29 Jun Simply Homemade Series: Homemade Yogurt!
We all know how easy it is to whip up healthy, homemade food while a toddler is screaming and pulling on our legs and our four year old is coloring with crayons on the refrigerator. Piece of cake! What I really want to share with you in this series are the easiest and best homemade foods (not meals) I make regularly in our home that my whole family loves.
This week, I’ll be telling you how to make homemade yogurt.
When you have four kids (or even two!) and most of your family eats yogurt, it pays to make your own. No, really it does. And it’s super easy. No, REALLY it is!!!
I crunched some numbers several years ago and compared the price of a quart of organic whole milk plain yogurt from the store (the cheapest one available) with the cost of homemade yogurt made with organic whole milk. I found out that for our family, who often will go through a quart sized tub of yogurt a week, it would save our family $300 a year just in yogurt if I made it myself. Crazy, I know, but numbers don’t lie 🙂
Homemade Yogurt Recipe:
Choose your milk and pour a gallon (or a half gallon) into your crock pot. Heat until the temperature of the milk reaches 180 degrees. Then turn it off and let it cool to somewhere between 90-115 degrees.You can keep track of the temperature by using a regular candy thermometer.
At that point, stir in your “starter yogurt,” which is simply plain yogurt from the store or leftover homemade yogurt from your last batch. I use approximately 1/2 cup of starter for every gallon of yogurt, so you could use about 1/4 cup for 1/2 gallon. Whisk the starter yogurt in gently.
Put the top on the slow cooker and place it in your unheated oven with a towel wrapped around it. Close the oven door and turn on the oven light. The warmth from the oven light and the towel keep the heat at a good incubation temperature for the yogurt to culture. Leave it alone for 8-24 hours. I usually leave it for somewhere in between. Open it up and you’ve got yogurt! I scoop it into quart sized mason jars and store it in my fridge for up to 2-3 weeks. We use our yogurt in homemade smoothies, with granola, or as a sub for sour cream on our tacos. It’s a super useful staple in our home!
Note: The first time I made yogurt, I was constantly watching the pot and checking the temperature, which gets old really fast. So I decided to time how long it took to reach 180 degrees and how long it took to get it back down to 115 degrees after I turned off the slow cooker. Once I had these time ranges, the process became merely a matter of pouring milk in the pot and then moving things around as needed.
One thing I particularly like about homemade yogurt is that it is plain. Have you ever seen how much sugar goes into flavored store-bought yogurt? Look, I’m not even a sugar cop, but I’d rather my kids enjoy an ice cream cone than get that same amount (or more!) of sugar in their breakfast yogurt, right?! Last time I checked, a cup of the average flavored store bought yogurt had the same amount of sugar as a candy bar. No joke. Check it out for yourself.
Intimidated by plain yogurt? Here’s the thing. It’s easy to dress up. We add fresh fruit, homemade granola (my recipe to come soon!), or a drizzle of honey and cinnamon. My kids like it best with cinnamon and honey.
If you are on a budget, eat a decent amount of yogurt, have a large family, or just prefer the taste of homemade, give it a try!!