My parents have always been very health conscious ever since I could remember. Not just health conscious, but very frugal and thrifty as well. Yeah, the apple didn't fall far from the tree. So when my parents said they'd cleaned out their kitchen and were bringing over some things they thought I might like, I was intrigued. When they started unloading a juicer, blender, and yogurt maker I was like a kid on Christmas! Woohoo!
Making your own yogurt is super simple, super economical ($1.43 for 24 oz. of yogurt. Savings of $2.55), and you're sure to not have any added sugar, colors, or chemicals. We normally don't eat much dairy, unless it's raw organic cheese for sprinkling on tacos, but yogurt is a great source of probiotics.
In a germ-aphobe society that has "anti-bacterial" scrawled across everything it can be a difficult switch to thinking and embracing the idea that bacteria is not only okay, but necessary! Probiotics are important for everyone, those with any kind of intestinal issues, and especially someone who's GI system has been wiped out by an autoimmune disease.
I had a very cool retro Salton brand yogurt maker to use (seriously...from the 80's), but you don't have to have a yogurt maker to make yogurt. You do, however, have to have a CONSISTENT heat source that stays between 105-112 degrees Fahrenheit for 7-10 hours. Having a steady temperature of around 110 will allow the yogurt to culture. Under a warming pad, in a food dehydrator with the trays removed or temperature adjustable crock-pot would all work wonderfully. If using these heat sources be sure to use plastic lids. Metal lids, like for canning jars, conduct heat and could affect the temperature.You don't want to cook it, just grow some beneficial bacteria.
All you need is:
8-10 glass jars with lids (half pint canning jars with plastic lids)
1 half gallon organic milk (cow's milk. Dairy free won't work this time)
2 heaping tbsp. pre-made Greek yogurt
Bring the milk to a boil in a large saucepan. Boil for a minute then turn off the heat and allow it cool to 110 degrees. My first attempt yielded some runnier yogurt than I prefer. So I did some google research and found in a tutorial here that heating the milk to 189 degrees and keeping it there for 30 minutes will result in thicker yogurt.
Once the milk cools to 110 add in the greek yogurt starter. Stir until it is incorporated. Now pour the milk and yogurt mixture into the glass jars and put the lids on. Place it in your warmer of choice and let it sit undisturbed for 7-10 hours. Cool jars of yogurt in the fridge overnight and in the morning enjoy some homemade Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey and some sliced strawberries on top!