My dear husband loves yogurt. He will eat 4-6 of the little 6oz containers a day. When I started this new Thrifty thing in my home, I was looking at blogs, and Karrie at HappyMoneySaver.com is my favorite. I noticed a post on making Greek yogurt (http://happymoneysaver.com/homemade-greek-yogurt/ ). So I decided to give it a try.
Because I was having a crazy busy day, I tried to speed up the process, and in turn had a slight scorch taste in the yogurt. It was still good, and my hubby ate it all up. The NEXT day as I was checking facebook, I noticed a post from my friend/cousin Gina. She had made her yogurt in a crock-pot ( http://ourlifesimplified.com/kitchen/all-recipes/homemade-yogurt-in-a-crockpot/). So I just kinda worked out a recipe that works for me, combining the two. You will need a heavy duty crock-pot about 6 quarts, preferably with the inside removable from the heating element, and a bath towel.
In my nice heavy duty crock-pot, I poured 1 gallon of milk, heating it for 2-2½ hours on high. You need to remember to remove ½-1 cup or so of milk from the gallon, (or do like I do, and swipe the milk out of your frig later because you forgot). Turn on oven light and remove the yogurt starter from the frig.
After your milk has heated, remove the crock-pot from heating element, and place on the counter to cool. Since I am me, I put 4 veggie cans (of the same size) on my counter and placed the crock on them. I also had a small fan on my counter, so it was blowing on the crock. I don’t know if this makes any difference or not, but I felt better about using it. Combine the yogurt starter and the reserved milk. Whisk until smooth. After the milk has cooled to 100°, remove any skim on the milk. If you want to add some instant powdered milk at this point, it will make the yogurt a bit thicker. I add 1-2 cups of powdered milk. Now add the starter mixture, and immediately put the lid on the crock, wrap in the heavy towel, and place in your oven. Do not turn the oven on, the only heat used is the heat of the oven light. Leave in oven, with light on, overnight or about 16 hours. .
Congratulations, you have yogurt. Don’t forget to save about ½ cup of yogurt to use as your next starter. Now comes part of the fun.
To make Greek yogurt you will need a colander, a bowl to fit underneath with a large area for the whey to drain, and some cheesecloth or a kitchen tea towel. I always wet the cheesecloth first, place it in the colander over the bowl and pour a bunch of your raw yogurt onto the cheesecloth. Pour the yogurt into the cheesecloth. You will be so surprised how much whey comes out of the yogurt. Just watch the yogurt until you get it to your favored consistency. I like honey & vanilla for my Greek yogurt.
To make flavored yogurt, add flavoring. My husband likes two types of yogurt, Strawberry-banana & Pina Colada.
I pull off the amount I want to flavor into a mixing bowl. Then I add some flavor extracts and fruit bits. When strawberries are on sale, I will buy some, puree them, and freeze them in ½ cup containers (or muffin pan). So I add some puree, strawberry jam, extracts, and sweetener. In my opinion, Banana bits need to be added right before consumption. For the other, I add some crushed pineapple, coconut shreds (I found some frozen ones which have not been dried), extracts, and sweetener. Adding the pineapple juice makes it quite thin, so I will add some firm greek yogurt I started earlier in the day. This brings it back to a normal consistency. (Pineapple extract was hard to find, but I ordered some off Amazon.)
Here are my results. Off one batch of yogurt I had 4 pints of each of the two flavors, and some Greek yogurt for me, about 1 pint or so. Even buying the yogurts in quarts, Greek yogurts range from about $5-$4 per quart. Just for the 8 pints I made that would be at least $16. I got the milk for $2.40. If this is a first batch, the plain Greek Yogurt will cost another 75 cents. That would be $3.15 for a batch. Huge money saver.
There are many uses for whey, I just haven’t played with them yet. This is a link I found after typing whey into the search bar on Pintrest. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/53058101834941053/
I did pull up a post for most of the whey uses I found, for your enjoyment.
Happy CREAMY Thrifty Day, Pegi
Homemade Greek Yogurt
In a large crockpot heat
1 gallon of milk, remove ½ cup of milk
for at least 2 hours on high. Remove your crock pot from heating element, and let the milk cool to 100°. In a small bowl, combine the reserved milk with
yogurt starter (a plain, active live culture Greek yogurt from store, or some of your last batch)
Set aside. When the yogurt has cooled to 100°(remove any milk skim which might have formed). to make your yogurt thicker, you can add
1-2 cups instant powdered milk
and whisk the milks until smooth. Add and whisk in the starter mixture. Immediately put the lid on the crock, wrap in a heavy towel, and place in your oven. Oven light is on, this is the only heat used. Leave in oven about 16 hours. The next day, you will have some raw yogurt. Remove ½ cup of yogurt and place it in an airtight container and store in your refrigerator until you make your next batch.
To make a Greek yogurt, find a colander and a bowl to fit underneath. Cut a square of cheesecloth to fit inside the bowl with at least corners sticking out (I like to wet and squeeze the cheesecloth first). Pour the raw yogurt into the colander, and leave it there for a while to drip out the whey.
To flavor, use extracts, fruit bits, jam, & sweetener. Make what you enjoy, or your husband enjoys.