Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

Back to Basics Baby Step Monday Mission no 4: Make Homemade Yogurt (Fermented Foods)

January 28th, 2013 · 86 Comments · Monday Missions

This is a {guest post} series from Tiffany of Don’t Waste the Crumbs. Catch all the previous baby steps HERE. Follow the Baby Steps board on Pinterest by clicking HERE.

Homemade Yogurt on a Spoon

I have a confession. When I saw “making your own yogurt” on that list of baby steps, I thought Katie had lost her marbles. Never in a million years did I think that I’d EVER make yogurt. Nor did I want to. It was daunting and downright scary.

Katie's Yogurt Gone Wrong

See that picture? That’s what could happen when you make yogurt and it doesn’t turn out. She wanted me to – INTENTIONALLY – make something that could turn out chunky, cottage-cheesy, runny, lumpy and/or thick cheesy weird stuff?!

AND THIS WAS A BABY STEP?!

No way, nuh uh, not happening.

So I skipped over yogurt and moved on to a different step. Or maybe I just quit looking at the list altogether and ate a piece of cake. I can’t remember anymore. Winking smile

Tiffany came clean later in the week: she actually chose to make milk kefir first.

Eventually I gave the idea of making yogurt a second chance. Maybe it was more of a mental hurdle than anything else, because once it was done, I realized how simple it everyone was claiming it to be. Leading up to the actual making, however, I employed every excuse imaginable.

 

  • Katie’s recipe uses a big cooler. Nope, don’t have a cooler. Guess I can’t make yogurt.
  • She calls for quart jars. Don’t have those either.
  • Her pot is big enough to hold four quart-sized jars. Besides not having the jars, my pot is too small.
  • Oh, she offers the crockpot method tooOh but that yogurt turns out runny, and I don’t want runny yogurt.
  • Some people add powdered milk to make it thicker? Nope, not taking the chance on that one. Something about oxidized cholesterol when the milk goes through all the tiny holes. Not sure what that means, but it doesn’t sound good.
  • Wait, you can make it in the oven? Nuh-uh, with my luck I’ll forget it’s in there and preheat the oven for pizza night (550 degrees) and then have cooked yogurt. And that’s just gross.
  • Some have had success using a heating pad? Wait, I have a heating pad…
  • Whole milk can make it thicker without using powdered milk? Um…
  • Any size jar will work. Well shoot.

Officially out of excuses, I (reluctantly) put on my big girl panties and psyched myself up to make yogurt. But there was one issue that was still difficult to wrap my head around.

Why Should I Make Yogurt?

At the time, the only reason we bought yogurt was for a recipe. Not even a family favorite recipe though. More like a once-in-a-blue-moon type of gig. It’s fair to say that maybe a total of two quarts made it into my grocery cart in any given year. Why in the world would I attempt to make something like yogurt from scratch if I rarely even bought it?!

The only person in the family who actually ate it – outside of a baked good or recipe – was my daughter. She only ate it twice a year (to finish off the containers used for the recipe) and it was considered a treat. That was just fine by me.

In my eyes, yogurt wasn’t a vibrant and rich source of nutrition. It just felt like another form of dairy… and with dairy comes the big organic vs. non-organic milk debate with the hormones and antibiotics and such and frankly, all that thinking was really unnecessary for something we weren’t even going to eat.

It was merely just a source of protein and calcium in my mind, both of which can be obtained through other types of food (like meat and cheese, neither of which were listed as baby steps to make). If yogurt didn’t offer anything “special” per se, then what was the point?

Then I read about the benefits of yogurt. Besides the protein and calcium, yogurt also has three B vitamins, a few important minerals and probiotics. It may not sound like much, but those things really pack a big nutritional punch! New to the concept of healing your body with food, it was how all these nutrients could improve my health that got truly my attention.

Aids with constipation and diarrhea, fights yeast infections, fortifies the immune system, reduces the risk of colorectal cancer, decreases allergies and improve dental health?! Holy cow! This list of benefits is nothing to scoff at, and certainly worth fighting my measly mental block for.

Your mission, should you choose to accept, is to make yogurt.

If you are even remotely like me, you will have read this entire post – including the excuses and the benefits – and still not be sold on the idea.

That’s ok. I’m not here to pitch a sale or tell you it’s life changing (although it is). I’m simply challenging you to take one more step in the journey of good health. I’ll even hold your hand. Smile

Making Yogurt – Heating Pad Method

Since the cooler, crock-pot and oven methods were ruled out, there was only the heating pad method left. This is a good thing for beginners like me though, because it’s practically fool proof!

Supplies

  • scant two quarts whole milk (equivalent to a half gallon, an easy measurement to halve or double to suit your own family’s needs. I use organic, but again, decide what’s best for your family.)
  • 4oz plain Greek yogurt, room temperature (full fat, remember, to be used as the starter culture)
  • 2 quart-size jars, or 4 pint-sized jars, or a combination of these (but no more than four jars total), clean and sterilized
  • small glass bowl
  • candy thermometer (instant read meat thermometer should work too, Katie says)
  • large pot (the biggest pot that comes in a typical set is the ideal size)
  • bath towel
  • heating pad

Method

  1. Pour starter yogurt into the small glass bowl. Set aside.
  2. Measure the milk by pouring it into your glass jars, leaving 1 inch of headspace at the top. This may sound silly, but your total volume will increase at the end with the addition of the starter culture. Measuring this way prevents the waste of ready-to-be-cultured milk!
  3. Pour the milk into the large pot.
  4. Warm the milk to 180 degrees F, stirring occasionally. It’s ok if it gets a degree or two warmer, but you don’t want to walk away and let the milk boil. Take my word on this one.
  5. Turn off the stove and let the milk cool to no warmer than 115 degrees F. If left on the burner (with the burner turned off), milk cools at a rate of approximately 1 degree per minute (or roughly 65 minutes). Cool it quicker by setting the pot on top of a cooling rack, like you would for cookies. The temperature drops to the desired range in about half an hour.
  6. While the milk is cooling, set up your incubation station. Fold your bath towel in half, long ways, and lay it on top of the kitchen counter near an outlet. Set your heating pad on top of the towel, folding in half if necessary.

Heating-Pad-Set-Up-on-Counter

7. Pour 1-2 cups of the cooled milk into the small glass bowl. Whisk heartily for about 30 seconds to thoroughly combine the yogurt and the milk.

8. Pour the milk/yogurt mixture into the big pot of warm milk. Whisk heartily for one minute to thoroughly combine the mixture.

9. Carefully pour the milk into the glass jars, leaving about 1/2″ of headroom in each jar. Use a measuring cup, ladle or funnel if you’re pouring-challenged. If there is milk left after all the jars have been filled, slowly add the remaining milk to the jars. Take care to not overfill. (This is when you’ll be thankful you measured into the jars in the first place.)

10. Cover with the lids and set on top of the heating pad. Quickly rinse and wipe out the pot (you can wash it later.)

Yogurts-on-Heating-Pad

Please ignore the ugly, partially-torn and washed labels. I’ve since figured out a SUPER easy way to get labels off jars and now my jars are looking pretty!

11. Wrap the towel over the jars.

Towel-Covering-Pot-on-Heating-pad

12. Turn the pot over and place it over the towel.

Pot-Covering-Yogurt

13. Turn the heating pad on low.

14. Come back in 8-24 hours to homemade yogurt! Store in the refrigerator and enjoy!

You can add a note to your Plan to Eat dashboard each week that reminds you to “make homemade yogurt” and link to the instructions you choose to use.

What Do I Do Now?

With the hard part over (but was it really that hard?), what do we do with all this yogurt? Eat it!

  • Stop buying salad dressings with trans fat and MSG and make your own instead (who knew bacteria tasted good on salad!)
  • Add 1/2 cup to muffin and cake batter to increase moisture (for DAYS!)
  • Bypass the anti-yogurt eaters and add a scoop to prepared oatmeal – my son doesn’t know the difference!
  • Use 1/2 cup in your daily smoothie

Turn Plain Yogurt Into Greek Yogurt

Some folks don’t like runny yogurt, including me. The recipe above has always yielded me thicker yogurt, but sometimes I need it really thick, like Greek yogurt. This is easy to do too!

Supplies

  • fine mesh strainer (or a regular strainer and a coffee filter)
  • small glass bowl
  • storage container (old yogurt tub, perhaps? ;) )
  • glass jar

Method

  1. Fit the strainer (or substitute) over the glass bowl.
  2. Once the yogurt has cooled in the refrigerator, scoop roughly one cup into the strainer. Let it sit for an hour.
  3. Scoop the yogurt from the strainer into the storage container.
  4. Repeat with remaining yogurt.
  5. Pour whey (the liquid in the bowl) into the glass jar.
  6. Check out some photos of the method, which is the same as you’d use for yogurt cheese, only less time, HERE.

What To Do With Greek Yogurt?

  • Use in place of sour cream in most recipes (on top of tortilla soup is AMAZING!)
  • Make yogurt parfaits
  • Eat it plain!

The Impact of Homemade Yogurt

Remember how I mentioned that we used to eat two quarts of yogurt each year? Maximum? Now that we make our own, we eat two quarts a week. Seriously!

Nothing “magically” happened that we suddenly eat more yogurt, but knowing the incredible health benefits it offers certainly helped (and realizing we bought 98 ounces of yogurt in two weeks was the firm kick in the pants I needed make our own). Now that we have ample in the fridge nearly all the time, it’s easy to eat even more!

Every single one of the “how to use” suggestions above has been tested and approved in our kitchen. Yes, the we-don’t-eat-yogurt family now eats (and loves!) yogurt!

What’s holding you back from making your own yogurt?

Quick note: Congrats to Debs McKenzie and Jesilee Smith, who both won a year membership to Plan to Eat! Remember you can get 30% off with the code “KitchenSteward” through 3/31, and here’s the KS group for anyone who wants to see over 37,000 recipes uploaded by KS readers!

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Follow the Baby Steps board on Pinterest by clicking HERE.

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You will not want to miss a moment of this series – catch the previous posts right HERE and be sure to sign up for a free email subscription or grab my reader feed to continue following along. You can also follow me on Twitter, get KS for Kindle, or see my Facebook Fan Page.

Meet TiffanyTiffany is a newbie real food eater who is trying to master and incorporate nourishing foods into her kitchen without breaking the bank. She documents her baby-sized strides at DontWastetheCrumbs.

 

If you missed the last Monday Mission, click here.

Kitchen Stewardship is dedicated to balancing God’s gifts of time, health, earth and money.  If you feel called to such a mission, read more at Mission, Method, and Mary and Martha Moments.

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86 Comments so far ↓

  • Angela via Facebook

    I make my own, but I do it in an enameled cast iron dutch oven, after cooling it to 110 or so, I cover the pot, put it on a good pot holder and cover it very well with THICK bath towels and leave it. I’ve also made it in my heavy saucepan that has a fitted lid, both worked very well and that took care of my fear of leaving something like that plugged in for so long. Also, any plain, active yogurt will do as a starter, and more is not better when it comes to adding your starter. you want your starter to have room to swim about and get happy lol too much starter will crowd it and it won’t set well. I think I use 2 T. in my recipe. Also, when it’s done, put some cheese cloth into a fine mesh strainer, fold the cloth over the yogurt and put something heavy on it. After a couple hours (or longer for firmer) you’ll have homemade paneer! save the drained whey to reheat w/ a pinch of fresh lemon juice for homemade ricotta! save any whey from that for adding additional nutrition to smoothies, etc, made with your homemade yogurt! Don’t forget to save a couple tablespoons of your homemade yogurt for starter for a new batch! delectable yogurt!

    Michelle Grovak Reply:

    I make yogurt in my large crockpot. I fill it about 3/4 full with water at a bout 105 degrees, turn it on warm and then put two or three quarts of yogurt mixture in the water bath. It stays the perfect temp and I ferment it for 24 hours to get all the lactose out. Don’t know why you had trouble with the crockpot method, but I really think it’s great.

  • Sarah via Facebook

    I started making dairy kefir and I’m not sure I’ll ever go back to making yogurt. It’s sooooo easy – no heating, cooling, measuring temp, etc.

  • Paula via Facebook

    I tried yogurt a couple of times, but the kefir is so, so easy so that’s what I make. We make smoothies with it, eat it with muesli, and when I have a lot, I’ll make pancakes or a cake with it.

  • Sheryl via Facebook

    I’ve been working on non dairy yogurt – coconut & almond. Have decided that thickeners must be added after fermentation. Otherwise it is more like a drink.

  • Sharon

    What’s holding me back from making my own yogurt? It’s pretty basic– I find the taste and texture of yogurt, whether homemade or storebought, greek style or not, to be absolutely disgusting. Health and nutritional benefits are irrelevant.

    But homemade lacto-fermented pickles and sauerkraut, that’s another story. My most recent batch of kraut is almost gone, and my first ever batch of kimchi is about ready to eat. Now that’s tasty probiotics!

    Tiffany @ DontWastetheCrumbs Reply:

    Sharon,

    My son is also against the texture of yogurt, which is why I sneak it into his oatmeal! Eating other fermented foods is excellent, but perhaps making a small batch for homemade dressings and other recipes would be worth it? Just food for thought. :)

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Sharon,
    Good for you! I am learning to enjoy fermented foods…and I always hated yogurt until pregnant with my first. Funny how different everyone is, but you certainly get awesome probiotics (better than yogurt, I think) from kraut, etc.
    :) Katie

  • Ann @ Being a Woman of the Bible

    My heating pad has an auto shut-off after an hour or so…any suggestions? I have tried all the other methods, too, and have gotten very discouraged…

    Tiffany @ DontWastetheCrumbs Reply:

    Ann,

    Have you tried using hot water from the tap directly into a cooler? I haven’t personally tested this method myself (as I found it while researching an answer for you!) but here’s the method:

    1. yogurt/milk into jar, seal it
    2. jar into a cooler [any size, just large enough to hold the jar(s)]
    3. fill the cooler with hottest tap water
    4. close cooler (optional to wrap cooler with towel for extra incubation) and store in draft-free area for 3 hours
    5. move to fridge (or for longer incubation, empty and refill with hot water)

    A one-time fill seems easy and a multi-fill could become cumbersome, but if you’ve tried every other option and still having trouble, a one-time refill for a total of 6 hours may be worth the effort!

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Ann/Tiffany,
    If using a cooler (I do that…wink wink), it’s easier on the cleanup if you keep the water in a pot – either water at about 115F and the jars right in the pot, or boiling water and allow the steam to heat the cooler, jars next to the pot. Just let *some* steam out before closing the cooler or it will overheat most likely.

    Some also incubate with water in a slow cooker, jars nested in there, slow cooker on low for a little while and then off, wrapped in a towel. Soooo many ways to keep something at about 110F, you just have to think of what you have available in your house and what works for you. :) Katie

    Good luck!
    :) Katie

    Susie E Reply:

    I incubate my jars in the oven. Just turn the oven light on and leave them overnight. It maintains an even 100 degrees and is perfect for culturing yogurt. (I discovered that is how many of the pricey stoves provide a “bread raising” cycle….just the oven light maintains an even 100 degrees!

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Susie,
    They’re all a little different (some go over 150F with just the light, whoa!) but yes, an awesome place if the temp is right. I used to let my sourdough bread rise in the oven with the light on. :) Katie

    Linda Reply:

    Has anyone tried an aquarium heater? I’m not sure what their highest range is, probably not warm enough to incubate, but if it does go that high, you could use it inside a cooler in the water. Also, my crock pot has a “warm” choice, not just low. I never checked the actual temp on it.

  • Brooke via Facebook

    The nice thing about yogurt is that you can make large quantities easily. I make it a gallon at a time and it lasts a week. I don’t have to keep it alive either. I can get more “culture” at the grocery store if I got lazy and ate my set aside starter!

    Tiffany @ DontWastetheCrumbs Reply:

    Brooke,

    I like yogurt for that reason too. Sometimes I feel REALLY lazy – too lazy to move my kefir jar to the fridge! ~Tiffany

  • Katie

    I love this! I am still trying to get my yogurt recipe down – the results are always inconsistent – so I am always excited to learn tips from others!

    Thanks for sharing!
    Katie

    Tiffany @ DontWastetheCrumbs Reply:

    Katie,

    Wonderful that you haven’t given up despite your results. I’ve always had success with this method so I hope you do too. My recommendations would be to whisk the dickens out of the initial yogurt/milk combo (creating bubbles is fine) and whisk like crazy again to THOROUGHLY combine that with the rest of the milk. Then once it sits undisturbed with the constant heat for however long you decide, you should find delicious and creamy yogurt!

  • Mary

    When I make yogurt, I find that letting the milk cool closer to the bottom range (I am using my hand/wrist to tell me it’s still warm enough and not too warm) and adding about 1 1/2 Tbs yogurt per quart works well for me. The cooler method is great and until recently I had no difficulties. I was transferring 2 quart jars to my cooler which was in the dining room when the one lid let go. Yes, I was foolishly holding onto the lid and not the jar. One good thing was the cooler was on a rug on the carpet, so the majority was on the rug. My mental screams went on and on as I quickly moved the mess to the hard kitchen floor. After putting the full jar and the almost empty jar into the cooler and wrapping them per Katie’s directions (why should I take the chance to waste it?), I started cleaning the carpet splashes. The carpet is light and milk is white, so it was a challenge. Hopefully, I soaked up all the spots, rinsed them with cold water and soaked up all of that too. The rug went carefully into the washer along with some other appropriate items and looks fine. Whew. The yogurt went into the refrigerator after ~8 hours and had thickened nicely.

    To have starter for the future without having to purchase it, I will put 1 Tbs amounts onto a sheet of Glad Press-N-Seal, sealing, dating and freezing. As long as I get the starter out at the beginning of the process, it’s ready to go into the cooled milk.

    Tiffany @ DontWastetheCrumbs Reply:

    Mary,

    I don’t think you’re alone with those mental screams. In fact, I’m fairly sure mine would have been verbal as well. :)

    The tip on freezing the yogurt for a future starter is fantastic! Thank you for sharing!

  • Kate

    I still think the thermos (or thermal coffee cup) method that Beth Terry suggests on My Plastic Free Life is the easiest and most foolproof way. Until I got a dehydrator that’s how I did it, and it takes very little time. Heat to 110 degrees, stir in a couple of tablespoons of yogurt, pour into a thermal cup or thermos, and let it sit for at least a few hours or until you remember to put it away. The dehydrator method is even easier, just pour cold milk in a mason jar with the yogurt starter, turn the dehydrator on to about 100 degrees or so (that’s the only tricky part and once you figure it out it’s easy after that!), leave it for 6 hours, and let it sit after that until it’s the right consistency or you remember to put it away. I leave mine out for a full 24 hours (I think I saw Katie recommend that somewhere…) because my son has a lactose problem and if I do that he can eat bowls and bowls of it and be fine.

  • Jessica

    I know the health benefits of making smoothies, but since I am diabetic its not a daily option for me. Any other suggestions for eating yogurt daily? Thanks

    Tiffany @ DontWastetheCrumbs Reply:

    Jessica,

    Here’s my favorite way to eat (not drink) yogurt:

    1/2 cup (or more if you prefer) of yogurt
    1 T sunflower seeds
    1 T pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
    1 T dried cranberries (or raisins)
    1 T homemade granola

    I love the creamy/crunchy texture of this, and the seeds are high in protein and fiber too. You can add fresh fruit if you’d like, but this combination above lets me pre-portion ahead of time and simply dump & mix with the yogurt when I’m ready to eat!

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Jessica,
    Smoothies don’t have to have sweetener, or even fruit – I’ve seen recipes that rely on avocados, soaked cashews, lots of greens, cucumbers, all sorts of things that wouldn’t be no-nos on a diabetic diet. You just need to find the right smoothie. ;) OR just enjoy your yogurt with some granola – we just eat it plain, although usually with fruit – but it’s not necessary. Enjoy! :) Katie

  • Tracy via Facebook

    I’m attempting this method as soon as I buy a heating pad! :)

  • Tina via Facebook

    I have put my raw milk in the oven with the pilot light on thinking “I dont plan on using the oven for the next 24-36 hrs so this should be a good time”, only to decide to make a last minute treat, preheat the oven and then cook my yogurt! Ive done that twice now, once being last night. I just let it cool then pick back up where I left off but I know I had to have killed some good stuff in there…maybe even the actual culture lol Who knows.

  • via Facebook

    Tina Live – Put a post-it note on the “on” dial/button so you can’t foil yourself! ;) At least nothing exploded… ;)

  • meghann

    I love that you talk about the heating pad method here. That was the method I *planned* to use when I first started making yogurt a few years ago, but I couldn’t find our heating pad among the moving boxes! So I went looking for alternatives & found this site & Katie’s cooler method, which I’ve been using ever since. :)

    Lisa truitt Reply:

    Is it still possible to get heating pads that dont auto shut off after a short time? Mine shuts off after 30 min. or so. In this day and age of safety mindedness, I would think it might be difficult to find new heating pads without this feature.

  • Beth @ Turn 2 the Simple

    Yep, I make 7 quarts of yogurt every two weeks…we eat lots of yogurt! I use the oven method and I’ve even pre-heated the oven forgetting the yogurt was in there (only to 350), just remove yogurt and continue with baking, replace yogurt when done with oven…still turns out fine! I’ve found that the closer I can keep the culturing temp to 100 the thicker the yogurt. So, that is my new “challenge”.

  • Leah G

    I wont add to the list of ways to make it. I will say I put mine in the oven and depending on the temp in the house I may throw the heating pad in there for company. I wanted to add that we make raw milk yogurt and it is NOT runny. I heat it to 100 degrees add double the culture(which is from Custom Probiotics) plus 1/2 tsp of our 10 stand probiotic (Klaire Labs.) ferments for 24 hrs and it is SOOO thick and we love it. we go through a gallon and a half a week.

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Leah,
    You got me beat! People’s eyes always bug out when I say I make about a gallon a week…although we’re getting closer to a gallon and a quart with toddler boy starting to eat more…
    :) Katie

    Leah G Reply:

    we’re doing GAPS so its more because we cant have our plain raw milk I guess. then again the 3 yo and 15 mo LOVE yogurt. I’m a kefir girl.

  • Kim

    Why can’t the milk be heated in the jars, sitting in a pot of boiling water on the stove? Seems that it would save on dishes and pouring of hot milk.

    At what point do you add sweetener or flavor to the yogurt?

    Tiffany @ DontWastetheCrumbs Reply:

    Kim,

    It can, I’m just a big fat chicken. :) I have this fear that the jars will break or milk will spill out or something else will go completely wrong. Chances are it won’t, but I’ve somehow convinced myself otherwise, lol.

    I don’t add any sweetener or flavor to the yogurt. I’ll add homemade granola and seeds when eating it, or it gets mixed in with fruits in a smoothie. But even plain, it still tastes great!

    Lesa W Reply:

    Kim,

    I sweeten our yogurt with stevia. I have also used vanilla as flavoring, but don’t usually any more.

    I’ve tried sweetening two different ways. One is to put the sweetener (and vanilla, at that time) into the pot before dividing the milk into the jars. This worked fine, but wasn’t a good choice for our family.

    What I do now is allow each person to sweeten their bowl at serving time. This works better for us as each person has a different preference. Plus there is the added bonus that if we ever decide to use the yogurt as an ingredient in something else, it is not pre-sweetened.

    Also, for what it’s worth, I have a one-cup prep bowl (pampered chef, oven-safe, with lid) that I fill about 1/2 full when I am filling the jars and set aside after culturing for starting the next batch. This way my starter doesn’t accidentally get eaten.

    Gail Reply:

    I prefer plain yogurt but my husband really prefers vanilla. So every other batch is flavored for him- here’s what I do. When heating milk, I add 1/3 cup of honey (I heat my milk in the crockpot on low for 3 hours which brings it to the required temp) When it is cooled and ready for addition of yogurt culture, I add 2 tbsp. of pure vanilla extract to the milk/yogurt mixture. I have also added pure maple extract, pure lemon extract and pure orange extract. All are delicious. The addition of honey and a pure extract does not interfere at all with the yogurt incubating and setting well.

  • Sande

    ok, ok, ok….I am with you on ALL excuses…but I just purchased a heating pad sooo guess I will give this a try, thanks.

    Tiffany @ DontWastetheCrumbs Reply:

    You can do it Sande!

  • Angela via Facebook

    I want to try kefir! anyone have a good link? thanks!

  • Sandy.

    Why don’t I make yogurt?
    Two words: Lactose intolerance.
    Pickles, OK, altho the taste takes getting used to . . . maybe adding fresh dill will help, when I get my garden back. Sauerkraut, yes, as soon as I have a CLEAN (laundry room on open back porch does not cut it) place to leave it to ferment while not smelling up the house. But fermenting milk does not change the lactose content.

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Sandy,
    Lactose is the sugar in milk, and actually the “Specific Carbohydrate Diet” says that if yogurt is fermented properly for 24 hours, nearly all the lactose is consumed by the healthy bacteria. Might be worth a try if you would enjoy yogurt; Green Valley Organics also sells a lactose-free yogurt that is delightful. :) Katie

    Kate Reply:

    Below is a link to a very official sounding article detailing how lactose is broken down as a part of yogurt culturing. Not that it couldn’t be bogus (sounding official doesn’t always make you right), but I really think yogurt bacteria breaking down lactose is a thing. I don’t want to start an argument but I would like to get this straight in my own mind because I think my son might be lactose intolerant or have a sensitivity or something and my homemade long-culture yogurt doesn’t seem to hurt his stomach whereas a couple slices of pizza or a grilled cheese sandwich will have him up screaming all night long.
    http://microbewiki.kenyon.edu/index.php/The_Role_of_Bacteria_in_the_Health_Potential_of_Yogurt

    Becky Reply:

    I am lactose intolerant and so are 3 of my kids and the doctors (mine and the kids) all agree that yogurt is fine for us to eat. They actually have recommended it to increase our calcium intake.

  • Eileen

    I don’t even wash out my pot just rinse and fill with hot tap water and sit on the counter. I add the jars. Top with a lid and wrap a towel around double around the pot. Let it sit 8-10 hours and it always turns out. We do have very hot tap water so that may make a difference but saves on time and another step.

    Tiffany @ DontWastetheCrumbs Reply:

    Thanks for this tip Eileen! A great option for those who don’t have any cooler at all.

  • Sylvia

    I like smooth yogurt and always thought homemade yogurt wasn’t smooth enough. I discovered that after it has cooled, you can whisk it with the whisk attachment from a hand-held blender and it has a much nicer consistency. Just be careful not to overdo it!

    Tiffany @ DontWastetheCrumbs Reply:

    Thanks for the tip Sylivai! I’m sure others who enjoy super smooth yogurt will appreciate this. :)

  • via Facebook

    Angela R Sago – I think tiffany is going to share about her experience with kefir later this week, but if/when I ever jump in, I’ll rely on Jule at Cultures for Health to help me: http://www.culturesforhealth.com?a_aid=4e684d21973d7

  • Angela via Facebook

    awesome, thank you!

  • Allison Jordan

    I am breastfeeding and my baby has a pretty severe allergy to dairy proteins that he gets through my milk, so no yummy homemade yogurt for me. Have you ever made it using another type of milk like almond or coconut? Wondering if it is worth the trouble.

    Tiffany @ DontWastetheCrumbs Reply:

    Allison Jordan,

    I personally have not tried another type of milk for making yogurt. However, kefir may be an option with the dairy allergy. We’ll discuss that a little bit later this week!

    Allison Reply:

    Tiffany! I totally didn’t think about kefir. Great idea! The store-brand has dairy, but can’t you make it without using dairy? I am soooo looking forward to your post! :) And to a recipe. :))))) xoxo

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Allison,
    Here are two I have bookmarked:
    http://theholisticmama.com/homemade-coconut-milk-yogurt-in-a-slow-cooker/
    and
    http://www.cookingtf.com/2011/02/03/coconut-milk-yogurt-2/

    Hope you find something that works! :) Katie

    Allison Jordan Reply:

    Thanks Katie!

  • Lori in NY

    What do you do if you want to flavor the yogurt? My kids eat tons of the expensive store-bought kind and I *really* want to find a way to somehow replicate the flavors at least a little. Their favorite is orange yogurt, so I thought about mixing it with frozen orange juice. Haven’t tried it with regular yogurt yet, to see if it would be acceptable, but if it worked and I made my own yogurt we’d save a ton of money on groceries each month!! Any other ideas for for flavoring yogurt?

    Tiffany @ DontWastetheCrumbs Reply:

    Lori,

    I think using pureed whole fruit would be the easiest and most economical way. I would recommend straining the yogurt some (like the Greek yogurt method) so that when you add the fruit puree, the yogurt doesn’t become really runny (unless your troops don’t seem to mind).

    Another option would be flavored liquid Stevia. NuNaturals makes orange, lemon, vanilla, peppermint and cocoa flavors. I haven’t tried this in yogurt (although it’s on my to-do), but I have in other areas and the flavor pulls through nicely with just a few drops. I’ll see if I can experiment a bit with this today and give a better update. :)

    Tiffany @ DontWastetheCrumbs Reply:

    Ok Lori, I took a small scoop of yogurt (tablespoon or two?) and mixed it with two drops of orange flavored liquid stevia – YUM! I’d do that again in a heartbeat. Kinda tasted like a dreamsicle!

    Lori in NY Reply:

    I will have to find that flavored liquid stevia and try it. We have powdered stevia and no one really likes it. Hopefully the flavored stuff is better! Thanks for the tip!

    Tiffany @ DontWastetheCrumbs Reply:

    I have NuNaturals and I’m pretty pleased with their product.

    Not to give away any spoilers, but there’s a giveaway planned for NuNaturals at Crumbs next month, plus a discount code. Maybe hold off on your searching for just a few weeks… could be worth it!

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Lori,
    In my personal opinion, the liquids are WAY better than the powdered stevia. Great idea for flavoring! You might also like to blend up a smoothie with an orange and yogurt, then freeze it in popsicles – dreamsicle probiotic dessert! :) Have fun playing with ideas, and your kids may surprise you by liking new flavors, too. Our favs are just honey with frozen fruit, or cinnamon applesauce (needs no sweetener IMO b/c of the cinnamon). :) Katie

  • Andrea via Facebook

    An even easier way to make yogurt is to make a variety that doesn’t require heat at all! I bought a villi yogurt starter online, and it is as easy as combining one Tbs yogurt from a previous batch for every cup of milk, cover, and let sit at room temperature. Just as easy as kefir (or perhaps easier, since there is no straining).

  • via Facebook

    True, Andrea Pfarr – I tried a Villi starter too, but our family didn’t like the taste/texture of that one – also, with raw milk, the necessity to keep a pure “seed” of boiled milk every time or two made it more trouble than I cared for. I do have a room temp starter from a friend, though, and I don’t even know what it’s called, but it totally self-perpetuates and never needs a pure seed. It’s awesome! But the consistency is pretty weird, so my family puts up with it for one jar a week, but not all 5 of them. :) Katie

  • Courtney Bukowiecki via Facebook

    I just got goats and want to try to make yogurt from their milk. Anyone tried that before?

    Gypsy Farmgirl Reply:

    YES! I only have goat milk available currently. It turns out just as good as cow milk, IMO, which I had access to last summer. I usually take the milk fresh and strained and start it in the morning after milking, instead of starting w/ refrigerated milk. I use the crockpot method currently, and make a gallon at a time.

    We add the plain yogurt to soups all the time, just as an extra idea of how to use it. It helps cool it down (both heat and spiciness) for my little guy. (And the big guy, too ;) )

    Linda Reply:

    I had a herd of does years ago and used their fresh milk for everything, yogurt, sourdough, everything! I even bought a jug of cow milk occasionally to keep a supply of goat milk in so the picky kids in the family thought they were drinking cow milk! They never knew the difference. Word of warning: once I bought a billy to service the does for kidding, he caused the horrible smell/taste in the milk and even though he was sold within a week or two, the milk still suffered for a long, long time. :-) Maybe I should have wrapped my does in a garbage bag. hahaha

  • Susan

    Thank you! Would you believe that I had pulled up the KS “how to make yogurt” page yesterday morning, with a mental note of “research heating pad method” so I could try yogurt yesterday (not sure if our soft-sided cooler would work). . .and then I saw this brand-new tutorial, taking the effort of research out of it for me:) — and now this morning, I have yummy yogurt. Thanks so much!

    Tiffany @ DontWastetheCrumbs Reply:

    Wonderful news Susan! Our brain waves must have been traveling the same path. ;)

  • via Facebook

    Courtney Bukowiecki Ingham – it should work, but I don’t know what adaptations (if any) you need to make.

  • Andrea via Facebook

    Kitchen Stewardship, I don’t have access to raw milk here, but I suppose that would definitely make the room-temp starter less convenient! I’d forgotten about that part of the directions.

  • Katherine via Facebook

    To make sure I have enough good starter when I need it (especially since I like to make raw yogurt and it’s not as good as a starter culture because of the enzymes) I made a batch of yogurt where I heated the milk to 180 before culturing, then froze it in muffin tins (3 Tbsp fit nicely in a muffin cup). Once it was frozen, I popped them out of the muffin tins and stored them in a ziploc bag in the freezer. I use one “cake” per 1 qt of milk. All I have to do is put as many as I need in a bowl and then set that on the counter to defrost. If I’m in a hurry, I set the bowl of frozen yogurt in a bowl of warm water.

  • Natasha

    I have made homemade yogurt using starter from a regular yogurt I buy from the store. It works for the first batch, but when I try to make a second batch using the starter from the first, it doesn’t thicken. AT ALL. This has happened to me several times. What could I be doing wrong?

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Natasha,
    Are you using raw milk or making raw yogurt? Are you doing anything else differently in the way you heat the milk or stir in the starter or incubate? And finally, how long after the first batch are you making the second? All those factors can come into play, although I’m guessing maybe just “old starter” might be your problem if you go over 7-10 days between batches. Hope that helps! :) Katie

    Natasha Reply:

    Yes, it is with raw milk actually. Maybe I missed it, but does that make a difference? What is the process with raw milk?

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Eek, sorry I missed this reply for so long! If your yogurt is raw, you might have to make a new “seed” by pasteurizing the milk every few times.

    More here: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/recipes/raw-milk-yogurt-escapades/

    :) Katie

  • Jenifer via Facebook

    We just use a small amount of jelly made with juice concentrates instead of sugar. Super easy since we usually already have it out for pbj sandwiches.

  • Linda

    I have a Salton Yogurt Maker I will sell for $10 if you pay the shipping. It is electric, 5 individual milk glass containers with lids for refrigerator storage, thermometer spoon for . It worked just fine when I last used it and it has been stored in my house for several years. Non-smoking, non pet house.

  • via Facebook

    Katherine Gielskie So smart! My mom will freeze Tbs sized dollops of store yogurt as a new starter too, but for some reason I never thought of that as a way to ensure the “pure” starter for raw yogurt. A forehead smacker to be sure! Thanks!

  • Katherine via Facebook

    I learned the hard way – I’d be all set to make yogurt and then realize I was out of store-bought and all the raw had been eaten! :)

  • Erin

    Hello! First time yogurt maker here….where can I find full fat greek yogurt?? I have looked all over! It is always lowfat or 2%, I found a full fat goats milk yogurt, but it was a greek yogurt…does that matter?

    Erin Reply:

    I meant the goat’s milk WASN’T a greek style yogurt. Oops.

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Erin,
    I can’t find it anymore, either! So sad! Fage used to have an awesome one… :( Katie

  • Kimberly

    I HAD to come back and post. Yogurt was a baby step that I, too, was scared of. I just knew that I would be pouring out a perfectly good two quarts of milk and wasting all of that money! Then I continued to go to the store and fork over big bucks for my favorite Greek yogurt. I know, it doesn’t make sense to me either. When I read this post, I was very curious. It sounded simple, and I was tired of wasting money. I reluctantly tried this yesterday, and WOW! Perfect, thick, creamy yogurt. Thanks! I read above where someone has a stupid heating pad like mine that wants to shut off automatically. I just set a timer, and checked on it throughout the day. I only went 8 hours with it, so it wasn’t bad. Thanks again for the post!!

  • Teresa

    I have been enjoying making yogurt. To flavor my yogurt, I cut up a bunch of strawberries and put a little sugar on them and let sit over night. I then purée the strawberries with juice and mix it in to the yogurt and I have the best tasting strawberry yogurt.

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Welcome!  Meet Katie.

I embrace butter. I make homemade yogurt. I eat traditional real food – plants and animals that God created, not products of plants where food scientists work. Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I share how I strive to be a good steward of my family's nutrition, the environment, and our budget, all without spending every second in the kitchen. Learn more about the mission of KS here.

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