My kids LOVE yogurt, I mean if they could eat yogurt for every meal and every snack, they would! Once upon a not-so-distant time, I bought the cutesy yogurts in the grocery store. I knew they had more sugar than my kids probably needed, not to mention artificial colors, preservatives and other things. I bought them because I always had coupons and could get them practically for free! Who doesn’t love free?
One day, I sat down and ate one of those yogurts and noticed how sickly-sweet it actually was. That was the end.
I progressed into buying simple organic, vanilla yogurt in the quart size containers. It tasted much better, was much healthier for my kids, and didn’t cost as much as I guess I thought it would. My son just finished off the container I bought last week, so this morning my project was to learn how to make my own yogurt.
A quick internet search brought me to a blog called Nourishing Days. I was in search of a crockpot-yogurt recipe and this blog provided exactly what I was looking for! I pulled out my best ninja slow cooker, rinsed it out since it was a bit dusty and got to work. I poured ½ gallon of whole milk into the crock-pot, turned it on low and set my timer for 2 ½ hours. Once the milk warmed for the required time, I turned the crock-pot off, left the lid on and set my timer for the milk to cool for 3 hours. After 3 hours, I took 1 cup of milk from the crock-pot and mixed it with a small, ½ cup container of plain Greek yogurt. I poured the yogurt mixture back into the crock-pot and stirred the mixture well. I replaced the lid and wrapped the whole crock-pot in a large both towel to help retain the warmth.
At this point, you could leave it overnight, but since it was the middle of the day, I waited 10 hours and poured the yogurt into containers at midnight. The yogurt was a bit thinner than commercial yogurt, but it had a wonderful taste even in its unflavored and unsweetened form. Now, I HATE plain yogurt. I do not like the tartness of it or the flavor of plain, commercial yogurt. However, my homemade yogurt was mild and wonderful! It had a very nice flavor by itself and wasn’t as sour as (I think) plain commercial yogurt tends to be.
This morning, I added a couple of drops of vanilla extract and a bit of honey for a bit of sweetness. Surprisingly, my kids ate it up! It wasn’t nearly as sweet as the vanilla yogurt they are used to eating, but there were absolutely no complaints!
In my estimation, I made ½ gallon of yogurt for approximately $2.50, and that includes the $1 container of Greek yogurt that I used for a starter. From now on, I can simply use ½ cup of yogurt from my previous batch to culture the next batch, so it should cost about $1.75 per ½ gallon of whole milk, non-organic yogurt, or $2.75 per ½ gallon of whole milk, organic yogurt. This is very exciting to me and I look forward to sweetening and flavoring my homemade yogurt with fresh fruit purees.