Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Homemade Yogurt

I'm not going to reinvent the wheel here and post a tutorial on how to make your own homemade yogurt, when there are already some fabulous guides already available online. I would however love to encourage ya'll to give it a whirl and share my experience with some tips and tricks. There is nothing that you can pull off a grocery store shelf that compares to fresh, homemade yogurt. Nothing! Homemade yogurt is healthier, much less expensive and better tasting! Making your own yogurt gives you control of the quality of ingredients (your choice of milk and starter cultures) and additional toppings. There are many ways you can make yogurt, either with a machine or creating your own system for controlling the temperature.

Here are some of my tips and tricks:

*I've used several types of "starter" - the fresh and active cultures that turns milk into yogurt. There are powdered varieties, or you can use any commercial plain yogurt. You can even use 1/2 cup of yogurt from your last homemade batch, but I have always found that the yogurt that produces is runnier than I like because the cultures aren't fresh enough. By far, my favorite results come from using a full cup of fresh commercial greek style yogurt, like Oikos by Stoneyfield. Makes a delicious and thick, protein packed yogurt!

*I add 1/2 to 1 cup of powdered milk to my yogurt mix before I culture it. This adds protein and also helps thicken the end results. I like a thick and creamy texture rather than runny or drippy.

*After several attempts to make yogurt in old fashioned mason jars while maintaining the temp in my crockpot, I "splurged" on one of the most affordable yogurt machines on the market and I have been thrilled with the results! While it is nice to have small individual portions, I do miss having a full quart made all at once in one container. There are models of machines that make a quart sized container.  My Yogurt Machine

*I am now enjoying the benefits and delights of Coconut Milk in my yogurt!! Coconut milk is full of healthy fats and Lauric Acid. Don't let anyone tell you that it's unhealthy or "fattening"! I substitute about two cups of the whole milk with a can of coconut milk, and follow the same process as regular yogurt.

*Most recipes will tell you to culture your yogurt for about 8 hours. However, according to food researcher Amanda Rose, if you stretch your culturing time to 16 hours, the amount of B-12 increases about four-fold and the folic acid content increases fourteen fold!! I have had a few batches taste a little too sour for my taste after that long, but I am very happy with about a 12-14 hour wait.

* To make a Greek style yogurt, simply strain your finished plain yogurt through cheesecloth or a coffee filter and set aside the liquid whey for other healthy recipes!

*Get creative with your toppings and flavors. I am just getting started with different flavors and add-ins. Some of my favorites are: raw honey, homemade granola, vanilla extract, almond extract, elderberry syrup, cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, maple syrup, chopped nuts, dried fruit, fresh fruit, pureed fruits, frozen berries.... you name it!!

Check out these online tutorials and recipes:
Make Yogurt in Your Crockpot  
Planet Green's Guide to Homemade YogurtYoutube Video Tutorial

Eat up and enjoy!!


Kara said...

I will add that my kids love emergen-c on their yogurt. Not only is is good for them, it is yummy!

Erica said...

Hi there! I came to your blog after seeing the link at the bottom of the MOPS email about the summer Bible study. We also met at the playground...I just moved here in March. I was very excited to see that you are a doula and also a yogurt maker! I have been on a quest to make my own yogurt and your tips/links were very helpful. My last batch was pretty good, but I hope the next batch will be even thicker. As for birth issues, I am seraching for providers who support VBACs. Maybe I can pick your brain at a MOPS event! Thanks for sharing your blog :)


Jessmyn said...

I just splurged on a yogurt maker as well. I couldn't get it to work in the crockpot - it was either scorched or did ferment. So knowing that you bought one too doesn't make me feel like as much as a failure!