Refrigerator Art of the Day!

"Bird in the Sun" M.M. Age 5

Sometimes I am in awe of my daughter’s artwork.

Sometimes I am just in awe of her.

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How to make homemade yogurt without a yogurt incubator

Yogurt is such a healthy food for all ages. Easy to eat, easy to digest, and full of beneficial bacteria that are great for your digestive system. What could possibly be bad about yogurt? I’ll tell you. Store bought yogurt contains plenty of artificial and unhealthy ingredients and the prices keep going up and up. What can you do about it? That one is easy. Make your own. Here is an easy “how to” to make your own favorite flavors of healthy and low-calorie yogurt right at home.

Homemade Yogurt Recipe:

What you need:

  • 4 cups milk (any type)
  • medium sized pan
  • wooden or plastic spoon
  • candy thermometer
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt (preferably organic), this is your yogurt starter
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup dry milk powder (depending on your desired thickness)
  • glass or plastic jar(s) or container(s) with lids

Make sure all of your equipment is clean and sterilized. Place milk in pan and heat on stove until it reaches 180°, stirring constantly. Do not exceed 185°. Remove from heat and let cool to below 120° (but not below 90°) or sit in cool water bath (stirring occasionally) to reach this temperature quicker. When cooled, stir in yogurt starter and dry milk powder until mixed thoroughly. Pour yogurt mix into your containers and put on lids. Place in warm area, 110° is desirable but as low as 80° is acceptable, although it will take longer to set up. Placing the yogurt in a gas oven with the pilot light on, or with the oven light on, is an acceptable place to sit your yogurt. Leave it sit for about 8-14 hours to allow the bacteria to incubate. Do not agitate or disturb while it is setting. Once yogurt has thickened, place into fridge and chill before serving. This yogurt will keep for up to two weeks. Remember to save 1/4 cup of this yogurt as a starter so that you can make more homemade yogurt.

Flavoring the yogurt is the fun part. This is where you get to experiment with making the tasty yogurt you enjoy. Plain yogurt is great as well, but many taste-buds do not agree. If you enjoy flavored yogurt then you can just let your imagination run wild. Below are a few options, although you will need to adjust amounts to your own personal taste. These measurements are per one 6-8 oz. serving.

  • Vanilla yogurt: Stir in 1/4 tsp powdered vanilla extract and Stevia or other preferred sweetener to taste.
  • Strawberry-Banana: Blend 1/4 of one banana and 1-2 strawberries in blender, pour into yogurt and stir well. Sweeten if desired.
  • Chocolate: Add desired amount of chocolate syrup or fudge. Stir well. (I will be experimenting on a healthier cocoa & stevia version soon.)
  • Orange Cream: Stir in 1 – 1 and 1/2 tsp (thawed) frozen orange juice concentrate and 1/4 tsp vanilla. Sweeten if desired.
  • Lemon: Add in 1 packet of True Lemon and stevia or other sweetener as desired.
  • Coffee: Add in 1/2 tsp Folgers instant coffee and 8 drops (Now! brand) liquid stevia extract (or two servings of your favorite brand, or your favorite sweetener.)

It is best to add flavoring just before serving, you will want to experiment with measurements depending on your amount per serving. If you do choose to add your fruit to the whole batch up front, you will want to use up your yogurt in a few days, since the fruit and yogurt do not contain preservatives and the fruit will go bad in the yogurt. If your yogurt smells or tastes bad, do not eat it. Throw it away and make a new batch using a new starter yogurt.

What is your favorite flavor of homemade yogurt? We’d love to have you comment and tell us about it, or just tell us your tips and tricks for making homemade yogurt.

SAVING $:

These prices are based on Dallas, TX area prices as of 11/2008.

Store bought yogurt.

  • Average price = 12¢ – 25¢ an ounce

Homemade yogurt:

  • Milk = 64¢ – 96¢ for 4 cups @ 2¢-3¢ an ounce (based on milk prices $2.50-$4.00/gallon)
  • Starter yogurt (one time) = 24¢ for 2 ounces @ 12¢ an ounce)
  • Dry milk powder= 19¢ (1/4 cup)
  • Flavoring can vary but I would guess the most expensive would be blueberries often at $4.00/lb. or more. Use 1/4 lb in a batch = $1.00
  • Your total cost for 32 ounces of flavored yogurt = $2.07-$2.39 for the first batch and $1.83-$2.15 for each successive batch. That comes to 6¢ – 7¢ an ounce.

That is 50-75% less than store bought yogurt. What are you paying for anyway? High fructose corn syrup? Aspertame? Artificial colorings and flavorings? Less beneficial bacteria? Did you know the incubation time required is not more than 4 hours for commercial yogurt brands, and the longer these beneficial bacteria incubate, they multiply many times over. And since commercial yogurt is often heat-treated and pasturized, killing much of the good bacteria in the process, it is clear that homemade yogurt will have much higher amounts of healthful bacteria.

Just try this healthy alternative to high cost yogurt with questionable ingredients. You will fall in love with the flavor of fresh yogurt with fresh fruit. You will love the healthy benefits of fresh yogurt. And you will love the extra cash in your pocket book. It’s so easy and fun, you will wonder what took you so long to try it.

Enjoy your refreshing and delicious homemade yogurt!