Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Homemade Yogurt

There is a suggestion [that yogurt] may decrease the risk of breast cancer. And there’s very strong evidence it can reduce problems associated with irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory digestive tract disorders -- both conditions that impact women more than men. Additionally, yogurt can help reduce the risk of stomach ulcers and vaginal infections. - Elizabeth Somer, MS, RD (from this online article)


Yogurt (either soy or made with milk) is one of the most healthful things you can eat. However, the flavored ones that you purchase are full of stuff that ISN'T so healthful (see this article for instance or this one -- really.... go read them and I think you'll be surprised at what you find), and it costs about half as much to make your own plain, and add in whatever you'd like to sweeten it.

Also, keep in mind that the cheaper brands of yogurt don't have as many of the healthy cultures in them as the more expensive brands. Stonyfield Farms, for instance, includes six different cultures in their yogurt instead of the legally required three. Even so, their flavored yogurt has stuff in it I don't want to eat.

When I originally decided to make my own yogurt, I tried the crockpot yogurt recipe on Suzanne McMinn's site. It seemed simple enough, but my yogurt flopped -- I don't think I kept the crockpot warm enough over the several hours it needs to set. If you think you CAN, then give it a try -- clearly she managed, so it can be done.

I opted to buy a yogurt maker instead. After much research, I chose this one:

It was fairly inexpensive and highly rated on most sites I looked at. The only "complaint" I saw was that some people's yogurt was runnier than they wanted.

Note: Homemade yogurt is NOT as hard as the kind you buy in the store.

Okay, so now I have my yogurt maker. The rest is easy. You DO have to either buy yogurt starter, or use plain yogurt (I chose Stonyfield Farms plain -- for the reason that they have all those lovely bacteria).

I started by heating the milk -- you bring it to a low boil (the directions state that you should heat it until the milk "climbs the walls" of the pan):

Then you cool it a bit. I use my winter "outdoor" refrigerator -- I left it outside until steam was no longer pouring from the pan:

Next, you add your yogurt:

I also choose to add a little powdered milk (this helps make it firmer):

And... whisk until it's smooth:

Then you ladle into the jars that came with the maker and pop them into the warmer:

Let it "cook" for 8 - 10 hours and VOILA!

You have yogurt :-)

DD likes to eat hers with a little homemade strawberry jam (this batch didn't quite set -- I was experimenting with decreasing the sugar -- and is more like thick syrup):

Stir and eat.

I use blueberries and a little honey.


So... no more high fructose corn syrup or artificial colors for us. And making my own yogurt costs about half as much as buying it. We'll make up the cost of the yogurt maker in no time.



  1. wow, it seems so easy with less ingredients than you see on the containers. If only I liked yogurt.

  2. I'm really excited to have stumbled onto your blog! I grew up eating homemade yogurt and there is no mistaking that yummy tangy taste!
    As a treat when we were sick, my mom would stir a couple spoonfuls of orange juice concentrate into some plain yogurt. It is so, so delicious and you can't get orange flavored yogurt anywhere.