Yogurt has had a resurgence in the past five to ten years. There are many brands out there that make all kinds of claims. I think many are good and I buy them when I am in need. If I need to buy yogurt I buy ORGANIC, WHOLE MILK, PLAIN yogurt. I am a big believer in fat, organic if I can find it and afford it, and I use my yogurt for savory and sweet dishes. If I want to add sweetness I can and often with honey or fruit. My kids love it with vanilla mixed in.
The best way to control what you have is to make it yourself. You can buy a yogurt maker or make it in an oven that has a pilot light. There are other crafty ways to keep the yogurt warm as the cultures do their magic. I have read about coolers being used, crockpots, and heating pads. Use what you got! The process has been around for thousands of years. I bought and use a Yogourmet Yogurt Maker because it is efficient and I don’t have to think about it. I have had it for ten years and it works perfectly.
If you want to be cost efficient or you want your yogurt full of probiotics for your belly cooking yogurt at home is best because you can cook it for 24-48 hours and the cultures eat up all the lactose in the milk. WARNING, yogurt cooked more than traditional 4-6 hours becomes more sour. I personally love it but you can find the right balance as you experiment.
You will need:
Yogurt starter ( yogourmet make a nice one) or a cup of plain yogurt of your choice from the store
glass jars ( mason jar) or yogurt maker
You start with a milk of your choice. You can buy a starter culture or use a cup of your favorite (plain) yogurt brand. I suggest starting with at minimum a liter but more likely a gallon of milk. Place in a pan and slowly bring it to simmer (82 ‘c or 180’F) take if off the stove and let it cool 73-77’C or 23-25’F. Sprinkle in starter or pour in yogurt starter and stir gently not vigorously. Time to incubate the yogurt in jars or yogurt maker.
6-9 hours is for a very mild yogurt
12-15 for average flavor and ok probiotic levels
24-48 (tops) for sour but excellent probiotic, low levels of lactose, yogurt
Refrigerate over night for best results. You can strain it through a cheese cloth or tea towel to make yogurt cheese/yogurt cream cheese. Add it to anything you would use sour cream for. I make all my own salad dressings with our yogurt. The tangy taste will become addicting!
1/2 c mayo
1/2 lemon or 1-2 tbls apple cider vinegar
1-2 tbls olive oil (cold pressed and not filtered is the best health wise)
add spices of choice ( dill, salt, pepper, paprika, cheyenne pepper, cumin, jalapeños, pickled onions, capers etc.)