    I have made yogurt by various methods. I finally bought a yogurt maker which I like for convenience, but it definitely takes away from the "hippie" vibe.

    I have read that you can add some gelatin to the yogurt to make it firmer. I haven't tried it, but you can google it...
  • Ooh I love sprouting too, and making jerky in my food dehydrator (I don't use it much for frits and veggies, because I prefer eating those fresh. If I have a surplus, I'm more likely to freeze than dehydrate (I don't have a garden, so don't usually have a surplus unless I overbuy at the farmer's market).

    I don't can, but I do make small batches of refrigerator and freezer pickles.

    If you like sprouting, you'll love some of the sprouting and seed websites. I love the website. I've never ordered any of their seeds or sprouters, but it's fun to browse and see all the different kind of sprouts people grow.
  • I have been making yogurt for several months and have never had a batch fail. I always strain mine to make a very thick greek style yogurt that I use to replace sour cream. An easy way to strain is to line a regular strainer with 3-4 coffee filters(spread around to cover the strainer.) Keep checking on the amount of whey that strains out so you get the thickest you desire. Here's another good site to get instruction:
  • Decorah, I make my yogurt with a similar recipe that uses both milk and a small amount of dry milk powder. It's delicious I like it plain and unsweetened, with a handful of mostly thawed frozen blueberries.

    I use organic milk and organic dry milk powder, and the end product costs half the price of commercial organic yogurt. The only time I had it fail was when I changed brands of milk and used Kroger store brand of organic milk. The result was a bowl of slime
  • Had to revive this thread, because last night I made my best batch of yogurt so far. It's the first time I added dry milk powder (fat free, instant).

    I probably wouldn't have experimented, except I ran into a tremendous sale on the dry milk powder. I've never liked the taste of milk made from powder, so I wasn't sure how I'd like yogurt made with it.

    I added a cup of dry milk to the milk and made as usual, and I was SHOCKED at the difference in both flavor and texture. Not only does it make a thick yogurt, the flavor is even milder, and sweeter than my normal batches. This is the first batch that I haven't wanted to sweeten at all!

    I've also found a few shortcuts. I had been using the crockpot alone for heating the milk, and when starting with milk from the fridge, it takes about 12 hours to make yogurt (I don't really have to do much during those 12 hours, but I have to be home for the first 5 to 7 hours of it).

    Now I heat the milk in the microwave before pouring it into the crockpot. Just a couple minutes per quart. It cuts about 4 hours off the yogurt-making time.