I have been experimenting with all sorts of homemade items and the next item on my list was yogurt. The kids and I LOVE yogurt and if it weren’t so darn expensive we’d eat it all the time…now we can! I discovered a post, on pinterest yet again, on how to make Greek yogurt. It sounded easy enough so I went for it. SO, I bought 1 gallon of milk and a small cup of plain greek yogurt…why mess around with a little batch, this was going to take me almost 24 hours to complete. The milk was $1.99 and the cup of yogurt was $0.69 so for a total of $2.68 I made 64oz of Greek Yogurt. Oh…plus the cost of cheese cloth which was a little over $1.00 or so. If I was not going to go the Greek route I would have had nearly a whole gallon of plain yogurt!!! That’s insane for only $2.68 :)
The process was easy but really long and I was getting antsy! All the waiting was so worth it though. I was nervous about the kids eating plain yogurt because I’m not a huge fan of the plain stuff. I tried to think of ways to Jazz it up and came across a bag of frozen blueberries in my freezer. The light bulb went off and I decided to my a blueberry sauce to put over the yogurt when served. It literally took me about 5 minutes to make! I was thrilled with the outcome. I am going to have to try that with others fruits, blackberries and strawberries perhaps. Maybe I’ll make some lemon curd to add to it too…now that would be heaven! I can’t wait incorporate this yogurt making into my weekly routine. With the savings and how easy it all comes together, there’s really no reason not to. Now that I’ve sparked your interest…here’s the recipe. ENJOY, we sure did!
Milk, any fat percentage you like (I used 2%)
Plain Greek yogurt (any plain yogurt with active cultures works)
*for every 1/2 gallon of milk you use, you’ll need about 4 TBS of yogurt ( I did a double batch and used a full gallon of milk and a 6oz cup of yogurt. I didn’t see the point in wasting the remaining yogurt)
1. Pour milk into pan, bring to boil.
2. While milk is heating, mix 4TBS yogurt + 4TBS milk together (so it’s just like runny yogurt)
3. When milk begins to boil, remove from heat and let cool to between 100°-105°.
4. Once milk has cooled, remove skin from top, and stir in yogurt/milk mixture. (mine didn’t have a “skin” on the top)
5. Place lid on pot, wrap in a towel, place in your oven (turned off, with only the oven light on)
6. Let sit (keeping oven light on) for 16 hours.
7. When your yogurt is ready, you can pour the whey off the top and mix it in, and enjoy your plain yogurt…..
Make it Greek...
8. Line a colander with two layers of cheesecloth (you can find it in the hardware section of any store that sells paint:), and pour your yogurt into the colander, letting it strain for 6-8 hours, in the refrigerator and cover with plastic wrap (to keep out funky “flavors” from the refrigerator) until desired thickness is reached. Mine drained about 7 cups of whey out of the yogurt. If making the double batch you will need a large colander and a large bowl. Make sure that the yogurt will not be sitting in the draining whey or check it periodically to empty the whey bowl.
9. When you are satisfied with the consistency of the yogurt, pour it into a mixing bowl and with a clean sturdy whisk, beat the yogurt until creamy.
10. Place the yogurt into clean containers and refrigerate for up to 21 days. Be sure to save about a cup to use as a starter for your next batch of yogurt :)
This stuff is great and you will be amazed how simple it was to make!
***UPDATE*** 8-27-2012: I have since made numerous batches of yogurt and played around with the “cooking” times and straining times. I have had great success with letting it sit for only 8 hours when I was in a hurry. Also, when draining the yogurt, sometimes 6-8 hours is too much…and you end up with Yogurt Cheese. I check mine frequently, especially if I only “cook” the yogurt for the shorter amount of time. It seems to drain faster when it has “cooked” for the shorter period of time. Once it gets to the consistency I’m happy with I transfer it to a bowl and beat it with my whisk. If it appears to be too thick I add a little of the whey that drained off until I get it to the thickness I like.
If you are wanting to flavor it, you can serve it with fresh fruit or top it with a fruity sauce.
16oz frozen blueberries (or any berries fresh or frozen you’d like)
1/3 cup sugar (less may be needed depending on the sweetness of your fruit)
2 tbsp Corn Starch
1/3 cup Concord grape juice (that’s what I had on hand but you could use water or any fruit juice you want)
Pour the berries in the pot and cover with the sugar. In a small bowl, mix the corn starch and juice to make a slurry. When the berries start to boil, remove from the heat. Add the slurry and mix until combined and thickened. If you want to you can return it to the heat for further thickening but mine didn’t need it. It was perfect :) Store it in the refrigerator. (You can use this sauce for a million things like a cheesecake or ice cream topping)