I have always confessed a love for yogurt, with my favorite being plain yogurt with fresh berries. My husband and I used to love a swig or two back in the day,and this seems to have rubbed off on the kids over time. For much of the last 10 years,I have peddled packets of this stuff from the store to the house,and the experience has always been amazing.
A shot of epiphany
It so happened just over two years ago, one of my friends came over with a cup of her own brew. I did take a little mouthful,and I noticed that the taste and flavor were way different from what I had become used to. It was a little tangy, a little soft, caressing my tongue and tickling the best out of my buds. It was only when we sat down that Kayla told me that her version of yogurt was homemade, and the reason she went out of her way was because the product was natural and highly nutritional.
This revelation piqued my interest,and I have never looked back ever since. For the last 18 months, I have tinkered with all manner of recipes for homemade yogurt, and even though the road has been a little longer than expected, my final product is now flawless and off the top drawer.
Benefits of Making Yogurt at Home Instead of Buying
Commercial yogurts have added ingredients such as preservatives, artificial sweeteners, corn syrup, gelatin and artificial dyes. All these ingredients are not exactly good for your body but are absent in a home-made yogurt because you can control what goes in there.
Commercial yogurts also do not have fresh active bacteria necessary to kill bad viruses and help with digestion. After sitting on the store shelves for days, they lose the active bacteria and become heavy and cold. This heaviness will make the product hard to digest and can even cause weight gain.
Oh, and the reduced cost doesn’t hurt, either.
Here is how to make homemade yogurt with blueberries and strawberries
To make really thick and creamy yogurt, all you need is;
- Two heavy pots with a lid
- Half a gallon of whole milk. Any type of milk will do but I prefer whole milk so my yogurt can be extra thick. The Kids love this one too.
- Sugar, maple syrup and blueberries/strawberries for flavor (If you are a fan of chocolate, can add cocoa as well. It tastes absolutely delicious).
- Half a cup plain yogurt. The commercial yogurt must contain Live Active Cultures and be unflavored. It’s really important to buy yogurt that has these Live Cultures and the more the better.
- A thermometer will help you get the exact temperature milk should boil.
- A spatula is needed to stir.
This list is not exhaustive. You can modify and tinker with the ingredients of your homemade yogurt recipe as you see fit.
Homemade Yogurt Recipe
1. Boiling the milk.
Place the two pots inside each other and pour the milk in the inner pot. Using two pots ensures the milk does not heat too fast and burn. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar (For a healthier but still sweet mix, you can go with honey instead of sugar). Add two tablespoons of cocoa powder if you want to make chocolate yogurt. Let the milk heat up to 200 F(93.3C). If you don’t have a thermometer, this is the point just before the milk boils and it looks frothy at that time.
2. Cool It
Take the inside pot out and place it in a basin of cold water. This will allow the milk to cool fast without forming cream on top. Let it cool until its baby warm and stir every once in a while. The ideal warmth should be about 110 F(43.3C). Remove the pot from the basin.
3. Warm the culturing Yogurt
I usually add some of the hot milk into my culturing yogurt and mix it well before pouring it in the milk. Doing this ensures the yogurt is warm and thinner which makes it easy to blend with the milk. Whisk the yogurt and milk mixture thoroughly until it’s smooth. Tightly cover the pot with the lid.
If you don’t have a yogurt maker, there is no need to worry. Now that I have an oven I usually pre-heat it and then turn it off. The temperature therein is enough to incubate my yogurt for at least 2 hours if I don’t keep opening it. Every two hours I turn the oven on for 5 minutes and turn it off again. Before I bought the oven, I would place my yogurt pot in a bowl of hot water and replace the water every two hours. Some people also use a rice cooker and set it on warm or place the pot in a warm car or sunny window. However, it’s important to ensure the temperature of the yogurt remains below 120 F(48.9C) and above 90 F(32.2C).
The incubation period should be at least 4 hours but the longer the better. Let the yogurt sit undisturbed for four good hours and check the consistency after that.
5. Cool the yogurt
Remove the yogurt from the incubator after your preferred time and let it cool. Whisk it thoroughly and transfer the contents to a plastic container. Cover the container and refrigerate immediately to ensure fermentation stops. The yogurt should stay in the fridge for at least six hours before use. Always keep the yogurt covered and eat it within a week or two. If the yogurt smells or tastes funny, get rid of it immediately, because that right there is poison beckoning.
The yogurt is already sweet because of the sugar you added in the milk. However, if you are wondering how to make your own yogurt yummy, add more honey or vanilla or strawberry essence and some fresh fruits like strawberries and blueberries. Sprinkle some nuts or coconut shavings on top of the yogurt when you serve to make it more attractive and tastier.
Homemade yogurt lacks all the artificial ingredients and machinery required to make it as smooth and thick as the commercial type. However, you can make your yogurt thicker by letting it incubate for a long period at the correct temperature(the rule of the thumb here is to go up to 114.8 F/46C for a real thick result). Anywhere between 8 to 10 hours will do. Additionally, strain out most of the whey after removing the pot from the oven instead of whisking it in. Put the yogurt directly in the freezer for two hours to cool and then place it back in the fridge.
Making yogurt at home enables you to try several methods and ingredients until you get the perfect flavor and consistency. It’s also really fun when you can do it with the kids as a family and enjoy the results later. Yogurt enhances healthy digestion, strengthens bones, lowers the risk of blood pressure and boost our immunity. It’s also great when it comes to lowering blood pressure and losing a bit of weight.