I finally got around to trying my hand at yogurt from scratch - and I'm completely hooked.
My primary motivation in doing so was to reduce our sugar intake, as well as our consumption of plastic containers. Our refrigerator has always been stocked with Straus' vanilla, cinnamon and blueberry-pomegranate yogurts. But regardless of being local and organic, these treats pack a mean kick when it comes to sugar - around 25 grams per cup. That's 5 teaspoons of sugar per 8 oz of yogurt!
So I set out for a little early morning *project* with the four year old, who is this households largest and most unapologetic consumer of all things dairy.
We followed these instructions but found them a bit loooooong and sometimes even a little confuuuuusing to follow. If you want to give it a shot, read those instructions first... and then make a batch following my CliffsNotes:
1. Bring 1/2 gallon of (any) milk to 185 degrees in a double boiler.
2. Remove pot filled with milk (from larger pot) and place in sink filled with ice water. Stir occasionally until temp reaches 110 degrees.
3. Add 2-3 tablespoons of plain yogurt (aka: *starter*) to the milk and whisk until fully incorporated.
4. Remove pot from sink and place on top of a heating pad, which is set flat on the counter. Set pad to medium heat.
5. Place lid on pot, drape pot with a dish towel and leave undisturbed for seven hours.
6. Go fold some laundry or eat some chocolate cake.
7. "Ding-ding-ding!" Seven hours has passed. Remove lid, stir yogurt and put into sterilized glass jars. Lids on, date on top. Refrigerate overnight and enjoy in the next 2-3 weeks.
8. Eat plain or sweeten with honey and fruit. (Tons of cinnamon stirred in well is always our favorite!)
The kids didn't even flinch when we made the switch away from the 25 grams of sugar and on to plain yogurt with just honey, fruit and (tons of) cinnamon. Hard to believe, but true. I'm definetely going to try to keep our shelves stocked with the homemade version.