We all grew up on yogurt. Is was supposed to be a healthy alternative to pudding. However, only after I grew up considerably (over 50) did I realize how much sugar they put in it. Back in the day Yoplait for instance had 26g of sugar. Ok, so if you aren’t a chemist, really how does that equate to teaspoons? Let’s do the math, as my brother the tortilla maker says that “math never lies’; There are 4.2 grams per tsp. 26g = 6.19 tsp. Hmmm, ok so how many ounces is a serving of that Strawberry Yoplait? 6 oz. That came out to a teaspoon per ounce of yogurt! I do have to recalculate as modern day Strawberry Yoplait contains 18g of sugar for that same 6 ounces. Oh, sorry, it still has 4.285 teaspoons of sugar in that 6 ounce serving. Comparatively a regular chocolate pudding up has 4 teaspoons of sugar per serving.
So, I’m not going to leave you hanging and feeling guilty about eating yogurt when the “live cultures” are so good for your gut in this age of antibiotics. Simply make your own. Yes, simply, but you need a few items. All are multi-tasking tools that are good for other culinary curiosities.
- Temperature Controlled Food Dehydrator: You may say, “Wait a minute, this is an article about the wonders of yogurt!” Trust me, I love my multi-tools. Plan on using the dryer for soup mixes, dried fruit and dried tomatoes. If you get really creative you can dive in to dried yogurt and jerky. What the temperature controlled part does is keep your yogurt humming along at a constant low temperature for several hours. That keeps your live culture happy and procreating. (A little too much information… sorry.)
- Milk Thermometer: Actually a good cooking thermometer that goes as low as 110 should suffice. I ended up buying one that is good for candy making or for deep frying that has a clip on it to float above the milky bottom.
- Stainless Steel Pot: Crazy enough I have only one and that is the pressure cooker my brother got for Christmas for me. (Sorry bro, haven’t pressure cooked in it yet.) I find that the thick bottom is good for even heat distribution. That is my go to milk warmer when making cheese too. Yep, another multi-tool.
- Electric Kettle (optional): Because a crucial part of yogurt making is to have sterile jars and pot that you bring your milk to temperature with, it is good to have a simple way of boiling water quickly and efficiently. It takes about 4 minutes to have a generous rolling boil. When I sterilize my containers I put everything in that stainless steel pot, then pour the boiling water in the containers within the pot. Then I pour out that water into the pot itself and swirl that around. I set the containers bottom side down on a tea towel, pour out the water from the pot and set it on the burner to dry the last bit of water before adding the milk.
The rest of the goodies are simple. Containers and a wooden stirring spoon. For containers I use canning jars. Since I make a 1/2 gallon of yogurt practically every weekend I like the two cup jars. I have the Excalibur dehydrator that probably could hold a full gallon dispersed in these 2 cup jars. If you do any canning you may have the jar tongs. I need to get a pair of those for lifting the hot jars out of the water. The nice thing about the canning jars is that once the yogurt is done, it self seals.
So, how much sugar do I add to my yogurt? Zero, nada, ziltch! Yes, if you want a little sweet to it, agave nectar is a good low glycemic choice or a drizzle of honey. Need a bit more to it? Throw in a handful of granola or trail mix. I’ve been making my own custom trail mix with pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, dates, apricots and cranberries.
Having your own fresh yogurt is not only a treat but can save you a lot of money in the long run. A quart of “good yogurt” will run you around $4. A half gallon of organic milk should be under $5. So you are making organic yogurt and saving money at the same time. Kind of a win/win situation, if you ask me.
Here’s the recipe: Homemade Plain Yogurt with Dehydrator