Have you tried the Greek yogurt that’s all over the store shelves now?
I must admit that I’m really addicted!
But buying Greek yogurt can be pricey – at least double the price of regular yogurt. Talk about budget busting.
So when I discovered that the fancy pants Greek yogurt in the stores is actually just plain yogurt with some of the whey drained off – I started researching ways to make it myself.
I could buy a large container of plain yogurt and strain it – but that would only save me a few cents. I wanted a lot of yogurt -cheap.
Like $1.39 gallon of sale milk – cheap.
And easy, too!
And I found it!
All I needed was a heavy bottomed pot, a thermometer, 2 quart sized jars with lids, a small cooler, a strainer, a bowl and a dishtowel.
So far – so good.
The actual yogurt is just 8 cups of milk – any kind. Whole milk makes a really rich and creamy yogurt – but everything works right down to skim.
And 4 tablespoons plain yogurt with live and active cultures.
That’s it. No fancy weird stuff you can’t pronounce.
Put the milk in the heavy bottomed pot and heat to 180 degrees, stirring regularly so that it doesn’t scorch.
As soon as the milk comes to temperature, take it off the heat and let it cool to 110 degrees.
Then add your plain yogurt and whisk well.
Pour this mixture into two quart jars and screw on the lids. Place this jars in the small insulated cooler and pour 120 degree water into the cooler until the jars are submerged nearly to their lids.
Then close the cooler, set it aside and don’t touch it for at least 6 hours. (The longer you leave it in the cooler the more tang your yogurt will have.)
Viola! Six hours later you can remove the jars and have 8 cups of perfectly set plain yogurt.
Now – to make it into Greek yogurt – place the dishtowel in the strainer and set it over a bowl. Pour the yogurt into it and put it in the fridge for several hours. (I have left it on the counter before and it was fine – but don’t tell anybody!)The whey will strain out leaving you with a thick delicious Greek style yogurt.
Whole milk will have less whey and leave you more yogurt while the skim will reduce up to half but will be the equivalent of the 0% fat Greek yogurt you buy at the store.
The longer you let it strain, the thicker the end product. I’ve heard that if you let it go for 24 hours you will get a product with cream cheese consistency. You can add a little salt or spices and spread it on a bagel.
I normally go 4-6 hours, depending on when I remember it.
Some people use the whey in their cooking – but I choose to turn it into pork chops and feed it to the pigs.
Heat the milk. Cool the milk slightly. Mix in the yogurt as a starter. Put them in jars. Incubate in the cooler. Strain. And bingo – you just saved yourself some serious cash.