Our Backyard Farm Adventures: Homemade Yogurt

Homemade Yogurt

Source: Flickr/peddhapati

I was introduced to making homemade yogurt when my aunt came to visit a few months ago. I’ve been making it myself ever since. It’s a great way to control the ingredients and to reduce the sugar in my diet. The only ingredients needed are milk, dry milk and yogurt culture. I use 1 quart of milk, 1 cup dry milk and one package of yogurt culture from cheesemaking.com. I buy the cultures that make more of a Greek yogurt but you can also get a creamier yogurt or Bulgarian style yogurt cultures. The next round I am going to try each of the 3 types to see which one I like best. You can use a bit of a previous batch of yogurt instead of the purchased cultures but you will get more benefit from a higher level of cultures.

Why yogurt?

I add yogurt to my nutrition plan first of all because it’s yummy. When I have the munchies at work and I’m fighting the urge to hit up the vending machine for candy, a serving of yogurt with some nuts sprinkled in can help me get past the cravings. Yogurt also provides healthy bacteria that helps my gut function properly. Probiotics are living bacteria that are essential for good health. Yogurt is full of probiotics. Yogurt provides a good protein boost to your diet as well as  a dose of calcium. Many people who are lactose intolerant can still eat yogurt, especially if the extra whey is drained off.

How do I make it?

To make the yogurt I put 1 quart of milk in a saucepan and add 1 cup of dry milk. Heat the milk to 180 degrees. I use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature while I am warming it up. Once it reaches 180 degrees, I cool the milk rapidly to 110 degrees in very cold water. Once it cools to 110 degrees I put the milk in a container and add the cultures and stir. I place the container in the oven with the oven light on. The light provides enough warmth for the yogurt process to start. I leave it in the oven overnight (6 to 12 hours are recommended) and then refrigerate it in the morning. There are also yogurt makers that you can get that will keep the yogurt at temperature, but the oven light is an inexpensive solution for me.

homemade yogurt

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