Hannah loves yogurt. Loves it, loves it, loves it. Aside from expense, though, every one on the shelves has a handfull of chemicals in each serving and at least that much sugar. As I'm trying to limit her sugar intake, she doesn't get to have this treat very often. But I want her to eat healthy, so I did some research and came up with a recipe for homemade yogurt. The cool thing is, no special equipment is needed, just a crock pot. A couple weeks ago I passed up a yogurt maker in Goodwill because I didn't know if it worked or not and I didn't want to risk the $2 to find out. So I was elated when I found out I had made a wise decision.
On the Day of My Fall, I had 2 quarts of whole milk percolating in the crock pot for the first stage of the recipe. Andy dumped it down the drain after he had me safely tucked in ARH for the night. Yesterday was my first chance at a second attempt, so I stayed out of trees for the day and made another batch.
Here's the ingredients:
2 quarts of whole milk (later I'll experiement with 2% and 1%....right now I'm working on avoiding sugar and corn syrup) (organic milk - Kroger has a good price on it - would be a good choice if you're concerned about it...just make sure the milk is not "ultra-homogenized")
1/2 cup plain yogurt (for starter...I used Dannon Activa which has a little sugar, but in a whole batch I figured that much sugar wouldn't have a strong impact. You just need to have a yogurt with "live and active cultures" and I wonder if they all do)
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
mix-ins: fruit, Splenda, True Lemon, Stevia, etc. (not all at once, but experiment with individual servings. We used Splenda and blueberries, Splenda and True Lemon). Again, my goal was to avoid sugar, so fresh crushed fruit went a long way.
Cook 2 quarts of milk on low in the crock pot for 2 1/2 hours.
Unplug crock pot and let it sit for 3 hours.
After 3 hours, scoop out 2 cups, wisk in 1/2 cup starter yogurt and the gelatin to the 2 cups, mix well and add back to the pot. Stir to incorporate.
Put the lid back on the crock pot and cover with a heavy towel or blanket. Keep unplugged.
Let sit for 8 hours.
After 8 hours, stir again and its done! Divide large batch into smaller ones that you can flavor as desired and refrigerate. The consistency is not as thick as regular store bought yogurt, and I wonder if adding an extra pack of gelatin would help. But regardless, after being refrigerated overnight and allowing the fruit to blend in, it was delicious. I think that fresh, juicy peaches would be a wonderful addition - or even canned, diced peaches with a little bit of canning syrup.
I don't know if yogurt can be frozen - I mean to preserve the 8 little pints (?) of yogurt we have in the fridge - but that said, I think I'll turn some of this into pushup pops for my wee ones.
Let me know if you make it. Hannah found it to be delicious. Even Abbo, who is not a big a fan of yogurt as Hanno is, enjoyed it!