I can’t say enough good things about yogurt. It’s creamy and yummy and tangy and versatile, and the bacteria is so good for your belly and helps to keep so many things in check, and the healthy fat in whole-fat yogurt is excellent for like a zillion things. Fill your body with that and you won’t even want the cookies! Okay, that’s a lie. But you’ll probably want them a little bit less.
With such a love for yogurt, you can bet we’ve always had plenty at our house. Always plain, organic, whole-milk yogurt. I stopped caring whether it was Greek style or not. But even stripped down to the bare bones of it all, that creamy, tangy goodness is $5/quart! I winced every time I put it in my cart.
But then Christmas came, and oh my friends, you should have seen my face when I opened that box from my mom and there she was…
This little beauty has revolutionised my kitchen AND my grocery shopping. That sounds so dramatic, but I’m not even kidding. I make over a quart of yogurt for $1.45. Again: not even kidding.
This is my process. It’s literally all I do to save $3.50/week. Which is $182/year. Guys, I can DO SOMETHING with $182/year.
First, heat the milk.
Different instructions will give you different temperatures to heat the milk to. All the ones I found said at least 180. I followed the instructions that came with the yogurt maker SUPER STEADFASTLY the first time I made it (Guys, I got up in the middle of the night in order to turn off the yogurt maker and put the yogurt in the fridge. That right there…that’s dedication.) and it turned out a bit too runny. Runny’s fine. Too runny is not fine. The next time I made it, I lost track of the milk while it was heating and it got a little foamy and was pulling up the sides of the pot (so…basically…it was boiling…), and my yogurt turned out so much better. So now I don’t check the temperature while it’s heating, I just wait till it’s kinda foamy, then turn off the heat and let it cool down to 95 degrees.
THAT’S THE TEMPERATURE YOU NEED TO PAY ATTENTION TO! PAY ATTENTION TO THAT TEMPERATURE!
It should be 95 degrees. Seriously.
And it might look like this.
Don’t worry, totally normal. Just toss that part, no big.
Then add a 6-oz. container of plain store-bought yogurt and mix it in really well. Once you have yogurt that you’ve already made, you can add a container of those instead of store-bought yogurt. Which is awesome.
Now pour it into your lovely little yogurt containers that are cute as can be.
Try to divide it up as evenly as possible, and don’t sweat it too much if you spill some.
Transfer them carefully to your yogurt maker, put on the lid, and turn on the yogurt maker.
Yes, so that last part: do not forget to turn on your yogurt maker. It keeps the temperature of your jars just right so the little bit of yogurt you mixed into the PERFECTLY TEMPERATURED milk can turn into a lot of yogurt for you to gobble up. And try not to move or jostle the yogurt maker while it’s culturing. Culturing’s a delicate art. Respect the art.
According to the instructions that came with my yogurt maker, my whole milk yogurt should be in the maker for eight hours. I left it longer one time because we were away from the house, and I actually liked the consistency better. So now I leave it in there for roughly nine hours or so. All that to say, you can’t really mess this part up as long as you let it sit long enough. There’s a big window between “long enough” and “too long.”
When your yogurt is done to your liking, turn off the machine, put the dandy little lids on the jars, and put them in the fridge for at least three hours. They’ll firm up a bit more and be all tasty when you go to eat them. It’ll look something like this. Sometimes mine looks a little more watery on top…don’t pour that out. It’s whey and it’s good for you.
When you’re ready to eat the goods, I recommend mixing in some peach jam or compote, and maybe some granola. Or just mix in leftover peach crisp.
I’m on a peach kick, okay? And they were all organic and home-canned last summer, so stop judging my need for peaches in February…leave me alone, man…
So we just established that this process takes a while. The milk has to heat, then cool, then go in a cooker for at least eight hours. That’s a minimum of a nine hour job.
So here’s my tip. Start it first thing in the morning. Your yogurt will be ready around dinnertime and you can pop it in the fridge while you’re already doing other dinner clean up, and it’ll be ready for the next morning.
Don’t do what I did the first time and start making yogurt at 4pm. Unless you’re regularly up at 2am, it’s less fun that way.
So go get yourself a yogurt maker, or dust yours off, and make. this. happen.