Simple, All Natural, Homemade Yogurt. Plastic-free, Additive-free and Sugar-free.

 

Yogurt is considered a health food.  Yogurt contains acidophilus, a lactobacteria. Among other things, acidophilus aids in digestion, helps maintain a healthy colon, can decrease yeast infections, and helps lower cholesterol.  Unfortunately, most yogurts contain sugars, fillers, artificial flavors, preservatives, color or thickeners.  For example.  Yoplait Yogurt, Made by General Mills, contains:

  • Vanilla: Skim milk, sugar, cream, milk and whey proteins, modified corn starch, active bacterial cultures, gelatine, natural and artificial flavours, locust bean gum, pectin, concentrated lemon juice, colour, vitamin D3, potassium sorbate.
  • 14 grams sugar per 100 gram serving. (that’s 3.5 tsp. of sugar).

Some types of vanilla yogurt have as much as 30 grams of sugar per serving.  That’s over 7 tsp. of sugar!  Many have ingredients such as gelatin, locust bean gum, corn starch and pectin to thicken.    And of course artificial color and flavour, and preservatives.

Another fact about store-bought yogurt that has been nagging me for years is that they are all sold in plastic containers.  I have been fighting a constant battle with plastic and this is just another example of how plastic is quietly ruling our lives.  With recent studies indicating health risks from BPA in plastics (as well as plastics made from other chemicals) I can’t help but think that “good, healthy yogurt” isn’t so good or healthy after all.

I started making my own yogurt about a year and a half ago.  I haven’t bought yogurt since.  With only 2 or 3 ingredients (depending on what product you want) this recipe is healthy, safe and easy.  SOOOOO easy.  So easy, in fact, that I felt silly I hadn’t listened to my mother years ago and made it back then.  So easy, that it takes 10 minutes at the end of the day to start it, and you have fresh, natural yogurt ready for breakfast.  I use either my own goat’s milk, or organic milk I buy in glass bottles.  This avoids plastic entirely.

Tools you will need:

  • thermometer (candy style, or digital will work)
  • large pot
  • roasting pan
  • 5 x 500 ml mason jars (1/2 quart)
  • whisk
  • oven

Greek Style, thick, creamy yogurt
Ingredients
1 L milk (1 quart)
1 L 18% table cream (1 quart)
2 tbsp. plain yogurt (from a previous batch, or store-bought)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 105F.  If your oven doesn’t maintain heat at that temperature, turn to 350 for 2 minutes and then turn off.  Check temperature.  Make sure your oven temperature is less than 115F before you put your yogurt in it.
  2. Pour milk and cream into pot.  Heat until temperature reaches 112F.  Remove immediately from heat.  Once you are sure the temperature is steady at 112 (under 115, anyway!) stir in yogurt with a whisk.  Whisk well.
  3. Pour into 500 ml. sized (1 pint) mason jars.
  4. Place filled jars in a roasting pan that has about 3 inches of warm water in it.
  5. Place roaster in warm oven.  (No warmer than 115F)
  6. Leave in oven overnight or for 8 to 12 hours.
  7. Remove from oven and serve warm, or refrigerate and serve cold.

Low Fat Yogurt
Ingredients
2 L (2 quarts) skim milk
3/4 cup skim milk powder
2 tbsp. yogurt.

Follow above directions except add skim milk powder to milk while heating and whisk very well, until dissolved.  The milk powder thickens the yogurt.  Without it, the yogurt will be quite runny.

Low Fat Yogurt without milk powder
Ingredients

2 L (2 quarts) skim milk
2 tbsp. yogurt

Follow above directions.  This will make a runnier yogurt.  You can strain it through cheese cloth, though, and this makes a thicker yogurt.  Save the whey for baking with!

Tips

  1. Some people use a heating pad instead of an oven.  In this case, you could make the yogurt in a pot, cover with a thick towel,. and place on heating pad for 8 to 12 hours.
  2. Some people make yogurt with a crock pot.  I haven’t tried it but here are the instructions.
  3. You can pasteurize your milk first if you like, by bringing the milk to 165F and then allowing it to cool to 112F before stirring in yogurt.  I see no reason to pasteurize if you are using pasteurized milk.  I don’t pasteurize my goat’s milk anyway :)
  4. It is important to NOT stir in the yogurt until the temperature is less than 115F or you will risk killing the bacteria and you will end up with a product that is NOT yogurt.  If this happens, don’t throw it out!  Use it as you would use buttermilk in a recipe.
  5. Flavor with vanilla and honey, maple syrup, fruit, jam or ???

Enjoy!  Let me know how you love your homemade yogurt!!!

This post has been linked to Whole Foods Wednesday #56, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #31 and The MorrisTribe’s Homesteader Blog Carnival #11.

 

 

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Comments

  1. How many jars will this make? Also what is the typical shelf life of e yogurt in the fridge? Similar to store bought? Thanks, absolutely love your website!

  2. I have just found your website and love it! I used to make a yogurt I got from cultures for health that you could just add the starter to milk and leave out on the counter for 24hrs. I loved it because no cooking was needed. I ‘ve gone back a little in your posts, is there a place I could search the archives and do you e-mail your blog? Thanks leslie

  3. Sorry found the follow us I guess I overlooked it.

  4. Ma Kettle says:

    I skip the oven part by pouring the mixture into a big ol’ vacuum flask, aka Thermos, the wide opening, family picnic size or the coffee caraf type depending on how much I can use/store. Ready by morning!

  5. Ma Kettle says:

    Oh! I forgot: of course this means transfering from flask to fridge storage containers – unless the fridge has room!

  6. I made yogurt one time a few years ago. I don’t know why I never did it again, but this is a good reminder. Thanks!

  7. This sounds so easy and yummy. Could you do this in a Nesco roaster?

    • I have no idea. Is it similar to a crock pot? If so, I know that people do make yogurt in crock pots. You’d just have to make sure the roaster doesn’t go over 120F or it will kill the bacteria in the yogurt and make… something else. Not yogurt :)

  8. I make yogurt a similar way, but don’t use the oven. I just heat to 112 degrees, add yogurt starter, wrap in lots of towels to keep warm and about 15 hours later it is ready!

  9. Very informative. Keep up the good work!

  10. Daphna Gauthier says:

    This may sound like a silly question but do you put the mason jars in the oven with lids on or off ?

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