On average a gallon of organic whole milk costs six dollars. One plain cup of unflavored yogurt costs around one dollar. This is all you need to make yogurt. For seven dollars you can easily make a gallon of organic, rich, pure yogurt; that works out to about $1.75 per quart. I have access to a local farmer’s milk, which I get directly into my own glass gallon jugs, which makes it even cheaper! For starter yogurt I love to buy Fiddle Creek Dairy yogurt which comes in glass jars. They treat their Jersey cows right; they are 100% grass-fed and, I know from visiting their verdant farm, are very happy and loved.
Being such an economical source of protein and calcium, I use it for breakfast, for smoothies, in sauces, in place of sour cream, and served plain alongside spicy curries. It is easy to make, even without special equipment.
In yogurt-making, there is one thing to be finicky about: cleanliness. Thoroughly wash, in hot soapy water, everything that you will use; pot, spoon, ladle, jars, etc. Some recipes call for sterilizing everything with boiling water, but I’ve never found that necessary as long as everything has just been washed well.
What you don’t have to be finicky about: measuring. I pour whatever amount of milk I have into a pot, and for the starter yogurt I scoop out about a cup’s worth, no matter the quantity of milk.
So, without further ado….
- Heat whole milk over medium-low heat until it reaches 180 degrees. Remove from heat and let it cool to 115 (you can ice bath it if you want to hurry up the cooling).
- Dump in your starter yogurt. Do not whisk it, do not harass it at all! You want to keep the integrity to the yogurt. (This was the best advice I’ve received in all my years of making yogurt; it truly makes a difference in the final texture). If you are going to be pouring the yogurt into several containers, just make sure each one gets some of the yogurt blob.
- Pour into large glass jar(s). Situate them, without lids, in a cooler or bucket of hot water, making sure it comes up as far on the jars as it can without floating them. Cover with heavy towels or blankets and let them incubate for at least six hours, even overnight is fine as long as the heat is maintained.
- Refrigerate and enjoy!!!
Some folks use their homemade yogurt as their starter for the next batch, but I don’t. I find more success with starting with a fresh culture, and I love the quality of Fiddle Creek Dairy’s yogurt. Their glass jars are also handy around the house or are readily recyclable!
So there you have it…less packaging waste, saved money, and a tasty, easy, healthy food!