I’ve got a confession to make.
I have a habit.
It’s a daily habit…
It’s an obsession…
It’s not something I’m going to stop doing any time soon…
I eat yogurt for breakfast every day!
Yeah, okay. Not earth shattering. Not even worth all the suspense.
But it’s big for me. It’s something I’ve incorporated into my healthy eating routine that keeps my gut healthy, which I believe helps to keep my inflammatory response issues subdued.
This daily habit means that I consume a half cup or more of yogurt every morning. I use it instead of milk with my homemade granola, often tossing in whatever fresh fruit I have on hand. It’s my favorite food start of each day.
It’s become a costly habit. I’m very particular about the type of yogurt I eat, and my favorite brand is only available in the next town. At almost $4 per container, add the time and gas for travel – it adds up quickly.
For a while, I’ve felt that I should make my own. But it intimidated me.
It’s been about two years now and I finally got up the nerve to make my own. I can’t believe I’ve waited so long!
When I first thought I might attempt homemade yogurt, I was hooked on the nonfat vanilla variety. Now, I eat plain whole milk yogurt or none at all. That made it especially easy for me.
I read several recipes and then did what I usually do – improvised. I didn’t change ingredients, but I did incorporate methods from three different recipes to attempt my first batch. It was a resounding success!
I like my yogurt thick, almost as thick as the Greek style yogurt, so my focus was on reaching that consistency.
The basic method to make yogurt is to heat milk to 185 degrees, then cool it down to 115 degrees. That creates the culture medium. The yogurt starter is added once the milk has cooled, then the mix is placed in a warm location for the cultures to set.
Here’s my method:
1/2 gallon whole milk – raw milk would be best
1/4 cup plain whole milk yogurt with active cultures – the best type is that with six active cultures (I used Stonyfield)
Preheat a crockpot by filling it 1/3 full with hot tap water, place the lid on and set it on high heat for 15 minutes or so.
Pour the milk into a saucepan and heat to 185 degrees over medium heat, stirring frequently. I didn’t have a candy thermometer, so I used a meat thermometer. It’s not as handy, but it works.
Check the water in the crockpot by dipping a finger in it – if it’s too hot to leave your finger in, turn off the crockpot with the lid still on and allow the water to sit while your pan of milk rises to temperature. Once the milk is at 160 degrees, take the lid off of the crock of water to allow it to cool to about 115 degrees.
Once the milk has reached temperature, turn off the burner and set the milk away from the stove to cool. The milk won’t take long to cool once it’s removed from the heat source.
While the milk is cooling, pour out the water in the crock and put the lid back on to hold the heat.
When the milk has cooled to 115 degrees, add the yogurt to the milk and stir well.
Pour the milk mix into the warmed crock.
Cover the crock with a clean towel, leaving the lid off.
Set the towel covered crock into the oven and turn the oven light on.
Leave the crock for eight hours. Check the consistency by poking a clean finger into the yogurt. Mine was not quite as thick as I’d like, so I let it set for another hour and it was perfect!
Spoon the yogurt into clean jars and refrigerate or freeze.