Thursday, February 11, 2010

Homemade yogurt

After seeing a couple of movies that made me rethink how I want to buy groceries, I started to think about the possibility of making my own yogurt. The yogurt I love most, Fage and Siggi’s, is very expensive. While typical yogurt may or may not be cost effective to make at home given the cost of the machine, for Greek-type yogurt, I think it will be cheaper in the long run. Especially now, when River can easily eat an 8 oz container a day and so can I.

After much research and thought, I bought a Yogourmet, which arrived the other day. Over the weekend, I made my first batch. It wasn’t all that hard. You boil milk, let it cool, stick it in the yogurt maker for a few hours, stick it in the fridge overnight, then strain it if you want a thicker variety (as I do). The only thing that’s a bit inconvenient is you really have to be around the house for at least two hours and you can’t forget about it, because it needs to be boiled to a precise point, then cooled to a precise point before putting it in the maker. Some people have found shortcuts – like microwaving the milk instead of heating it on the stove. Perhaps with time I’ll figure some of these tricks out.

I used Fage as my starter, used a half gallon of 2% milk, and when the yogurt was finished, I took out about half a cup to use as the starter next time. It cost me $2.25 to buy the little cup of Fage at the expensive local health food store. But people tell me that as long as I put aside a little part of each batch, I won’t have to buy any more yogurt or starters.

My instruction book says that they whey that drains out when I make the thicker Greek version has a lot of vitamins in it. So I hang on to that and mix it with River’s milk. He doesn’t seem to notice and I’m glad to give him the vitamins and not let any of the expensive grass-fed milk go to waste.

The one thing that is not very convenient is that my current straining device (a coffee filter) is not very big and only strains a cup or so of yogurt at a time. I’d love to be able to strain the whole batch at once. So I’m still working on that challenge.

The jury is still out on whether or not this process becomes burdensome over time or even on exactly how much I’m saving. I’m definitely saving the waste of all those plastic yogurt containers I used to buy. I like knowing that the milk is from grass-fed cows and there is nothing in there besides milk. And to a certain extent, I like the challenge of finding the right texture and process that gives me just what I’m looking for.

1 comment:

Lainey Wright said...

Are you still using this regularly? -getting good results?