Save some plastic, yo(gurt)!

I’m a big fan of yogurt, but not, obviously, a fan of plastic. I try to buy the large cartons of plain yogurt (my favorites are Nancy’s Organic, followed by Clover) and flavor them myself with fruit, honey, jam, etc, but occasionally I get sucked in by fun flavors (pink grapefruit! vanilla bean! Bartlett pear!) and buy the individual containers. Bad Green Girl! Must stop this behavior!

I made homemade yogurt once before with my friends Sophie and Jen, allowing it to sit overnight in a warm water bath. However, I don’t quite have the cooking and scientific skills of Sophie, so I decided a yogurt maker might be my best bet. Inspired by this post on 101 Cookbooks, I ordered a Salton yogurt maker, picked up some organic milk (1 quart), some plain organic yogurt (you need 1/2 cup), and a thermometer, and set to work!

Here’s how to do it! It’s super easy, and how cool is it to say you made your own yogurt?

I started with a quart of Clover Organic 1% milk (I generally buy Straus milk, since it comes in glass bottles (love!), but Sophie had mentioned that it makes a runnier yogurt. While I love Straus milk, I do find their yogurt to be a little thin for me. Plus, my friend Jen knew some of the Clover-Stornetta folks growing up – they shared farmland – and says they’re good people. Plus, they’re local! God, I love Northern California).

Pour the milk into a saucepan, and heat to approximately 170 degrees, measuring with a thermometer. Do not let the milk boil (you can see in this image I may have let it bubble a bit too much).

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Let the milk cool to approximately 110 degrees. This will take a little while, so be patient! While it is cooling, plug in your yogurt maker and allow it to preheat.

Once milk has cooled, add a little bit of it to your 1/2 cup of plain yogurt (I used Nancy’s Organic nonfat). Then mix the yogurt/milk mixture back in with the rest of the milk. I skipped the step of adding powdered milk, because I used 1% which already contained it, but I might try it next time (see notes at end). Then, pour into the preheated yogurt maker (anyone else thinks this thing looks like R2-D2?). You can see that I saved a large yogurt container to pour the finished good into!

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Leave milk in yogurt maker for 4-8 hours, depending on the consistency you are looking for. According to the instructions that came with the maker, a longer time will make for a tarter yogurt. I intended to leave the yogurt overnight for 8 hours, but happened to wake up at 4am (I placed the milk in the maker at around 10pm) and it looked pretty yogurty at this point, so I unplugged and refrigerated. There was a bit of a yellow liquid on top from the milk, but I poured this off.

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And that’s it! Refrigerate the yogurt for a few hours after it is finished, and enjoy with your favorite toppings! I love jam, frozen (defrosted) berries, honey, chopped apples, etc. So far, I’ve had it once with honey, and twice with strawberry jam. Yum!

Notes: The yogurt has a delicious flavor, but came out a bit lumpy. I am going to play around with different starters, types of milk, time in the maker, and adding powdered milk. I may also try straining the finished product with cheesecloth to make a thicker, Greek-style yogurt, which I love. All in all the yogurt tastes great, and I saved plastic! The maker is obviously made of plastic, but I’ll use it many, many times instead of buying a new plastic carton of yogurt! Does anyone with experience making yogurt have any tips about the lumps?

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7 Comments

Filed under Recipes, Uncategorized

7 responses to “Save some plastic, yo(gurt)!

  1. jaime

    Please, please, let me know when you’ve figured the homemade greek yogurt thing out- I love greek yogurt but would prefer a homemade, lower fat version!

  2. haha, i feel like a blog stalker, but i had to jump in here, too. i also make my own yogurt!!! regular and greek (i’ve got the improv yogurt-maker-free process on my blog). and cheese! (i just posted about the cheese yesterday actually).
    my yogurt is often lumpy, too, but a quick whisk takes care of that in seconds. AND the yellow liquid on top is whey and full of good nutrition. i save it and use it later for cooking grains (i.e. in my crockpot oatmeal, etc). again, LOVE your blog!

  3. janeterin

    You’re not a stalker – I love it! Ooh I’m super excited to check out your posts. That sounds awesome. And I never thought to whisk it – you’re a genius! I bought some powdered milk (in bulk of course) to try to add to my next batch. And saving the whey? Wow, you have so many good ideas. Love it!

  4. skyler

    So, you need yogurt to make yogurt? Is it like sourdough? =)

  5. janeterin

    Ha, yeah pretty much! You can also buy the cultures, I think, but it’s easier to just buy a little yogurt, or use some from your last batch.

    Hi Skyler! 🙂

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