Yogurt. It’s so simple, so good…and SO EXPENSIVE at the grocery store! Durn middle men, let’s stick it to them, shall we? This is so easy, you can do it in your sleep. Literally. You’ll be sleeping while it’s…oh never mind, here we go!
What you’ll need:
- 1/2 gallon milk
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt with active cultures
- candy thermometer
- clean containers
Pull your plain yogurt starter out of the fridge and put it on the counter to warm up to room temperature. (You can use less yogurt, but if you pick up a little carton of plain yogurt when you pick up your milk at the store, this is fool proof.) Pour your milk into the pot on the stove. I use whole milk because we give this to our toddler and she needs the fat, and whole milk has less lactose than skim. (Remember, lactose is in dairy LIQUID. The more fat per cup, the less lactose per cup.) Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally to evenly distribute the heat and prevent sticking, to 185 degrees. This sterilizes the milk.
Set the milk aside to cool to below 120 degrees- 105 to 115 is best. You want it warm, but not hot enough to kill those good yogurt bacteria. If you’re in a hurry, make an ice water bath with mixing bowls, it will cool down in no time! Make sure you stir to distribute the temperature, and don’t let it get too cold or it won’t incubate properly.
When the milk is between 105 and 115 degrees, stir in the yogurt to get rid of most of the lumps. Don’t make it frothy, or you’ll have weird frothy yogurt 🙂 Add any sugar or flavorings you want, tasting as you go. There is a SHOCKING amount of sugar in store-bought yogurt, you’d probably have to dump in at least a cup to get it as sweet. If you have small cups with lids, try “____ on the bottom” style by putting fruit filling/stewed fruit, chocolate syrup, maple syrup, etc. in the bottom of the cup and pouring the yogurt mixture on top.
Pour the yogurt-milk mixture into squeaky clean containers, and set them in an oven with the light on and let sit overnight. Check in the morning, and they should look like this. Yum! (I’ve also put the yogurt into mason jars, packed into a mini cooler with hot packs. That worked too. You want constant warmth, no drafts.)
This tastes amazing with fresh berries folded in, and honey drizzled over the top!
Once you serve a bit of this and let it sit in the fridge again, the next time you pull it out you’ll see liquid that’s separated out- pour it off to reduce the remaining lactose content (there shouldn’t be much) and to keep your yogurt thick. Once you stir the yogurt, it will change from spoonable to runny and it won’t re-set up in the refrigerator.
Another option is to make greek-style yogurt: once your yogurt has set up, spoon it into a lined colander to drain. If you leave it a LONG time, you’ll have a spreadable cheese. A short time will give you thick yogurt. Your call what you want it to be, but it will have ZERO lactose if you drain the liquid off.
And yes: Mimi, our lactose intolerant baby, can eat this with no problems. Yay!