Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Healthy, Inexpensive Homemade Yogurt

There seem to be chemicals and "unedibles" in almost everything we eat nowadays. Pick up any package for any food at your supermarket and it will be full of names you can't pronounce and need to google. Short of buying a farm and really MAKING everything for yourself, it's hard to avoid allowing some of these items into your diet. Luckily, there ARE some things you can make easily at home, without all the chemicals (and BONUS: for half the price).

Everyday at work I take a 2% Greek yogurt. A 4-pack of this yogurt sells for over $4 at my local store; while I know that's a ridiculous price to pay, I ALWAYS look forward to eating that creamy, tart yogurt at lunch. Also, the health benefits of yogurt are proven: increasing calcium intake for stronger teeth and bones, increasing the "healthy" bacteria in your gut (typically Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium in "active culture" yogurts), and a low caloric but high protein snack to help fill your belly in a healthy way. All in all, yogurt is a winner!

Tired of paying the ridiculous fee at the grocery store, and not knowing EXACTLY what was in one of my favourite snacks, I set out to solve my problem...the answer was just a google away...HOMEMADE YOGURT!

The process seemed daunting at the time, until I stumbled onto a Kitchen Simplicity post about how to make homemade yogurt. With only 2 ingredients and a thorough description of what to do, how could I not try it!

Below I have included my photo documentary of the process.  My advice?  TRY IT!

What you need:
-2 L (quarts) of whatever milk you prefer. Personally, we drink 1% at home so that's what I used.
-2 tsps of any yogurt with "active bacterial culture" listed as an ingredient.  I used Oikos Key Lime which I conveniently already had in the fridge.  (it is my VICE!)

For the full "recipe" and instructions, visit Kitchen Simplicity but below is my quick step by step procedure!

1.  Pour 2L milk into a medium sized pot and heat to 175-180 degrees Fahrenheit.  Stir often so it doesn't burn.

2.  After reaching this temperature, allow milk to cool to 100-115 degrees Fahrenheit.  Stir, but less frequently.

3.  Add 2 teaspoons of yogurt with active bacterial culture and whisk the mixture together.

4. Place the milk/yogurt mixture into a glass bowl or casserole dish with a lid, and wrap with kitchen towels.  I used 2 kitchen towels and taped them securely with masking tape so they were securely nested around the dish.  Starting in a cold oven, turn on the heat for ONE minute and turn off promptly.  This will slightly warm the air in the oven but not enough to heat the yogurt mixture.  At this point you are only trying to maintain the temperature of the milk/yogurt so the bacteria can incubate and replicate, you are not heating it any longer.  Leave in the oven for 8-12 hours to incubate.  It works well to leave the oven light on to provide just the smallest amount of warmth to maintain the temperature.  I left mine overnight in the oven while I slept.

5.  After 8-12 hours, open the dish up to find your lumpy, tangy product.  There will be a watery fluid on top (whey) that you can either mix in for a thinner, more tangy yogurt, or you can strain out to create a thicker, "Greek" yogurt.

I strained mine through a cheesecloth to get the thicker consistency.  After straining, mix the lumpy mixture into a smooth consistency and there you have it!  Homemade yogurt!  Remember this is unsweetened, and unflavoured and has a nice tangy quality to it.  Mix in honey or your favourite berries or syrup for a tasty, TASTY treat and know that you created it, and know exactly the ingredients you are putting into your body. 


I'd love to hear from you below if you have tried this, or another method of making homemade yogurt.  Any other tips, tricks, or comments are read with joy!


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