Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Homemade Greek Yogurt

Last night at our Pampered Chef team meeting we learned a few things that were really awesome.  Today I am going to share with you how to make Greek Yogurt at home!  It is super easy (especially if you have the Pampered Chef Rock Crock), and it saves a ton of money!  You do need a nice non-stick pot with a lid.  I wouldn't recommended making it in stainless steel as the yogurt has to sit in the pot for several hours and I think it would stick to the sides of the stainless steel pot.  The best pot for making Greek Yogurt that I have found is either the Pampered Chef Rock Crock or the Longaberger Flameware due to their unique ability to retain heat for extended periods of time allowing the incubation period to go much easier and smoother.  I use the Rock Crock, for two reasons: one I am a Pampered Chef consultant and got it for free (and therefore am naturally biased ;-)  and two: the Pampered Chef Rock Crock was made with a non-crack glaze meaning that it won't leak whereas the Flameware was made with a micro-crack glaze meaning you run the risk of your yogurt leaking through the bottom of the flameware over time as it was not designed to store food.  (Thus is my understanding, if any Longaberger consultants out there know better please feel free to correct me in the comments and I will be happy to change this statement.)

We buy about 10-15 containers of Greek Yogurt a week.  Most of the time we buy Chobani, which I can find at Wal Mart for $1 a piece.  If I am at King Soopers (Kroger) they usually run 4/$5, which is $1.25 per container.  The only ingredients you need to make Greek Yogurt is milk and a starter yogurt.  So if you have never made yogurt before you will need to go out and buy a small container of plain Greek Yogurt.  My two favorite brands are Chobani and Fage.  The Chobani tends to be cheaper so that I what I usually go with, although I do think Fage tastes better and is a little higher quality.  Milk you can get at the grocery store on sale for $2 a gallon and even if you have to pay full price and are buying a higher quality milk it is usually about $3.50 a gallon.  Then if you go organic you are looking at about $5.25 a gallon.  One gallon of milk makes about 6 cups of yogurt (48 oz).  Therefore home made yogurt costs about   One container of Chobani on sale is $1 per container and that is 5.3 oz per container.  To get 48 oz you need to buy 9 containers of yogurt which on the cheap side is $9 and on the more expensive side is $11.25.  Home made yogurt then costs either $2, $3.50 or even at the most expensive $5.25 for the same amount of yogurt!  That is a HUGE savings!  (Not taking into account the starter yogurt you have to buy the very first time you make your yogurt, but that is only $1)

You can make your yogurt with any kind of milk you like, I usually buy 1% milk.  You can make your yogurt with a whole gallon or with a half gallon depending on how large your pot is.  Make sure to leave out about one cup of milk to mix into your yogurt starter. 
Step 1: scald milk:  Scalding milk means that you heat up your milk just to boiling point.  It is not a rolling boil, but it is on the borderline.  About 180 deg 
You need to do this gradually to prevent scorching. Place your burner on medium heat or around #3 and let it gradually warm up.  Once it warms up to about 120 deg I turn the heat up to #4.  Again I let it gradually heat up until about 160 deg and turn the heat up to #5.  (The first time I tried it I put it on #4 and the bottom burned and then it wouldn't get over 160 deg, so gradually turning up the heat seems to work the best).  It is going to take a long time to gradually heat up so it is okay to go off and do something else while the milk is heating up.   I like to heat it up to just over 180 deg to make sure it is hot enough.  I was told that you don't need to stir it, but every time I check the temperature I stir it anyway to prevent the bottom of the milk burning. 

190 deg on the left and 108 deg on the right

Once you scald your milk let it cool until 108deg.  If you accidentally let it cool below 108 deg just turn the burner back on and heat it up to 108.  Mix together your yogurt starter (about 1/3 cup for half a gallon milk) and the 1 cup of reserved milk until smooth and add to scalded milk and mix well.  Put lid on Rock Crock and place in oven with light on for 8-10 hours or place in microwave with light on for 8-10 hours.

You now magically have yogurt!  But we are not completely done yet.  You will need cheese cloth and a colander.  I love to use my Pampered Chef salad and berry spinner.  I put an inverted prep bowl in the bottom so that the yogurt isn't sitting in the Whey and it is elevated above the liquid and can drain properly.  The longer you let it drain, the thicker the yogurt will be.

Once you have it set up, refrigerate it for several hours until desired consistency.  Then the yogurt just comes out of the cheesecloth and you can store it in a large glass container or place it in several small glass containers (may I recommended the 1 cup prep bowls with lids :-)

Mix in your favorite fruit and enjoy!  Instead of adding cane sugar with your fruit, try adding coconut sugar or date sugar.  They are healthier and have a lower glycemic index.  The sky is the limit once you have made your yogurt.  You can make granola parfait by layering yogurt, fruit, and granola in a cup.  A delicious breakfast!

Also, don't throw out the liquid in the bottom of the bowl.  That is your Whey Protein!  Save the liquid to give your green smoothies a protein boost.  Or mix it into your oatmeal in the morning.  People spend lots of money buying whey protein and now you have some for free as an added bonus!  For other ideas on how to use your Whey check out this post HERE

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