Homemade Yogurt

The time has come for you and I to have a very serious talk about yogurt... an intervention, if you will. Awww, now don't be scared, I'll be gentle about it. The first thing we need to talk about is that you MUST incorporate yogurt into your diet, there are so many ways to do it and have you looked at the research concerning yogurt lately? It is some phenomenal stuff! According to WebMD, the live cultures found in yogurt improve digestion and increase immune function. Basically, those good little bugs in yogurt get into our bodies and wage a war on the bad bugs. In addition to the cultures, yogurt is an excellent example of a dairy product that provides calcium, protein, Vitamin D as well as Vitamins B-2 and B-12. Diets that include adequate amounts of dairy products result in improved weight loss and weight control. I'm obviously not a doctor, but these all sound like really important health benefits to me. Use it instead of milk in your cereal, make fruit smoothies (like I do), or stir in some berries or granola and eat a bowl full.

So, what are you waiting for? Yogurt, yogurt, yogurt! Ok, so it's expensive... I know. But I'm going to give you a solution to that! Yogurt is one of the easiest things to make.

Homemade Yogurt Recipe
1 Gallon of milk (I use nonfat, but higher fat milks will result in creamier yogurt)
1 (6 or 8 oz) cup of commercially manufactured plain or vanilla yogurt with live and active cultures

Pour milk and yogurt into large crockpot. On low setting allow the milk to increase in temperature to 120 degrees. Meanwhile preheat oven to 275 degrees. When milk has reached 120 degrees pour it into sterilized mason jars (you will need 4 quart jars and one pint jar.) 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.

To make Vanilla flavored yogurt: Add 1 cup of sugar and 1 tbs vanilla to milk mixture while in crockpot. Proceed  with directions as normal.

For the price of one gallon of milk and one carton of yogurt you are making 17 cups of homemade yogurt. Assuming you were to buy your yogurt on sale for 50 cents a cup (which is a really good sale) at the grocery store, you would be spending  $8.50 on 17 cups of yogurt. Homemade yogurt costs approximately $3 to make 17 cups and you have eliminated High Fructose Corn Syrup and won't be adding 17 little yogurt cups to the landfills. Simple, Economical and Environmental!

After making your first batch of yogurt, you can use your own yogurt as the starter rather than buying commercial yogurt each time. Just hold out a cup of homemade yogurt and add it to your gallon of milk.

Now, before I wrap up this "yogurt intervention," there is one more yogurt related topic I must address. Stop wasting your money on expensive yogurts that claim to improve digestion! ALL yogurt with live and active cultures (including homemade yogurt) will have the same effect on your health. In fact, a class action law suite is currently being fought against large yogurt producers who make claims that their particular yogurt will improve your life like a magic bullet. They don't have the scientific evidence to back up these claims. It was a brilliant marketing ploy to convince us that one type of yogurt would make all of our health woes disappear... but the truth is, you don't need the expensive brands to get the results! (This is my opinion based upon the research and reading I have done. I am not a medical professional or a scientist... but I implore you, if you are spending excessive money on these yogurts, do some research about the claims.)


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