Tired of paying high prices for yogurt? Interested in being more involved with your own food supply? Sick of tiny containers and lots of artificial ingredients? Don’t have the time for a complicated cooking project?
Try automatic yogurt!
It’s really easy.
All you need is milk of some kind, a spoonful of unsweetened yogurt to use as a culture, and a Thermos style insulated bottle.
The process is simple and even a little fun. Just heat up the milk to just above body temperature, then stir in a spoonful of your favorite plain yogurt. Finally a use for those tiny containers that go on sale at the grocer’s. If you use a microwave to heat the milk, add the culture after you already have it warm.
You can use nonfat dry milk to make yogurt, then you can just use warm tap water to make your milk. Mix it double strength for a really awesome texture.
Then, cap the Thermos tightly and set it in a warm place overnight. I usually use the top of my hot water heater. In the morning, you should have a nice amount of smooth, thick yogurt.
You can add fruit or honey to your new yogurt, mix it into recipes, use it as a substitute for sour cream, or make it into sauces like tzatziki. It can be made into a type of cheese, too, if you drain it for several hours in cheesecloth. Make sure to save the whey for adding to soups or bread.
If you’re looking for a wide mouthed Thermos bottle, it’s best to choose one that’s made of stainless steel. You can use other kinds but plastic holds odors and bacteria a little too well, while steel is easy to sanitize. Here’s a good example for you.
Some people also use a Crock Pot style slow cooker, which is great for when you need large batches, like if you’re making yogurt cheese. Here’s a nice, high quality, low cost example.
If you have an issue with mold, make sure your container is well sanitized with a weak bleach solution. Clean every nook.
If your yogurt won’t set, either your culture (the spoonful of yogurt) is weak, or you killed it with excessive heat or cold. The best temperature is about body tempoerature, maybe a little above.
If your yogurt tastes funny, clean your container.
Almost all problems with yogurt can be corrected by cleanliness, waiting a little longer, or getting the right temperature. The key is to remember that the bacteria that make yogurt are living organisms, and make an ideal environment for them to grow.
(Disclaimer: If you follow the links to Amazon and decide to buy something, I get a small amount from the purchase. There’s no additional cost to you. I looked for the best value for the money and shared that, rather than picking the most expensive thing.)