If you have read anything from my saving money page, you will know that I like making and eating food from scratch. I just like knowing everything that is in it. And I am not crazy about putting unknown chemicals in my body. In this day and age where you can buy just about anything from a box or can, I tend to make it from scratch!
My homemade yogurt recipe is just plain vanilla yogurt. If you don't know if you like plain vanilla yogurt, buy a small one from the store and try it. My husband isn't really a fan of plain vanilla yogurt. He mixes it with fruit. At the bottom I will write this AWESOME fruit recipe that makes the yogurt taste amazing. My daughter and I love plain vanilla yogurt. And we are addicted to eating it. I usually add the fruit recipe to the yogurt and eat it for a healthy dessert.
Homemade yogurt is a little thinner than store bought yogurt because it doesn't have any fillers or chemicals added to thicken it. It also takes a long time to make but very little work on your part. I usually start making it in the morning, so I can eat it by the next day! =)
Here is what you need:
-1 Gallon of Whole milk! (You may use 2% or 1% milk. But, the yogurt will be very thin. And not as creamy)
-1/3 cup of yogurt! If this is your first time making it, buy plain vanilla yogurt from the store. It has to have live active cultures in it. Yoplait and Dannon both have live active cultures. After your yogurt's totally done and made, take 1/3 cup of it and freeze it. You can use it for your next batch of yogurt to make, so you don't have to buy any. Freezing doesn't hurt the live active cultures.
-1 cup of sugar
-2 tsp of vanilla
-2 cups of powdered milk
-A candy thermometer! (this is a must)
-2 small hand towels
-A large bath towel or beach towel
-A heating pad
-And a large ice chest cooler
This recipe makes a gallon of yogurt. You can cut the recipe in half, if you wish. I usually make a gallon and freeze some of it. The yogurt will last in your fridge for 2-3 weeks and in your freezer for 3-4 months.
Pour the gallon of milk in a pot and heat over med-high heat, stirring continuously. Milk burns easily, stirring keeps it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. If you do accidentally burn some of it, run it through a strainer, you don't want the burnt pieces in your yogurt. Cook it until it reaches a rolling boil and reaches 180 degrees F. Use your candy thermometer to take temp.
Place lid on pot. Take off heat. And set aside to cool for 2 hours. Or until it reaches 110 degrees F. You do not want it any hotter than that otherwise when you add the live cultures they will die because it is too hot.
After 2 hours and it reaches 110 degrees F, mix in 1/3 cup yogurt, sugar, powdered milk, and vanilla.
Place one small hand towel in the bottom of the ice chest cooler. Place heating pad on top, then another small hand towel. Take your full pot of yogurt, with lid and wrap the large towel around it. Place the whole thing inside the ice chest cooler. Shut the lid on the cooler and turn the heating pad on low. It has to sit in the cooler on the heating pad for 7-8 hours to sort of incubate!
I have heard of people using a crock pot to incubate, or using a pilot light on a gas oven, or placing the pot of yogurt wrapped in a towel next to a wood burning stove for 8 hours. I have only used the heating pad/cooler way and it has worked great for me. Whatever way you decide to do it, the yogurt has to stay between 80-110 degree F. for 7-8 hours to thicken. If it gets too cold the live cultures won't work and if it gets too hot they will die.
After 8 hours of incubating it will be thick. Sometimes there is a layer of clear liquid on the top. That is fine. Just mix it all up and place into smaller containers. Place in the refrigerator overnight and enjoy yogurt the next morning. If you plan to freeze it, freeze it in the morning after it's sat in the fridge all night.
Yummy fruit topping:
- 2 cups of frozen fruit of your choice. (we have used strawberries and blueberries)
-1 TBS of cold water
-2 TBS of sugar
Cook fruit over med heat for about 10 minutes. Mash fruit with a potato masher. Place in container and chill. Top homemade yogurt with fruit and have a delicious snack!
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