Benefits of Homemade Yogurt

Making your own yogurt is fun and easy and it saves you money in the long run. Plus, it's a great way to impress people! :] Not that that's what I'm trying to help you achieve with this blog, but there is something fun and satisfying in saying "oh yes, I make my own yogurt!" So talented!

Why yogurt is good for you:
Yogurt is full of beneficial probiotics or healthy gut bacteria. These good bacteria improve your digestion, boost your immune system, help you absorb food, improve your skin health  and fight off bad bacteria.

How much $ will you save?
You will save a lot of money making yogurt yourself. Say one gallon of milk is $3. One quart of good quality yogurt is usually $3-4 minimum. That means if you are buying yogurt you are paying $12-16 per gallon. If you make a gallon of yogurt yourself guess how much it costs? That's right, $3, give or take the price of a gallon of milk. If you like yogurt, you really want to know how to make it yourself!

Here's how for the people who want a quick list:
Preheat oven to 110F. Or just set it on the lowest possible setting just when the light comes on, no more. Heat milk to 180F. Remove immediately from heat. Allow to cool to between 110-115F. (Or if you have no thermometer, until you can hold your pinkie finger in the milk for a full 10 seconds without it burning.) Skim the skin off the top if you'd life. Add the yogurt. Stir together. Pour into storage containers. Place storage containers in the warmed oven. Turn the oven off. Wait 4 to 8 hours before opening. When the milk stays firm when the container is tilted remove from oven and place in fridge.

Be sure to clean all your jars and equipment before the yogurt making process. You don't want any bad bacteria growing in there!

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Here's How in detail:

You will need:
2 quarts fresh whole milk
1/2 cup plain yogurt containing live cultures
Kitchen thermometer (optional-Can be found in the baking section of every grocery store chain in North America I think. But I'll tell you what to do if you haven't got one too. Yogurt makers have been going by feel for centuries.)

Warm your milk in large saucepan over gentle heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 180 to 185 degrees Fahrenheit, and hold it at this temperature for a few minutes. If you don't have a thermometer, bring the milk just to a boil, then immediately turn down the heat until it's barely simmering. The milk burns easy so be sure to stand over it and watch until the outside edges are bubbling vigorously and there is a lot of steam coming off the milk (don't let it get hotter than this). Allow it to simmer for a few minutes.

Remove the milk from the heat and cover it. Cool the milk to the point where you can put a clean finger in the milk for a count of 10 before it becomes uncomfortably hot.

Whisk one-half cup plain yogurt into the hot milk until completely combined. Choose a yogurt with live cultures and a taste you enjoy.

Transfer milk to a large glass bowl or jar and cover it. Plastic wrap can work if your bowl/jar doesn't have its own cover. Place this mixture in a warm environment of approximately 115 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have a food dehydrator, place the bowl in the dehydrator at 115 degrees. If not, you have more options: place your bowl of milk in a sink full of 115-degree water, adding warm water as needed to maintain 115 degrees, using your thermometer or the finger test to gauge heat. You can also turn on your oven briefly to the lowest heat setting, turn it off, and let it sit with the oven door open for a few minutes. If you have an oven thermometer, wait until the oven reaches 115 degrees. If not, use your best judgment. Place the bowl of milk, wrapped in a towel or blanket, into the oven and close the door. Or wrap the bowl of milk in a wool blanket or shawl and leave it in a warm place. If you live in Florida like me, this shouldn't be a problem.

Let this milk mixture sit undisturbed for four to eight hours. After four hours, check to see if the mixture is thick, creamy and slightly sour. If not, check again every hour until it reaches the desired consistency. The yogurt will grow more acidic over time; let it culture longer for a tangier end result.

Chill your freshly made yogurt in the refrigerator for several hours. It will continue to firm up as it gets cold. Your finished yogurt may produce some whey, a thin yellowish liquid. I encourage you to drink it as it's full of beneficial yogurt cultures and protein. Oh and be sure to save a little bit of this batch of yogurt to use for starting your next batch. That way you won't have to keep buying conventional yogurt!