3-Step Homegrown Yogurt!

homegrown yogurt

Yogurt is definitely on my top 10 favorite foods list. It’s just that they tend to be pricey, and in China, there is a limited variety of brands you could choose from if you want to avoid the ones from questionable sources. Although I have yet to try straining Greek Yogurt by myself, I have succeeded in growing my own plain yogurt at home! As someone whose mom is terrified of animals and therefore has not had a chance to keep a pet (except for a pet goldfish), These little jars of happiness are like my little pets…the catch is that you have to eat them. No regrets though.

Lactobacillus bulgaricus, or L. Bulgaricus, is a bacteria that lives in your intestinal tract. It feeds on lactose, a sugar found inside milk. Friendly bacteria like these boost your gut health. By producing its own antibiotics, it helps neutralize toxins and kill harmful bacteria inside our bodies.

Enough science. The key to making homemade yogurt is to buy a base yogurt that actually has live cultures. Any yogurt that has L. Bulgaricus as its main ingredient should be fine; I got my yogurt in a cup at BreadTalk. On a side note, I was kind of surprised when they gave me a straw to drink the yogurt out of…this whole time I’ve been thinking that you can only eat yogurt by scooping it up with a spoon!

The rest is simple!

1. Take a container (I used old jars of spaghetti sauce) and give it a rinse with boiling water to kill any germs.
2. After the container is all dry, pour the yogurt in, and pour an equal amount of whole milk into the same jar. For a lighter yogurt, you can probably use skim milk, but I find that whole milk works better in my case (I somehow feel like using whole milk is like giving the bacteria the whole package, ya know).
3. Then close the lid, shake well, and store in a warm/room temperature for about 6-7 hours. The warmer the environment is, the faster the yogurt will ferment. That’s why my grandma back in Seoul uses a little yogurt machine that creates that ideal temperature, but as long as you’re not in a rush, I think putting them in a corner and forgetting about them for a while works just as well!

After several hours, the jar should be filled with yogurt – with twice the amount you started with! Our little bacteria friends should have eaten up the milk and turned it into chunky, creamy, and beautifully pungent yogurt. 

yogurt

My first attempt was back in the beginning of August, and now I have a little home for my yogurt jars (aka a styrofoam box from Baskin Robbins)!! Having your own little ‘yogurt farm’ makes it so much easier to fix a quick breakfast or a snack. For example, I just put a few spoonfuls of my oat granola and throw on some prunes into a 1/4 cup of yogurt for a light and healthy breakfast. You can also just eat/drink it plain or even make a fruit parfait.

more yogurt ideas

yogurt idea

(featuring a peanut butter and banana sandwich in the back)

I haven’t done an exact cost comparison between buying packaged yogurt and making your own, but I think just the fact that you know where your produce is coming from is a huge pro for homemade yogurt. Plus, once you start your own yogurt culture, you can use the yogurt that you made and add more milk to it to make more yogurt…so in the long run you will probably end up saving quite a lot of money if you’re a yogurt lover like me.

The yogurt I’m making right now is more creamy than chunky, probably because I didn’t heat up the milk or use strong yogurt. That’s the way the starter yogurt looked like as well (yogurt creamy and runny enough to drink but still pretty thick to savor in your mouth for a while), and it tastes really good and fresh in my opinion. In some cases where I left the jar out for quite a while, the yogurt became pretty thick after I chilled it in the fridge.

Making yogurt at home started out as a little summer ‘science project’, and now eating yogurt has become so much easier and more fun because of it! It can be used in a whole variety of dishes (ideas on Yogurt Everyday totally depict my love for yogurt and its versatility!) Do any of you guys make your own yogurt?

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