Yogurt- The Superfood…or a super tasty treat

I make yogurt. I eat yogurt. I like yogurt. Yogurt is good for me and good for you. Let’s all eat yogurt. Yogurt is expensive. The yogurt container is empty all too soon. My spoon is lonely. The good news: yogurt is very, very easy to make. And eat. And make again…

**Please note that this recipe is for plain yogurt (read tangy and without added sugar), if you like greek yogurt, please read until the very end : )

Step one: Locate tools and materials.

  • 2 wide-mouth pint canning jars (Ball or Mason work just fine) with flats and rims (aka lids)
  • a simple thermometer (mine reads from 0-220 F)
  • a clean hand towel from your kitchen
  • a pie tin, pan or a cookie sheet (not necessary, but helps a bit)
  • milk (I use 2%; 1% or skim could be used for a low or non-fat version)
  • a spoonful of yogurt from your store-bought container: must contain live active cultures
  • an oven with a light

Step two: Pour milk into said glass jars until almost full. Place in microwave and heat until the milk reaches 180 F. This is the trickiest part of the whole gig. The first time I set the microwave to 15 minutes and walked away only to return to spilt, bubbly milk all over the inside of the microwave. Sad. Try 7-10 minutes the first time and keep an eye on it. Pull a jar out and test the temp with your handy thermometer (the jar may be very hot!). Once the milk reaches 180 F you are ready to roll.Step three: Remove the jars of hot milk from the microwave and place them on the counter. Walk away. Allow them to cool until they reach 110-115 F. This should take about a half an hour. If a skin forms on the top of the milk, skim it off and throw it away.

Step four: Place the spoonful of store-bought yogurt in a small dish, add a few spoonfuls of the warm milk. Stir to combine. Add half of this mixture to each jar. Stir to combine. Place lids on the jars and tighten. Wrap in the hand towel and place in the pie tin.

Step five: Preheat your oven for one minute (doesn’t matter what temp, it’s just to take the chill out). Turn oven off. Turn oven light on. Place the wrapped yogurt/pie tin package in the oven. Close the door and walk away. Go to bed (this is my favorite part about yogurt making : ). (Okay, the jars need to stay in the oven for 6-8 hours or so…) In the morning take your jars full of yogurt out of the oven and place them in the fridge. Chill and enjoy.

Greek Yogurt: Line a sieve or colander with a clean (boiled) white handkerchief, a few layers of cheesecloth, or a coffee filter. Scrape the yogurt into the colander and allow to drain over a bowl for 1-2 hours on the counter. Once it has reached the desired thickness, place back in the jar and put in fridge.

Yogurt Cheese: Strain a bit longer than greek yogurt. Or start the straining process and place in fridge to let strain for several hours. Can be used in place of sour cream and mayo; spices and herbs can be mixed in to make a tasty low-fat spread or dip.

Tips and Tricks: **I do not like to buy yogurt from the store every time I want to make yogurt. Therefore, I fill each spot in an ice-cube tray with a spoonful of store yogurt. When frozen I put into a quart size freezer bag. Each time I want to make yogurt, I begin by removing one frozen yogurt “puck” and placing it in a small bowl before I heat the milk. This allows the yogurt plenty of time to thaw before I mix it with the warm milk. **If your oven does not have a light, try placing the wrapped jars in a crock-pot on the warm setting.

Try spooning the yogurt over some granola, topping with fresh or dried fruit and some mint leaves and drizzling with honey. Or mixing with fruit and honey and freezing for a cold, tasty treat. The good news is yogurt is good for you! And oh so tasty… My spoon is happy!