I saw Martha make some homemade yogurt a few years ago, and I have been wanting to do so ever since. And now that Etta is eating it, the time had come to finally make it.
Yogurt is a nice was to introduce some calcium, protein and good bacterias into your diet- BUT have you looked at the label? Quick run frantically to your fridge. Look real closely at the sugar! ** I have to say I am not a splenda girl – it gives me headaches and I don’t like the after taste so I dont’ buy artifically sweetened versions, moving on. Do you know how much sugar is in Yogurt? The little single serving I have in my fridge, 27 GRAMS, a can of soda has about 39 that is NOT far off. (especially considering quantity!)
With these types of thoughts brewing in my mind, while surfing (not on the ocean) the other week, I found a blog, called Common Cents Home. They had really great instructions to follow to make homemade yogurt. And I decided to try it out. It worked. It was easy… but I wanted a thicker yogurt, (if you look at the label on yogurt, some of them add gelatin as a thickener….). This first batch therefore become frozen yogurt *bonus!
Now that I saw how easy it was to make, I really started researching how to make thick yogurt and found a great article about how to make Greek yogurt. So, I followed Common Cents home to make the yogurt then I followed the instructions from the Greek yogurt article to make the second batch.
I usually start this process first thing in the morning. Then let it strain through the night. Takes a full 24 hours basically.
Here is how to do it:
1 cup plain yogurt with live and active cultures… (most yogurts have active cultures, it will say on the label)
1/2 cup sugar (or a bit less of agave nectar, honey, coconut palm sugar netcar)
1 Tbsp vanilla
***If you want, save a cup or so in a pint jar in your fridge at this point as your next starter.
The next time you make it, you won’t have to buy a new starter you can just use yours!
Now at this point you have rather thin yogurt, if that is what you like stick it all in the fridge and enjoy, if you want something a little closer to heaven follow the next instructions. BTW if making yogurt seems to scary, you can do these next steps with any yogurt to make it extra creamy!)
Thickening the yogurt steps:
Greek Yogurt Recipe Part:
- Line a medium to large bowl with cheesecloth, a clean white dishtowel (or I used my large white cotton cloth napkins cause I didn’t have the other two options… just make sure they are lint free, I used a lint roller to be sure) line a large colander with the cloth. place in your sink.
- Dump the yogurt into the center of the cloth.
- Bring the four corners of the cloth together and lift the yogurt, make sure you have a good hold.
- Over the bowl or sink start to twist the load to tighten the cloth around the yogurt and squeeze out the liquid(whey), it will bead through and begin dripping through the cloth. (This whey which can be a good byproduct to save and use if you are into Nourishing Traditions which is a very interesting book by the way.)
- Continue squeezing the yogurt under a bit of pressure to force the liquid out.
- When the flow of liquid slows down, tie off the top of the cloth just above the yogurt with a twist tie or rubber band (so it is still tight) and place in a colander or strainer over a larger bowl.
- Place this bowl containing the colander in your fridge and let it drain for another 2-3 hours, check the bowl it is in and drain. You need it to be large, you will lose at least half the liquid. Place back in the fridge and let it drain another 6-8 hours. You can figure out how long you want to strain it, the longer you strain it, the thicker it gets.
- After draining give the bundle one last squeeze over the sink. Remove the tie… (this is the tricky part it might be good to have a little help so you don’t spill it everywhere) and use a spatula to put the yogurt into a container for storage and or to eat right then and there! It will be about as thick as sour cream, but sweet and fabulous!