I love yogurt. My daughter loves yogurt. I put yogurt in just about everything (see here, here, and here), so when we were at the bottom of the container the other day, and I was not feeling motivated to head to the store, I figured it was time to try making my own. I’ve seen the simple crock pot yogurt idea all over Pinterest, but also didn’t feel motivated to dig out the beastly thing from under the cabinet.
Making your own yogurt is so easy. In fact after you do it the first time you’re going to wonder why you haven’t been making it years. And you only need two ingredients.
4 cups whole milk
1/4 cup yogurt
Here’s the deal. Making yogurt is basically heating up and cooling down milk and cultures to create the tangy goodness. You want things to be just right, otherwise you’ll have unhappy bacteria — which isn’t tasty for anyone. Start by heating the milk slowly in a large pot until it’s 180˚ F. We’re not talking a rolling boil, so give the milk a whisk every few minutes while it’s heating. Once your thermometer registers temp, turn off the heat.
No let the milk cool down to 110˚ F and then stir in the yogurt. Any kind of plain yogurt works wonderfully, and you can continue using your homemade yogurt for making many, many fresh batches.
Once the yogurt is incorporated carefully pour into a large container with a sealable lid. A big glass jar works wonderfully, just make sure to get it nice and sanitary before pouring the yogurt mix by filling with boiling water and then carefully pouring it out (it’s hot!). Cover the yogurt with a dish towel and let hang out in a warm spot for eight to nine hours.
Seriously, waiting is the hardest part.
I found a warm corner in my kitchen and had a difficult time being patient. I couldn’t believe the yogurt would come together just sitting there in a warm jar, but it did. And, wow. Was it good. I gave it a taste before popping in the fridge for several hours to really set up.
The next morning the tot and I just about gobbled the entire container of homemade yogurt. Thick, creamy, and just a bit tangy, mix in a spoonful of jam, drizzle over some honey, or eat plain.
The other day I was running low on baby food and my wee one was wailing for more, more, more. What to do? I took a peak in the fridge and there wasn’t much to choose from. But, behind the mineral water and neglected orange juice was sitting my favorite plain yogurt. It beckoned me with its smooth creaminess, its white happiness, and its tangy milky flavor. I flashed back to the past pediatrician’s visit and vaguely remembered somebody saying something about no dairy until 1 year of age. But, the baby was wailing and the yogurt was calling. I went for it – and she ate it all up.
After 8 months of age, yogurt is okay for your baby. Other dairy such as milk and cheese are still a no-no. For some reason, yogurt sneaks by due to containing live active cultures, or probiotics. Probiotics are foods that contain natural good bacteria that assist with digestion and overall health. These lovely little probiotics are found by the thousands in yogurt. So, not only are you providing your baby with great natural protein and dairy, but wonderful probiotics.
Adding a spoonful of yogurt into baby food, or as a treat on its own is a great way to introduce yogurt to baby’s diet. Starting with plain yogurt with labeling stating it contains “live probiotics” is a good idea. Purchasing yogurt in a large container instead of single servings is also a great way to be eco-friendly. Spoon out yogurt for each serving and enjoy some yourself while you are at it.
If you are wrinkling your nose up at the idea of boring old plain yogurt, mix in some pureed bananas, strawberries, or peaches to liven things up. Sprinkle a dash of cinnamon, squeeze a little orange, or stir in some oatmeal. The things that don’t seem appealing to you might taste amazing to your baby. Try to stay away from flavored yogurt as they contain large amounts of sugar and may not contain probiotics. Remember to watch your baby for adverse reactions to new foods alerting you to food allergies.
Wanting some help losing the baby weight? Try having yogurt as a snack or with a meal during the day. Those live and active cultures help your body stay balanced and have happy and healthy bowel movements, which aides in getting rid of extra fat and creating a tiny tummy.
You might be tempted to buy expensive fancy-shmancy yogurt while at the supermarket, but my favorite is cheap and plain. It’s a blank canvas that can be added to easily or enjoyed plain. I’ve even used plain yogurt in place of sour cream and mayonnaise! YUM!