While I think commercial yogurt is a fairly safe and natural product, I do think it is one of those things that are cheaper to make yourself. Right now, in our area, milk is less than $2 a gallon. I don’t want to think about why that is, or how that is affecting farmers. I will just use lots of milk. See this previous blog if you are lactose intolerant. My husband does not like skim, but I use it for cooking, so the yogurt is fat free. My daughter gave me a yogurt maker for Christmas:
While you don’t need one to make yogurt, I have to say it makes the whole process easy and fool proof. From the booklet that came with it, I learned a few things to make better yogurt. First, boil the milk. For some reason, this makes the yogurt thicker. If you have a large pyrex measuring cup-It will make doing so very easy, add the milk and nuke for about 10 minutes, till the milk climbs up the sides. I also add some powdered milk, to increase the nutritional content. Let it cool to 115-120, I use my meat thermometer to test, add some commercial yogurt, stir, and put in clean jars, either the ones from the yogurt maker or you can use canning jars and then put in a cooler with hot water, or in your oven, with the pilot light on. You just need some way to keep it very warm for 7-12 hours.
Can we all get past the romance with greek yogurt? It is simply yogurt with the whey drained off. No additional protein is added to it, it just has less water. You can do this yourself, either with store bought or your own homemade.With your own, you need a paper towel to prevent the yogurt from going through the holes. This is how much whey comes off.Greek yogurt is more expensive, since it has less water, it takes more milk to make the same 8 ounces. Making your own would definitely be advantageous.
The yogurt can then be used to make healthier alternatives for many higher fat dairy products. You can use it in place of sour cream. I am now experimenting with making yogurt cheese, to replace cream cheese. To make yogurt cheese, you fold the paper towel over the top, and put some weight on it, to squeeze even more liquid out. If you are feeling very thrifty, you can save the whey and use it in your bread recipes, in place of some of the water. Why does have some protein, but it is mostly water.
This is not a time saving activity. While it only takes about 15 minutes to prepare, you do have to wait for it to cool off. I would just let it ferment overnight, putting it in the fridge in the morning. It isn’t difficult, but I can understand if people don’t want to spend the time.