Saturday, April 11, 2009

Yogurt!

Josh finally convinced me we should make our own yogurt. He frequents the Backyard Chickens message board and had been reading a particular thread all about homemade dairy products. We used the recipe listed in the first post there as our guideline. Here's the run down of what we did:

Materials:
1 small cup good yogurt (we used Stonyfield Farms vanilla because plain wasn't available. It's a 6oz cup)
1/2 gallon milk
6 one quart jars
water
medium cooler that will hold all the jars

Directions:
1. Fill cooler with the hottest water from the tap
2. Start a large pot of boiling water and put two quart jars and lids in it to sterilize
3. In a separate pot, slowly heat milk to 185 degrees (a digital thermometer with an alarm works great for this and so many other things)
4. Turn off the heat and allow milk to cool to 110 degrees
5. Stir in entire cup of yogurt and mix well until completely dissolved
6. Pour milk into your 2 sterilized jars and cap
7. Pour hot water out of cooler and place jars of milk in cooler.
8. Pour the boiling water you used for sterilizing into the other quart jars and also place these in the cooler.
9. Close the cooler and let sit for 10-12 hours (until milk is set), then refrigerate.

Our yogurt came out great. We stir in homemade apple butter, peach jam, granola, and/or strawberries from the garden. It was a little bit runnier than the store bought stuff, but next time we will try the trick of adding additional powdered milk (2/3 cup per half gallon of milk).

An explanation of why you're doing these steps: Heating the milk to 185 and sterilizing the jars kills off competing bacteria. Adding the yogurt gives you the bacteria that are used to make yogurt. Warming the cooler initially, and then placing the jars of hot water in there with the milk creates an incubator that allows the yogurt cultures to thrive and turn your milk into more yogurt.

Price run down: We see gallons of (non-organic) milk for $2.50 pretty regularly and the yogurt is about $0.80, so that means the cost ends up being about $1.03/qt for plain yogurt. We usually pay $1.79/qt (again, non-organic). For organic, your own yogurt would cost you about $1.70/qt and store-bought tends to be a little over $3 for slightly less than a quart. So this does save money. If you have a free source of milk, you'd only be paying $0.40/qt. Health-wise, it's always nice to know exactly what's going into your food and you can avoid the sugar and high fructose corn syrup if you want. Sierra LOVES go-gurt, but did you know that stuff has more sugar per ounce than coke? She's just as happy with the homemade yogurt mixed with homemade apple butter (which we put sugar in, but we have a lot more control over how much she gets this way).

1 comment:

One Acre Homestead said...

I'm going to try this soon. Seems like I'm making tons of plans for Summer already, but making more homemade cheeses and yogurt is def. on the list!

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