Thursday, September 3, 2009

Yogurt, Yum!

Ok, so during my blogging hiatus I've finally been trying several of the things I've wanted to, but just didn't get around to. (Sounds a bit like my blogging now that I mention it...)

My favorite is the yogurt. I'd seen a lot of people posting that they'd made yogurt and it's gotten so pricey...really, .$75 for a 4-6oz. carton of NON-organic yogurt? I enjoy a yogurt here and there, but with the way everyone else in my family eats it, we'd need to buy stock in Yoplait.

Anyway, I figured I'd give it a shot and worst case scenario was I'd wasted a half gallon of milk. Well, it turned out great! We're well on our way to batch #3 and I'm not rationing yogurt anymore. :) It's super simple and hands-off too. Here's my "recipe" (which I originally found here) if you can call it that, why not give it a try?
What you need:
1/2 gallon whole milk
1/4-1/2 cup non-fat dry milk (optional, will increase thickness as well as calcium/protein in your yogurt)
1/2 cup plain, unsweetened live-culture yogurt (this is your starter and can be any plain yogurt, you just don't want it to have added sugar or flavorings...I've heard Dannon naturals works well, I used yogurt from a local farm the first time and 1/2 c. from my first batch the second time.)

This is what you do:
Pour the entire half gallon of milk into your crockpot on its lowest (not warm) setting. Cook for 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Turn crockpot off and let the milk sit for 3 hours. Place two cups of warm milk in a separate bowl and stir in plain yogurt "starter" until well combined, then return the mixture to the crockpot with the rest of the warm milk. Pour in non-fat dry milk if using.
Take the whole crockpot, wrap in a heavy towel and place in a warm place (I like to use my oven with the light on--doesn't get bumped and it stays nice and warm) for at least 8 hours or overnight.
When you wake up you will have yogurt!
Place in a large bowl and keep in the fridge, it will stay fresh about 7-10 days in it's plain form.

To serve:
Scoop out the desired amount and add honey, fruit, jam, vanilla, granola, etc. to taste. Only flavor/sweeten what you'll use at once since it becomes less thick once you add flavorings.
For an extra special treat, place the desired amount of yogurt in a coffee filter over a mug Let sit for at least two hours, then drain liquid in bottom of cup. You'll have super thick, creamy Greek-style yogurt. Sweeten and top as before!
Ignore the following if you're just in a crafty mood and don't care about the cost-benefit analysis. However, I was curious how much I was actually saving, so I did the math. I've included it below. These are based on the typical prices I've seen here in my upper-midwestern grocery store. You actual costs may be more or less depending on location, but it should give you a good idea at least. I've given ranges of price, but used my high-end numbers accross the board, results would obviously be a bit different if I had used the middle of the range or the bottom, but it should scale similarly.

Cost analysis: This is a great way to save a bunch of money! For traditional yogurt I figure the total cost for one batch (~1/2 gallon) is between $1.50 and $2. Cost for organic is between $3-4 per batch. A typical single-serve(4oz.) traditional yogurt costs between $0.40-0.75 per container and organic is between $.75-1.25 per container. Greek yogurt is even pricier, costing between $1.25-2.5o for a single serving. Each batch of homemade yogurt makes about 16 single servings (or 12 servings of Greek-style once you pour off the liquid). Using these numbers the costs for homemade yogurt per serving is as follows: $0.125 per serving for traditional, $0.25 for organic,
or $0.16 for Greek-style. Total savings for one batch of traditional yogurt? $10 ($12 for 64oz. purchased yogurt in single-serving containers-$2 for 64oz. homemade yogurt.) That's quite a bit of saving!


The Kampers said...

I've been making yogurt now for about 6 months and I don't think I will ever go back! We get milk free from camp, so that means after I bought the starter, I don't pay anything for it! Amazing! Glad you got to try it!

kristin noel said...

I LOVE IT! I will definitely give this a try! I enjoy having yogurt as my breakfast. Thanks for sharing (and doing the math!).

MikeandJen said...

levi is starting to eat yogurt, so i really should look into this. your cost analysis made my head hurt, but i don't doubt it's cheaper :) do you make your own granola as well?

Rebecca said...

i definitely want to try this some time.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the recipe ... did you hear the news today ?? 55gram a day promotes good gum health ... justin would be so proud!