Cultured Foods/ Recipes

Easy Homemade Yogurt

I figured out how to make homemade yogurt, without a packet of starter culture or a yogurt maker. I am pretty excited because this is saving me money.

Healthy food is expensive. I truly believe in paying the farmer instead of the doctor, but ouch, it can be hard on the wallet.

I have grown vegetables, joined a CSA, and preserved food, but the food budget is still pretty high. Cultured foods, when store bought, can be pricey. (A 16 ounce jar of sauerkraut costs almost ten dollars). So I started to focus my efforts on making cultured foods, since we eat a lot of them. I have been very consistent with making Kombucha and yogurt for the past few months, which has been a big money saver.

Yogurt is a great convenience food if you are always on the go, but I am picky about the dairy we consume. (We consume mostly A1 beta- casein free dairy products). Goat milk is A1 beta-casein free, but goat yogurt is expensive and hard to find. The local farm store sells Clover Meadows A1 beta-casein free yogurt but it is expensive. (The cost of one quart is about the same as a half gallon of the Clover Meadows milk). It is good quality yogurt, and the sweetened yogurt contains only fruit and maple syrup, but it was really hard to justify the cost, when I know how to make yogurt.

I started to make Greek Yogurt 4 months ago with a culture I purchased from culturesforhealth. This is a company I trust and the box says this starter can be used “indefinitely”. (I also love the words on the front of the box, “You can do this”. I like words of encouragement). I kept the yogurt going for a while, but the dehydrator was accidentally turned off while the yogurt was “cooking”, so that was the end of that.

Despite this small set back, I felt pretty confident with my yogurt making skills, so I decided to try making yogurt without the “starter culture packet”. I read you can do this if the yogurt contains enough live cultures, and this one certainly seemed to qualify. I got adventurous and gave it a try. I had success on the first try, the yogurt smelled and tasted just right.

I developed a good system for making homemade yogurt. My secret to success is to time how long it takes to heat up the milk and cool it down, and set a timer. This simple step has made it very easy for me to make yogurt, because I no longer have scalded milk. The time it takes for you to heat and cool will probably differ from my times, but at least you have a rough idea after reading this post. Once you figure out your numbers, memorize them, it really streamlines the process. I like to make a half gallon at a time, and I make yogurt once a week now. It has really become very easy for me.

So here is how I make homemade yogurt, without a yogurt maker, or a starter culture packet.

Recipe – ½ gallon of yogurt

Ingredients
4 Tablespoons of Plain Yogurt with live cultures
½ gallon of milk (we use A1 beta-casein free)

Equipment
Mason Jars
Large Pot (I use All-Clad 5 quart )
Excalibur Dehydrator
Thermometer
Non-metal strainer
Pyrex measuring cup

Directions

  1.  Heat the milk over medium heat. It takes me about 15 minutes to heat a half gallon of milk in my 5 quart All-Clad pot. (This is total time). The temperature of the milk needs to reach 180F.
  2. Move the pot off the hot burner and allow the milk to cool. This takes 50-55 minutes. (I set the timer so I know when it is done).
  3. Pour the cooled milk through a non-metal strainer into a measuring cup. This removes any “skin” that has formed on top of the milk. I then pour the milk into two quart mason jars.
  4. Pour two tablespoons of yogurt from your previous batch into each quart of milk, and mix it in.
  5. Put a lid on each jar and set the jars in your dehydrator, (after removing the trays, of course).
  6. Set the dial for 115 F. (My dehydrator has a yogurt setting). Culture the yogurt for at least 8 hours. (I usually do this overnight). You can culture it longer, but not more than 24 hours, is what I have read.
  7. Remove the jars of yogurt and let them sit on the counter for 1-2 hours before putting them in the fridge.

This is seriously the best tasting yogurt I have ever had. I love it. My kids go crazy for it, two quarts hardly last a day. I like to sweeten it with a little bit of honey and a splash of cherry juice, but it is really good plain too. You don’t HAVE to use A2 milk, our family drinks it. I go into some of the reasons why in this blog post, The Dairy Dilemma.

I love serving the yogurt in these silicone squeasy containers; it lessens the “mess” factor.

Let me know if you try it, and how it works for you.

(I forgot to save 4 TBSP of my fancy yogurt from the farm store, so tonight I am trying to use organic greek yogurt from the local grocery store as my “starter”. It does not have as many different strains, but I think it will be OK).

Homemade Yogurt from Yogurt

By Keri Hessel
Prep Time: 1 hr 10 min. Cooking Time: 8 hrs,

1/2 gallon of Yogurt

Ingredients

  • 4 Tablespoons of Yogurt with live cultures
  • ½ gallon of milk (we use A1 beta-casein free)
  • Equipment
  • Mason Jars
  • Large Pot (I use an All-Clad 5 quart )
  • Excalibur Dehydrator
  • Thermometer
  • Non-metal strainer
  • Pyrex measuring cup

Instructions

1

1. Heat the milk over medium heat. It takes me about 15 minutes to heat a half gallon of milk in my 5 quart All-Clad pot. (This is total time). The temperature of the milk needs to reach 180F.

2

2. Move the pot off the hot burner and allow the milk to cool. This takes 50-55 minutes. (I set the timer so I know when it is done).

3

3. Pour the cooled milk through a non-metal strainer into a measuring cup. This removes any “skin” that has formed on top of the milk. I then pour the milk into two quart mason jars.

4

4. Pour two tablespoons of yogurt from your previous batch into each quart of milk, and mix it in.

5

5. Put a lid on each jar and set the jars in your dehydrator, (after removing the trays, of course).

6

6. Set the dial for 115 F. (My dehydrator has a yogurt setting). Culture the yogurt for at least 8 hours. (I usually do this overnight). You can culture it longer, but not more than 24 hours, is what I have read.

7

7. Remove the jars of yogurt and let them sit on the counter for 1-2 hours before putting them in the fridge.

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