Homemade Yogurt: So Easy It’s Scary

Yogurt from the supermarket isn’t good for you. There–I’ve said it. I know what the commercials on television say. Jamie Lee Curtis swears by Dannon yogurt fixing all her digestive woes. These live cultures will boost your immune system and make you live longer. It’s the fountain of youth in an individual serving size cup! (Note the sarcasm.)

Trust me, I’ll be the first to tell you that probiotics (those ‘live cultures’ in yogurt) are indeed fantastic for your health and you would do well to consume more of them (albeit in naturally fermented & cultured foods). But let’s take a look at what else is found in those cute little yogurt cups.

  • Cornstarch
  • Gluten
  • Aspartame
  • Fructose
  • Pectin
  • Gelatin
  • Mineral Compounds

(Check out the proof here and read how they squirm out a justification for those nasty ingredients! I think we can all agree that aspartame isn’t natural or healthy in the least!)

Store Bought Yogurt is Not the Fountain of Life

Hot dang. That doesn’t sound much like yogurt to me anymore at all. Not only will all those nasty chemical colorings, flavorings, and preservatives build up toxicity in your body and contribute to things like ADD/ADHD and even cancer, but the ‘live & active cultures’ they so boldly tout on their label have been sitting on the shelf for who knows how long and have most likely lost any oomph they had to begin with.

On the other hand, natural full-fat yogurt from raw dairy from grass-fed cows that’s been allowed plenty of time to ferment will do wonders for your body:

  • Great source of protein
  • Rich in B vitamins
  • High in cancer fighting, weight loss promoting conjugated linoleic acid
  • Probiotic benefits to strengthen the immune system

You don’t necessarily have to make your own (although, as my Dutch friend who taught me says–”It’s so easy it’s scary!” Instructions are below). But there are quite a few things to keep in mind as you head off to the store. My blogger friend Butter Believer offers a fantastic list of the spectrum you should follow when you can’t get raw milk of your own. She mentions yogurt and butter (naturally) and outlines the best and next-best options. Read the whole post here. For the reader’s digest version, know that even if the yogurt has been pasteurized, look for organic, non-homogenized (cream on top) yogurt and you’ll still be getting lots of benefits.

If you have access to raw milk, what are you waiting for?! Pull the tailgating cooler out of the closet and pick up a hot water bottle from the store if you don’t already have one. (Make it a double-duty purchase by nixing the heated mattress pad with its electromagnetic field.) If you can’t get raw milk, just make sure you have organic, non-homogenized (NOT ultra heat treated) milk.

Homemade Yogurt

Equipment Needed:

2 liters milk
2-3 Tbsp. starter yogurt (this is just yogurt from your last batch. If this is your first time, get some starter yogurt from a friend or buy a small container of natural yogurt using the guidelines above that is made with live cultures)
Large saucepan or stock pot
Thermometer
Insulated cooler
Old pillow or blanket
Hot water bottle
Clean glass containers with lids for yogurt

Instructions:

Pour milk into saucepan and heat gently to about 110 F / 43 C.

Pour Milk in Pot & Heat Gently

Fill the kitchen sink with cold water and set the saucepan inside. Cool the milk slightly.

On it's way to becoming yogurt!

Stir in starter yogurt.

Stir in Starter Yogurt

Fill glass containers and put on the lid.

Fill Glass Containers

Fill the hot water bottle with hot water and place it in the bottom of the cooler. Set your containers on top, then cover it all with the pillow. Read your yogurt a good night story (optional), then place the lid back on the cooler.

Tuck in Your Yogurt for the Night

Leave it for at least 7 hours. Some people suggest letting it ferment for at least 24 hours. Then move it to the fridge.

Bam. You have yogurt. And it’s delicious! My favorite way to eat it is in a big bowl with all kinds of chopped fruit (bananas, apples, pears, kiwifruit, berries), chia seeds, sunflower seeds, raisins, walnuts, almonds, etc., etc. Talk about a breakfast to look forward to in the morning!

Yogurt with Fruit & Chia Seeds

It’s also great in smoothies or when baking cakes and muffins.

Do you make your own yogurt? What’s your favorite way to eat yogurt? 

This post is linked to Monday Mania, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Flu Fighting Foods, Probiotic Food Challenge