Homemade Yogurt Recipe
Do your kids love yogurt as much as mine do? Yogurt is such a great snack, but the stuff you buy at the store is so often fulled with sugar and artificial flavors but missing the oh-so-important-ingredient fat.
That’s right. I want my yogurt to have fat! If you think I’m a little crazy for just saying no to fat-free and low-fat yogurt you should check one of my favorite books, Eat Fat Lose Fat
But back to the homemade yogurt . . .
Homemade yogurt is pretty easy to make and it’s so much cheaper than buying it at the store. You can add your own honey
or maple syrup
to it and control the amount of sweetener that goes into it. You can also add fruit, oats, chia seeds
or even fun add-ins like chocolate chips
for a healthy snack that the kiddos will love.
Use containers like these
to store the yogurt in small portions to pack in lunches or take on the go.
The Benefits of Yogurt
Before we get to the recipe, let’s talk about the benefits of yogurt and why you want to include this superfood in your diet regularly.
Homemade yogurt is a delicious and easy way to get both protein and probiotics into your diet and your tummy. The main microbes in yogurt, streptococcus thermophilus and lactobacillus, help the body to digest polysaccharides found in carbohydrates.
According to Dr. Jeffrey Gordon, professor of pathology and immunology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, the good bacteria found in yogurt do not repopulate the gut, but instead aid digestion and then leave the gut after about two weeks. This means that consuming yogurt regularly is key to obtaining the benefits found in this wonder fermented milk product.
If you are on a budget, homemade yogurt is a healthy and frugal move. Naturally, I recommend using raw milk, but if you haven’t found a source of raw milk you can use pasteurized milk (preferably low-temp pasteurized) to make your own yogurt at home.
- Heat 3 cups of milk in the sauce pan over medium heat for regular pasteurized milk. (If using raw milk heat only to 110-115 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent the milk from cooking and losing important nutrients. I test the milk by sticking my (clean) finger into it after heating it on medium-low heat for several minutes and stirring. When the milk feels warm, but does not burn my finger, I remove it from the heat.)
- Put 2-3 tablespoons of yogurt into a 1 quart mason jar and pour the warm milk into the jar. Stir the milk and yogurt together.
- Wrap the mason jar in a towel and place it in an enclosed space like a microwave, slow cooker or cooler. Let the yogurt sit for 8-10 hours while the good bacteria grow and thicken the yogurt.
- When the yogurt is done, depending on the type of starter used, it will be thicker than milk, but runnier than most commercial yogurt products. You can add maple syrup, honey or stevia as a sweetener. You can eat it plain or use it as a sauce. You can add fruit, nuts or other healthy goodies to individual servings.
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Note: I’ve only ever tried these steps with raw milk yogurt, which will not become dangerous to eat if left out of the fridge.)
If you like thick yogurt, you may want to strain the yogurt. You’ll end up with less yogurt this way, but it will be thick and creamy.
I place a flour sack cloth
in a mixing bowl, pour the yogurt on top of the cloth, gather and secure the cloth ends with a rubber band and hang it from a cabinet handle over the bowl for 2-3 hours.
Then, I take the cloth down and put it on a dinner plate, open it and scoop/scrape the yogurt back into the glass jar or container. I pour the liquid yogurt whey from the bowl into another glass container and reserve for fermenting vegetables and soaking grains–or even drinking!
Also, you can save a few tablespoons of the yogurt you’ve made as a starter for the next batch. I prefer to use a new store-bought cup of yogurt each time, so I spend about $1.50 per week for a small container of yogurt that yields about 2.5 quarts of homemade yogurt. If you decide to use homemade yogurt as a starter, you’ll have to replace it with a fresh starter after several uses.
You can also use a yogurt starter. I recommend this yogurt starter.