Have you heard of all the great benefits of eating yogurt daily? It replenishes the good bacteria in your gut and helps your body in so many ways. Look here at all the benefits of probiotics (which are found in yogurt) according to Dr. Axe:
- boosting immune system
- preventing and treating urinary tract infections
- improving digestive function
- healing inflammatory bowel conditions like IBS
- managing and preventing eczema in children
- fighting food-borne illnesses
Well, since we have 7 children, it would get pretty expensive to be buying yogurt for everyone to eat, but by making it myself, it is the same cost as the milk it takes to make it. Plus, some store brands have some nasty additives to make it thicker or more tasty, but this is just plain old milk and good bacteria!
Yogurt is really SO easy to make. Really. It’s a long slow process, but your involvement in it is very minimal. And people always act amazed when they find out I make it myself – apparently it puts me in some kind of new category that creates a sense of awe.
“You make yogurt!!!??? Yourself???!!!”
This recipe is for plain yogurt, but after it’s finished, you can easily add in some berries or peaches, jam, vanilla extract, or sweetener of some type if you’re looking for a sweet yogurt. We eat it plain here, but I admit it is an acquired taste – very tangy and sour at first taste. Homemade yogurt is a thinner consistency than most store bought yogurt, but we’ve adapted fine to it. Our favorite way to eat it is to slice a banana into a bowl, add yogurt, and then top with crushed, roasted almonds. It’s almost like dessert for breakfast. Yum!
Anyway, here you go. (You need a 3 ½ – 4 quart slow cooker and a candy thermometer, milk and ½ cup plain yogurt with live active cultures).
- First, pour milk into your crock until its about ¾ full. Exact measurements don’t matter here. Put the lid on, turn to low, and set your oven timer for 2 ½ hours. Walk away.
- When your 2 1/2 hours has passed, remove the lid, turn off your slow cooker, and set your timer for 1 hour, 20 mins.
- When the time is up, use your thermometer to see what the temperature is – this is important because if it is too hot, it will kill the good bacteria in the yogurt. You want the temperature to be between 115 and 120 farenheit. If its still too hot, come back to it in 10 mins and try again.
- When it’s the right temperature, use a fork to skim off the “skin” that formed on the top. Then whisk in ½ – ¾ cup of plain yogurt with live active cultures (again, exact measurement is not needed). Most store bought yogurt does have live cultures, but look on the label to be sure. (The first time you make yogurt, you have to buy the starter, but after this, you can just reserve ½ cup of your batch for next time)
- Now put your lid back on and cover it with a big towel to rest. (keep the crock inside the slow cooker, but it should still be “off” – the slow cooker helps keep it insulated).
- In 24 hours, stir it up and pour into jars. (Don’t forget to save 1/2 cup of this batch for next time you make it!) And voila! Homemade yogurt!