The Phoenix Reporter and Item (http://www.phoenixvillenews.com)

Through My Kitchen Window – Just for Yogurt!


By Davina Weinhold, ThroughMyKitchenWindow@gmail.com, For Journal Register News Service, (Editor’s note: The following first appeared in the Tri

Friday, January 4, 2013

Hmm…2 tubs a week. Times $4 each. Times 4 weeks a month. Equals…yikes! $32 a month. Just for yogurt! There are so many other things I would like to spend that $32 on. But we are voracious yogurt eaters.
We love it in our cereal (my son), our smoothies (my husband), and our cakes (me). Not to mention how great it tastes in homemade ranch dressing, dolloped on top of split pea soup, or in a creamy peanut sauce over chicken.
We love yogurt! And what’s not to love? The probiotics (friendly bacteria) in yogurt help with digestion. And the yogurt making process (culturing) breaks down the lactose in milk. This makes it easier to digest, and more friendly to those with lactose intolerance.
So what are you waiting for? Head to the dairy isle and grab a tub of yogurt. Or a cup? With or without granola on top? Low-fat? Do you want fruit on the bottom? How about whipped? Oh, and your kids want the yogurt with Elmo on the lid.
Hold on…can I make a suggestion? All you really need is 1 cup of whole milk, plain (no sugar added) yogurt. Regular or Greek (thick). Stonyfield works best. And a gallon of milk. And yes, I am going to suggest that you…
Make your own yogurt! It’s not hard. And it’s much cheaper. You just need a few ingredients, a few minutes, and a healthy appreciation of how amazing you are.
Let’s assemble. You need:
2 quarts whole milk
6 Tbs plain yogurt
2 quart canning jars with lids
Saucepan
Kitchen thermometer
Ladle
Several dish towels
A large lunch box or small cooler
Now let’s make yogurt! First run the canning jars, lids, and ladle through the rinse cycle of the dishwasher to insure they are perfectly clean and sterilized.
Heat the 2 quarts of milk in the saucepan to 200°, stirring frequently. Don’t let it boil. Then turn off the stove and cool the milk to 118°. You can put the saucepan in an ice bath if you are in a rush. But if it goes below 118°, you need to reheat!
Put 3 Tbs of yogurt in each canning jar. Pour in the milk. Four Tbs of milk will not fit because of the space taken by the yogurt. Give it to the cat. Screw the lids on tight, and shake well. Wrap the jars in towels, and put them in the lunch box (incubator) for 6 hours. Don’t peek.
The longer you let the yogurt incubate, the thicker it will become. For your first try, I recommend 6 hours, and then experiment from there.
After 6 hours, the yogurt will be a little thinner than what you find in the store. If you like Greek yogurt, strain it through a cheese cloth to thicken. We love mixing in fresh fruit or jelly. It beats fruit-on-the-bottom store bought yogurt any day! Save 6 Tbs of your plain homemade yogurt to make the next batch!
This may seem like a lot of work. But once you get the hang of yogurt making it’s easy, even enjoyable. And think of all the money you’re saving. Or all the fights avoided over the last cup of Elmo yogurt. And don’t forget the benefit to your digestion. It’s worth it. Just for yogurt.