Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Homemade

I like to made things from scratch. Homemade is generally tastier and most certainly healthier and almost always less expensive. Plus it's fun!! Lately I've been making homemade yogurt. It's easy and much yummier than store bought and doesn't have a lot of things in it that I can't pronounce :0)!! I had made yogurt on and off for a couple of years in small batches just for fun - but when I recently figured out how much making it at home impacted the budget I got busy and made this a part of my regular routine. This is what I do:

I start with a gallon of milk, a bit of sugar and some vanilla (a rounded 1/4 cup of sugar and 4 tbls. and 4 teas. of vanilla). I'm sure other sweeteners can be used - this is just what I have on hand right now. I messed with the amounts until we liked it - it's just a matter of preference.
Then I scald the milk (with the sugar and vanilla added) to about 180* F. It's really until right below boiling. It takes about 20 minutes - this is when I can get help with the stirring - don't want it to stick to the pan - it's kind of a mess to clean if it does :0).
Then I let the milk cool down to about 115*F. That's pretty much just warm to the touch. This is when I add my yogurt cultures. I sometimes use yogurt that I made from last batch or I use whatever is on sale at the grocery store. (If you use yogurt made from home you can only use that a few times before you need to renew with store bought). I sometimes use vanilla flavored yogurt from the store as that's just free flavoring - but whatever I use must be on sale :0)!!
Oh yeah, I add about 3 - 4 tablespoons of yogurt per quart so that's about 12 - 16 tablespoons per gallon of milk. I stir that in with my whisk really well.
I pour the cultured, flavored milk into very clean, warm canning jars and set them carefully into my ice chest.
I surround the jars of milk with other canning jars filled with VERY warm water (I use about 6 jars half filled with hot tap water and the other half filled with hot tea kettle water) I leave everything alone for about 4 hours and then change that water for more hot stuff.
After about 8 hours it's time to take the jars out and put them in the fridge. Another thing about yogurt: it doesn't like to be disturbed so if you like thick yogurt - don't stir it - it doesn't like that - it will surely be runnier after it is disturbed.
And - Ta Dum - fresh yummy homemade yogurt. Really - all in all - it's about 20 - 30 minutes of work to get 4 quarts of this delicious stuff. I did some rough math when I started this and for where we live it's about 75 cents a quart to make at home - that saves me about 14 dollars a week on my grocery bill.
One thing though, all my yogurt making is laced with one very important ingredient. I cover it all with lots of prayer :0)!! I really don't want a gallon of milk to go to waste and since this involves the mysterious growing of bacteria to make it work I somewhat feel that a lot of yogurt making isn't really in my control. So, I just pray over it every time - it may seem strange to pray over something like this - but I believe God understands my desire to do something healthy for my family and to honor my husband's hard work by trying to reduce the bills where I can. And guess what - God answers these simple prayers of mine. A couple of times I have made mistakes in the process (like this week's batch - where I was so tired at the end of the day I forgot to put the yogurt in the fridge and jumped up this morning, like a shot, remembering) and every time my yogurt has turned out fine!!
We eat this in smoothies and for lunches or breakfasts with fruit on top. Everyone loves it and we definitely go though all four quarts in a week - I think if I made more it would get eaten up just as quick :0)!!
Blessings,
Christine


5 comments:

Simply Stork said...

a ha! I have had your yogurt and it is so good...I am glad you finally blogged me the recipe :o) I'm gonna give this a go.

~simply~

dayz in and dayz out... said...

I'm having "whey" problems. To much start? 8 hours to long? To much peekin'? I need to play more with it. Not as creamy as yours.
Yummy just the same!
Thanks for sharing this! I'll keep working on it.

* *
/ dayz
-

Cinnamon said...

I love the "idea" of making yogurt but that may have to be put on my to do list as my kitchen and entry room are overflowing with extra things just taking up space. I will definitely try this...one day :-)

~Cinnamon

Ross' Cottage said...

Hi There,
I know I know it's been a while! I am in recovery mode right now. I finally felt up to looking around the computer for a little bit. You know what is funny? When Dayz made your yogurt recipe she shared some with me, with granola on top. This was before my surgery. The week and a half before surgery I had to take antibiotics, then the day before had to do a system clean out and then was throwing up in the hosptital for 2 days after my surgery. I ended up craving having some of this homemade yogurt! I only had it the one day at school! My body is probably depleted from all the stress and medicine and knows what it needs! I am still wanting some and when I am better plan to make myself some.
I am missing everyone. Recovery has had some challenges that I did not expect...putting them to prayer daily.

Cinnamon said...

Only a few years later....but today I'm making yogurt! It smells yummy already. I do have a question though. You said you put the jars in the cooler for 4 hrs then you refill with hot water...then after 8 hours it's done. My question is....is that 8 hr total or 4 hrs then refill with hot water then 8 more hours?

Thank you thank you thank you for sharing this recipe!

~Cinnamon