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Do It Yourself Yogurt


Blog-milk:yogurtTwo things I’ve noticed. First, when one specific ingredient starts sneaking itself into too many products, I start to worry. Second, when a product disappears from the shelf, I start to worry. Today I’m going to write about the latter.

I like yogurt. Real yogurt. I don’t like coconut yogurt. Have you seen what they add to that? I don’t like soy yogurt, nor do I trust government subsidized soy. I don’t like any non-dairy yogurt. I just don’t. And I don’t like flavored yogurt. It’s filled with unnecessary sweeteners that add the sugar equivalence of a can of Coca Cola.

I know dairy is not “in” right now. But I’m pretty sure fat is. Wasn’t “low-fat” a thing of the 80’s and 90’s? Remember Snackwells? Don’t lie, I know you binged on those “low- fat” cookies too! But I thought we’d gone back to the notion that you need fat to burn fat and it is sugar, not fat that raises insulin levels, disrupts hormones, and increases fatty tissue. So I thought.

So I, a non-vegan, who thinks that dairy in moderation, particularly cultured dairy, can be beneficial to those of us who can digest lactose, am feeling perplexed. What happened to whole milk yogurt? The real deal.

Here’s what I want. Organic, grass fed, whole milk plain yogurt. Sound complicated? Why? Let the cow roam, don’t extract the fat and don’t add artificial sweeteners and stabilizers. I want real uncomplicated non-fancy yogurt. Instead, here’s what I found…

  • Non-fat (every flavor)
  • Low-fat (every flavor)
  • Whole milk (flavored)
  • Whole milk (plain, not organic)

I checked a variety of health food stores, which shall remain nameless. I found one made from cow’s milk, which was very delicious but not always in stock. I found another made from sheep’s milk, which was way too expensive. And I know they exist at the farmer’s markets (bless their souls). But this led to me asking various people what they think about the disappearance of real yogurt.  You know how sometimes you get caught up in the problem and don’t see the simple solution in front of you. Well, my dad was my beacon of light on this subject with his simple question,

Why don’t you just make your own?

I suddenly felt peace. Yes, instead of going store-to-store chasing down the last real yogurt, I could simply make my own. Organic whole milk is still readily available and I’m even beginning to see milk from grass fed cows. Yogurt is so simple to make you wouldn’t believe it. So I’m going to teach you how to make it. And guess what? From your original batch, you save a spoonful or two and use it to make the next round.  Sustainable!  It’s simple, its way cheaper than buying yogurt, and so much healthier than the sugar filled flavored yogurts that are taking over the dairy section. Here we go…

Materials: pot, thermometer, mason jars (or a yogurt making kit), milk, yogurt culture

I used a yogurt making kit. The only difference is in Step 5

Step 1: Sterilize the jars and lids you will be using to store the yogurt (I just ran them through the dishwasher, but you can also boil water and let them soak for 10 minutes).

Step 2: Pour ½ gallon of organic whole milk into a pot and heat until temperature reaches 185º. Stir frequently.

Step 3: Turn off the stove and let the milk cool down to a range of 108º-115º. If you want it to cool faster you can partially fill the sink or a cooler with cold water and place the pot in it.

yogurt starterStep 4: Once the milk lowers to this temperature range, add in one large heaping spoonful (or 2-3 tablespoons) of your favorite plain yogurt (your starter). Stir well.

Step 5: Yogurt needs to maintain warmth. Pour the milk/yogurt mixture into a jar or jars and seal lid. If you have a yogurt kit, use that and set the timer for 10 hours. It has it’s own built-in insulation system. If you don’t, wrap the jars tightly in towels or blankets so that the temperature doesn’t cool down too quickly, and let it sit 8-10 hours. Although I’ve never personally tried this, some people place a heating pad under the jar.

Yogurt 1

Step 6: Finally, put the yogurt in the coldest section of the refrigerator for at least 5 hours. Stir well and serve.

And that’s a wrap-fresh, real, healthy yogurt. Eat plain or add fruit. My personal favorite is baked apples with cinnamon and fresh yogurt. What’s yours?


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