I’ve been making my own yogurt for the past couple of years. Not only is it much tastier than store-bought yogurt, but it’s also much cheaper. At my local supermarket, an 8-ounce container of yogurt costs $1. That adds up to $16 per gallon. At the same supermarket, one gallon of low-fat organic milk costs $4.
Since I’m a believer in the power of probiotics (i.e. bacteria is good for your immune system), I usually eat three cups of home-made yogurt a day. That translates to a savings of $2.25 per day, or $67.50 per month — which means my $89 Waring Pro YM350 yogurt maker paid for itself in just a few months. Even if you don’t eat as much yogurt as I do, I recommend you try making it yourself. It’s so easy, and even fun.
1. Pour 4-6 cups of low fat milk into a microwave-proof glass bowl, and heat it until the milk begins to boil. (Boiling changes the milk’s composition so it will solidify when mixed with the starter culture.) If a skin forms on top of the milk, that’s a good sign you boiled it long enough.
2. Let the milk cool to the point where you can tolerate holding your hand against the bowl. Remove and discard the milk skin. Add one tablespoon of your previous batch of yogurt (or plain store-bought yogurt if you’re just starting out), and mix together with a whisk. Do NOT add more starter yogurt to the mix in an attempt to speed up the process. Paradoxically, it will only slow down the fermentation (I’ve read that too much starter crowds out the bacteria from doing its job).
3. Pour the yogurt into 8- or 16-ounce containers. Do NOT put on the lids yet. If you have an older-style oven with a pilot light, you can stick the glass jars in there and allow the warm oven to act as an incubator. Otherwise, use the yogurt maker or a seed-starter warming pad to ferment the milk into yogurt.
4. Wait 8-10 hours, then screw the lids onto the jars and place them in the refrigerator.
Tip: I like to mix my yogurt with nuts, blueberries, and honey from my beehive. My kids love yogurt, banana, and berry smoothies.