- I bring yogurt to work pretty much every day for lunch. Buying a ton of small cups is a hassle, I hate going to the grocery store, and my steps into my apartment are incredibly steep and narrow. Everything that comes in must go back out via those steps. I try to reduce both bringing things in and out as much as I can since if I load myself down with groceries, I am often too wide to make it easily up the stairs--thank you 1800s property.
- I tried buying the larger container to save plastic and keep my fridge less chaotic, but the large container doesn't really come in any good flavors. I'm sick of Chobani vanilla and strawberry, and I never really liked those kinds anyway. I'd been experimenting with just getting plain and adding things to it, which is fine, but not great.
- For the ~$4 I spend on one quart of store-brand yogurt, I can buy a gallon of milk that yields four quarts of home-made yogurt. That's enough of a savings that I owe it to myself to at least try.
I used The Frugal Girl's recipe, and it was actually pretty easy. It's a few steps, but there's a lot of downtime in between them, so you can still be doing other stuff. Typically, on Saturdays, I go for a long run, then laze around the house reading or internetting, so this fit into that schedule nicely.
I used one quart mason jars, which I had already, so I didn't have to bring anything new into my house (though I did buy some plastic replacement lids because the original ones that came with the jars were rusting).
I did have to buy a 'starter' yogurt, which is basically just yogurt that is already yogurt. You add that to your heated milk, and it adds the live yogurt cultures that you need to make something other than just hot milk. I accidentally, because the grocery store was crazy busy when I went, bought coconut flavored yogurt instead of plain. At first I thought it would be horrible, but the whole batch has a subtle coconut flavor that is quite pleasant.
The yogurt came out pretty runny, unfortunately. I don't mind runny yogurt, but it was kind of messy to eat, so I decided to strain it to thicken it up a bit. I took one of my reusable mesh produce bags, and washed it out.
Then I put the whole thing in the fridge for the afternoon, and when I check on it a few hours later, I had a bowl full of whey, and slightly thicker yogurt!
If you like *super* thick yogurt, you can let it sit straining for much longer than I did (approximately five hours), but I didn't want greek-style yogurt, just something with a bit more tenacity.
Overall, I'm pretty please with the way this all turned out. After straining, I had a little over three quarts of yogurt, which is quite tasty. I used only equipment I already had, and saved about $8 off the cost of three quarts of yogurt in the store. The amount of time I spent doing this was, I think worth the $8 in savings, and the savings in time spent at the store buying yogurt, hauling it home, trying to find space for it in the fridge, and then having to take out the recycling. Also, since the mason jars are cylindrical, taller and don't bow out at the top like yogurt containers, they fit better in my fridge.
The batch I made should be good for a month, but I don't think it will last that long. I bought a bag of frozen fruit to add to it to mix up my lunch, but I also have dried fruit, powdered peanut butter, jam and I whole bunch of other things that would be tasty.
I think I'm a convert!
Ever made your own yogurt? Any tips or tricks to share?