Making your own homemade yogurt is a great way to stretch a buck or two. My kids are huge smoothie drinkers. They love drinking a smoothie and having a piece of fruit for breakfast. I learned to make yogurt about a year ago and use them as a smoothie.
I tried making yogurt many times but could never get it to be thick enough to call yogurt. This is the thickest recipe I’ve had so far. I know how to make it thicker which I will tell you here, but my kids prefer to drink it as a smoothie so I don’t bother. To make yogurt I use my dehydrator.
First find some good organic plain yogurt. I use Stonyfield Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt.
It has 5 different bacteria in it which is more than other brands I’ve seen, plus it’s organic. You will also need milk. If you are using store milk use a whole milk. If you are using raw milk you need to heat the milk to at least 160 or the bacteria in the milk will stop the yogurt bacteria from working. I’ve tried lower temps but 160 is pretty much the lowest I’ve found will work.
No matter what milk you use you need to make sure it is at 110 degrees, so heat it or cool it depending on how you are starting. For half of a gallon you want to add 1/4th cup of the plain yogurt and stir until it’s well mixed. Pour into a half gallon glass canning jar, place lid on and tighten slightly. Take out all the trays in the dehydrator and place the jar inside. Turn the dehydrator on 105 ish and leave it in there 10 hours or so. I usually make it around lunch and pull it out before bedtime. Once the 10 hours is up, you need to CAREFULLY move it to the fridge and let it sit until it’s completely cool. Once it is cool, take a spoon and stir. You’ve now just made 1/2 gallon of yogurt! If you want it thicker you can drain it in the fridge through either a coffee filter or a cotton handkerchief.
My kids like a variety of things inside this yogurt. I usually buy organic frozen fruit or whatever fruit is in season. I puree this fruit in my blender and pour it into a bowl. Then I add the yogurt and stir. I always taste it before I start adding sugar. Store brands have a lot of sugar and yours might as well depending on how sweet the fruit is. 4.2 grams of sugar is equal to 1 teaspoon in the store stuff.
Looking up Dannon fruit on the bottom strawberry yogurt, it says it has 26 grams of sugar for 6 oz. That means each 6 oz has 6.19 tsp of sugar in it. The yogurt we made is almost exactly 8 cups..maybe a tad more. You can add up to 1 cup of sugar to your half gallon mix to equal the sugar for 8 oz of yours as their 6 oz. I have never used 1 cup. The most I’ve used is 2/3 c and the fruit was just not ripe at all. Also a little note, if you are letting the yogurt sit for more than a few days before you eat it then make it a tad sweeter. The bacteria will eat the sugar over time.
I make a gallon of yogurt a week for my kids. You could sweeten with other sweeteners too if you wanted. It’s all up to you. I’d rather use organic starter, raw milk, organic fruits, and add my own sugar than to buy the store brand with fruit. Also so your plain store yogurt doesn’t go bad, measure out 1/4th cups portions into other containers and freeze. Many people use ice cube trays. I think two cubes equal 1/4th cup.