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Yogis Welcome; Yogurt Recipe and Link party

06 June 2010

I saw Martha make some homemade yogurt a few years ago, and I have been wanting to do so ever since.
And now that Etta is eating it, the desire has grown.

Yogurt is a nice was to introduce some calcium, protein and good bacterias into your diet- BUT have you looked at the label?   Quick run frantically to your fridge.   Look real closely at the sugar!  ** I have to say I am not a splenda girl - it gives me headaches and I don't like the after taste so I dont' buy artifically sweetened versions, moving on.  Do you know how much sugar is in Yogurt?  The little single serving I have in my fridge, 27 GRAMS, a can of soda has about 39 that is NOT far off.  (especially considering quantity!)

With these types of thoughts brewing in my mind, while surfing (not on the ocean) the other week, I found a blog, called Common Cents Home.  They  had really great instructions to follow to make homemade yogurt. And I decided to try it out.  It worked.  It was easy... but I wanted a thicker yogurt,  (if you look at the label on yogurt, some of them add gelatin as a thickener....).  This first batch therefore become frozen yogurt *bonus!

Now that I saw how easy it was to make, I really started researching how to make thick yogurt and found a great article about how to make Greek yogurt.  So, I followed Common Cents home to make the yogurt then I followed the instructions from the Greek yogurt article to make the second batch.

Here is how to do it:

Thick Homemade Vanilla Yogurt:
Yields about 2 qts

1/2 gallon milk (I used whole for the baby, this also makes it hecka awesome creamy!)
1 cup plain yogurt with live and active cultures... (most yogurts have active cultures, it will say on the label)
1/2 cup sugar (or a bit less of agave nectar)
1 tsp vanilla

Pour milk, yogurt, sugar and vanilla into large crockpot.   Blend.  On low setting allow the milk to increase in temperature to 120 degrees (maybe my crockpot is slow but this took some time for mine, on low about 90 minutes, I was checking the temp every 10 - 15 minutes and stirring each time).  Meanwhile preheat oven to 175 degrees. When milk has reached 120 degrees pour it into sterilized mason jars (you will need 2 quart jars and one pint jar to save for your starter next time.)  Place mason jars in oven, without the lids, and turn the oven off. Leave jars in the closed oven, completely undisturbed for 8 hours. At the end of eight hours you have yogurt.

***Save the pint jar in your fridge at this point as your next starter.  

The next time you make it, you won't have to buy a new starter you can just use yours!

Now at this point you have rather thin yogurt, if that is what you like stick it all in the fridge and enjoy, if you want something a little closer to heaven follow the next instructions.   BTW if making yogurt seems to scary, you can do these next steps with any yogurt to make it extra creamy!)

Thickening the yogurt steps:

  1. Line a medium to large bowl with cheesecloth, a clean white dishtowel (or I used my white cotton cloth napkins cause I didn't have the other two options... just make sure they are link free, I used a lint roller to be sure)
  2. Dump 2 quarts of the yogurt into the center of the cloth. 
  3. Bring the four corners of the cloth together and lift the yogurt, make sure you have a good hold.
  4. Over the bowl or sink start to twist the load to tighten the cloth around the yogurt and squeeze out the liquid, it will bead through and begin dripping through the cloth.   (this whey which can be a good byproduct if you are into Nourishing Traditions (which is a very interesting book by the way.)
  5. Continue squeezing the yogurt under a bit of pressure to force the liquid out.
  6. When the flow of liquid slows down, tie off the top of the cloth just above the yogurt (so it is still tight) and place in a colander or strainer over a bowl.
  7. Place this bowl containing the colander in your fridge and let it drain for another 2-3 hours.
  8. After draining give the bundle one last squeeze over the sink.  Remove the tie... (this is the tricky part it might be good to have a little help so you don't spill it everywhere) and use a spatula to put the yogurt into a bowl for storage and or to eat right then and there!  It will be about as thick as sour cream. 



Can you believe I didn't get a final picture?  I know.  

I have made this several times now, I even tried it with coconut milk which was to die for!

Okay, time for your links, RECIPES LINKS ONLY PLEASE!


Amy Bowman June 6, 2010 at 9:04 AM  

thanks for hosting! love the idea of making the yogurt thick!! I know of a few dip recipes that you can use greek yogurt instead of sour cream, this would be perfect. thanks for sharing..

Kelli June 6, 2010 at 9:23 AM  

I use my crock pot start to finish to make my yogurt, and I leave it plain and unsweetened so that I can add berries or use in place of mayo with out making multiple batches.
One thing I wanted to let you know, I thicken mine with dried milk, I add about 1 or 1 1/2 cups of dried milk to the initial mixture and it works to thicken it up and still make it creamy. (I tried the gelatin method once just to see, um, not tasty!)

~Kelli @ Smidgens

Holyoke Home June 6, 2010 at 11:41 AM  

Wait. Just wait one stinking minute.

One gallon of organic milk is about $4 and contains 128 fluid ounces +
One 12 ounce Greek Yogurt from Trader Joe's is $3 + I have it for breakfast every morning = I am going to SAVE SOME MONEY!

momto5 June 7, 2010 at 2:37 PM  

I make yogurt weekly, the kids LOVEt to sweetened their own with a small spoonful of jam. Plus it's a great money saver. The recipe I use: 1gallon milk, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 2 cup plain yogurt (breyers or yoplait). heat milk to 180; cool to 120 add sw. condensed milk and yogurt. mix well w/wisk. pour into 4 + wide mouth quart jars. put on lids and rings. set in oven with light on for 8-10 hrs. Cool completely. It's wonderful with granola and fresh fruit!
(more options: for plain but sweeter yogurt add 2 cans sw. condensed milk. add 1/2 tsp clear vanilla flavoring.

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