I made my own yogurt this week. I know, I know...it probably seems like a really hippy-dippy thing to do but it was actually just so simple. I've been reading about making my own dairy products and did experiment a few months ago with homemade goat cheese. I wasn't incredibly fond of that, but the husband liked it well enough. And since I've been trying really hard to make as much food from scratch as possible, I thought I would give yogurt a shot.
I followed directions from a few different sources, but most specifically this book and this blog post. I read up on yogurt making for a few days and then got to work. Your children will be able to assist with this with no problem and I'm sure my nine-year-old could manage almost completely independently. It's a fun task to do in the evening - the yogurt needs eight to twelve hours to rest, so when your little ones wake in the morning they can see the "magic" that has happened overnight.
Enjoy this with some fresh fruit, granola and honey or a dollop of jam for breakfast or an afternoon snack. I bake a lot with yogurt and also use it as a marinade for chicken so this will find lots of uses in my home. And as my friend Rae points out in her blog post, this will also reduce all of those plastic yogurt containers, so it's more earth friendly as well.
Have a great day friends....
Homemade Plain Yogurt**
4 cups skim or whole milk (organic preferable)
4 tbsp yogurt starter (plain or flavoured yogurt you have at home)
~ Pour the milk into a pot and place over medium-high heat. Allow the milk to heat to 180 degrees on a thermometer or until the milk is steaming and is to hot to touch.
~ Once the temperature has been reached, turn off the heat and allow the milk to cool for approx. 10 minutes to 105 degrees or until you can touch the milk and not burn your finger.
~ Whisk in the yogurt and mix well.
~ Pour the mixture into a 1 litre glass jar and cover with the lid. You could leave it in the pot and cover it with the lid as well. Wrap the bottle in a few dish towels, or a warm bath towel, and leave to rest on your counter overnight. Be sure the kitchen is warm - it's the warmth that helps to create the yogurt.
~ In the morning, drain the whey off the top of the yogurt, stir and refrigerate.
**A few notes - the yogurt is a bit thinner than store bought - no stabilizers in this to thicken it because it's all natural. I've read that you could add powdered milk to step one and that will help to thicken it but I was fine with the texture as it was so I didn't do that. It seems as though you can also thicken it slightly by allowing it rest for even longer. Again, I didn't notice this made a difference for me.