Eating in our times has gotten complicated and confusing. Sometimes it can be even scary, so eating real food and something simple that has been around since 6000 BC sounds like a perfect alternative.
Yogurt has a number of health benefits, making it a good food to include in a healthy diet. Homemade yogurt has no preservatives, stabilizers, flavorings, thickeners, dyes, or sugars. Now, what’s wrong with that? The first thing you notice when tasting homemade yogurt is that it’s much tangier, smoother, creamier and it has a clean fresh flavor. To make yogurt is not very hard, and you don’t even have to go out and buy a special “yogurt maker. Making yogurt is as easy as it gets, mix “live” yogurt with milk. Heat the milk to 185 F. The heating will kill any bacteria, cool the milk to 110 F. Stir in the live yogurt, transfer the mixture to a glass jar, and ferment.
Keep it simple:
All that is needed to make yogurt is milk and live and active bacteria so plain yogurt should have nothing more. I used to purchase Greek yogurt, but not anymore. I’m fermenting 1 gallon of milk and making fresh homemade yogurt. There is nothing wrong with store purchased yogurt, however, most store purchased yogurts are only fermented for a very short time and they do not have as many healthy bacteria as homemade yogurt has. The health benefits of homemade yogurt are impressive, nutrient-rich and an excellent source of vitamins and minerals for its calories!
Live yogurt contains cultures, i.e. beneficial bacteria which aid the digestive system and help to improve the body’s balance of natural bacteria. Eating live yogurt means that you will be consuming live and active cultures that help your body’s natural gut bacteria balance.
Most flavored yogurt, unless otherwise specified on the label, contains added sugars. That’s how yogurt gets its sweet flavor, which makes it taste more like a dessert than the healthy food yogurt should be. Too much sugar is a major contributor to weight gain and obesity. Always check purchased yogurts, some of them can contain far too much sugar and sweeteners. Limiting your intake of added sugar is critical to your health. The recommendations for daily sugar intake: for men is 9 teaspoons (38 grams) or less of added sugar and for women is 6 teaspoons (25 grams) or less of added sugar. So start making your own yogurt to have total control over how much-added sugar you consume. FYI there are some yogurts out there that have 14 gr added sugar in a 5.5 oz container. I attached for you a link from the American Heart Association that has great information about hidden and added sugars.
If you want to make Greek yogurt, set a sieve over a bowl and line the colander with cheesecloth. Pour your yogurt into the cheesecloth-lined sieve and let it sit in the refrigerator for 2 to 6 hours to drain.
Let the little invisible creatures (Bacteria) take over.
You can use Mason jars and sterilize them by pouring boiling water into them and letting them stand, then draining them before. I add the yogurt mixture and place the yogurt-filled jars in the oven overnight with the oven light turned on. There is no need to check every hour or so; just relax and let the little invisible creatures (Bacteria) take over. To ferment yogurt, the optimal temperature should be around 115 F, and keep the yogurt undisturbed for at least 12 to 15 hours. A 24 hour incubation time is as perfect as it gets. The longer you ferment your milk, the thicker and tangier your yogurt will be and include more beneficial bacteria.
Sterilize the Jars:
Please, do not ignore an important factor, and use a clean sterilized jar for making your homemade yogurt. Sterilizing jars is easy. Place jars and lids in a deep saucepan, add water, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and continue to boil for 10 minutes. Line a baking tray with a paper towel or cloth towel. Carefully remove the jars and place them on the tray. Allow to air-dry or pat dry with a clean paper towel or cloth.
There are several “high-tech” yogurt machines out there and they work great. However, the simple oven method works for me. The important thing is to select good milk. I use organic 2 % milk. After the yogurt has fermented for 24 hours, I always keep 3 to 4 tablespoons as a starter for my next batch. It is the cheapest and best starter out there. Yogurt will keep in your refrigerator for about 14 days if held at 40 F or lower. If you ever need to, you can place the starter in your freezer for later use.
- 3 tbsp yogurt Stony field organic plain
- 2 quarts 2% Milk (or Whole Milk)
Heat the milk
- Add milk to stainless steel pot and bring to a short boil. Stir the milk so the bottom of the pot does not scorch and the milk does not boil over. The temperature should reach at least 185 F.2 quarts 2% Milk
Cool the milk
- Remove pot from heat and cool to 110 F. You can place the pot in an ice bath to speed up the cooling process or, as I do, let it cool on the stove. This will take about an hour or so.
Add the yogurt starter
- With a whisk stir the plain organic yogurt into the warm milk.3 tbsp yogurt
- Fill glasses with milk and cover with a lid. Transfer to the oven, turn on the oven light and let the bacteria do the work.
- After 24 hours of fermentation, place yogurt in the refrigerator and cool overnight.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate