We eat a lot of yogurt in our house.
Let me rephrase. Alyssa and I eat a lot of yogurt in our house. Since Alyssa won’t drink milk, I make sure she eats yogurt daily to get her calcium and vitamin D, and I make yogurt smoothies for myself several times per week. It also doesn’t hurt that yogurt is one of the most healthy foods you can eat.
I had heard about making homemade yogurt on different web sites, and I was hesitant at first. How in the world would that be possible? I put the thought on the back burner of my mind until my friend and coworker Brittany offered me a gallon of whole milk because she was going on vacation. With free milk, now is as great of time as any, right?
I googled “homemade crockpot yogurt” and came upon this site.
I must add that when I told my husband what I was doing, he was very skeptical. Yogurt, after all, is live bacteria. And making yogurt involves growing that bacteria. Even though that bacteria is good for you and beneficial to health and immunity, he made sure I was going to eat it myself first before potentially sickening his daughter. 🙂
As suggested, I started on a Saturday. I put a half gallon of milk in the crock pot, and let it heat on low for 2 1/2 hours. Then I unplugged the crock pot and let it sit for 3 hours (Okay, I was at the grocery store. Matt unplugged the crock pot for me, but that’s just a tiny detail). After those 3 hours, I scooped out 2 cups of the warm milk and whisked in 1/2 cup of plain yogurt (I used Dannon). Then I added it back to the milk and swirled it in. I covered the crock pot and wrapped it in two bath towels to insulate it. Then I let it sit for 8 hours.
After 8 hours, I was shocked to find yogurt! As expected, it wasn’t as congealed as store-bought yogurt, but it smelled just like store-bought yogurt. (Don’t let the cottage-cheese consistency in this photo fool you; for the most part it was very smooth.)
I scooped it into two 32-ounce yogurt containers. One I used right away and one I froze. (Note to self: don’t freeze it again. It turns in to a slush, and that just doesn’t sit well with me for yogurt.)
The yogurt tasted exactly like yogurt. I mixed in some of my homemade strawberry jam to add some flavor. I also used it in my smoothies. It was yummy.
Next time I may add some vanilla to the milk beforehand to give it some flavor, since it was unsweetened yogurt so it was a little plain. But I definitely am making this again. Alyssa still can’t get over it not being as congealed as her normal yogurt, so I’m having a tougher sell with her, but I’m for sure using it from now on in my smoothies.
Here’s the price breakdown:
1/2 gallon whole milk : FREE
Okay, so Brittany isn’t going to supply me with milk every month, so this will end up costing me about $1.70 on sale.
1/2 cup yogurt: around $0.50 or less
Total cost for 1/2 gallon (2 quarts): $2.20
Total cost for equivalent 2 quart containers of yogurt: around $4.40
Homemade yogurt: SUCCESS!!