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Make Your Own Organic Yogurt

written by: Frugalmaven•edited by: Niki Fears•updated: 7/31/2009

Make your own yogurt using all natural, organic milk and leave behind high-fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, and the tons of plastic used to package commercial yogurt.

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    Making Yogurt Without Fancy Equipment

    Yogurt is a marvel of chemistry that appears to be complicated but is actually extremely simple. The basic chemistry consists of adding a live culture of streptococcus thermophilus and lactobaccillus bulgaricus to heated milk. In the home, yogurt is usually made using a machine, of which there are several on the market. This is completely unnecessary as yogurt is one of the easiest and least expensive foods that can be prepared at home. The only two ingredients that yogurt requires are the jump-start culture and milk. The jump-start may be any plain bit of yogurt. A small container of full-fat plain yogurt works fine. This is just a culture to get the yogurt working. There are commercial yogurt-starters available but like the yogurt maker, they are completely unnecessary. For the milk, whole milk seems to work best but two percent will also suffice. One half-gallon of milk plus the starter are all that's needed.

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    Twenty Minutes Of Work For a Great Organic Treat

    .To make yogurt, heat the milk in a saucepan until it just begins to form bubbles on top. Do not let it come to a complete boil. Remove it from the heat and let it cool down to the point that it is warm to the touch but not hot. Add the culture to it and stir until the yogurt is completely dissolved. After mixing the two together, put yogurt in a container and either leave in an oven with the pilot light on or wrap in towels and put in a warm spot for five to six hours. A small cooler works well for this step. After approximately six hours, you will have yogurt. It should be starting to firm up. At this point in the process, refrigerate your yogurt. You may want to divide it into individual containers. Any containers used should be sterile but glass, ceramic and food-grade plastic are suitable. After making your first batch of yogurt, set at least 2-3 tablespoons aside to use to jump-start the next batch.

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    Ways To Use Your Yogurt

    Making yogurt using this simple process is both financially smart and ecologically sound. By reusing old yogurt containers or using glass or ceramic jars, the number of plastic yogurt containers sent to the landfill is reduced. Most commercial yogurts use high-fructose corn syrup and sweeteners such as Aspartame. Using organic milk and carrying over the yogurt culture to the next batch ensures that this product is completely natural and healthy.

    To make yogurt stretch farther and for variety, treat it as you would any commercial yogurt. Organic fruit and granola are wonderful additions. It will work for smoothies as well. One of the tastiest uses of homemade yogurt is to convert it to Greek yogurt. Again, this simple process requires only one kitchen item, some cheesesloth to strain it through. Pour the yogurt into the cheesecloth, tie the ends and let it drain until it reaches the desired consistency. After several hours it will attain a thick consistency and can be used in place of cream cheese, sour cream, or goat cheese. Make a dip with a little cracked pepper, parsley and olive oil drizzled over the top. Use it to top baked potatoes or in a fruit tart for a less sweet and more savory dessert. The possibilities are endless.