Why make your own yogurt…. you might ask? Well there are so many reasons. Here is Kelly’s healthy yogurt recipe and a few pictures of our trip to a strawberry farm in California, for some fun strawberry picking, for fresh berries to add to this delicious creamy yogurt recipe.
We headed out to Tanaka Farm in Orange Country on a beautiful sunny Californian afternoon. The farm is owned by a third generation Japanese American Family who use Responsible Farming Practices. This means food safety is their top priority, following “organic growing guidelines” but they do deviate if necessary to save a crop. The fruits and vegetables available will vary throughout the growing season. We were visiting at the end of the sweet strawberry season, but the farm also offers other fruits as well as a variety of herbs and vegetables.
A tractor ride to the strawberry fields took us past fields of watermelon, beautiful heirloom tomatoes and sweet corn with stops to taste the delicious freshly picked carrots, coriander and corn. We were given time to eat as many strawberries as we liked, and to fill our containers to take home. There is also a great farm stall where you can buy fresh produce if you do not want to venture out into the fields. We took our pickings home and added them to Kelly’s creamy home made yogurt. Health in a bowl – who could want for more.
Top of the list of reasons to make your own yogurt is that you can make 2 litres/half a gallon for the price of the equivalent amount of milk. Kelly, who keeps her kitchen as organic as possible , makes her own yogurt on a regular basis and with this little guy, who can’t get enough yogurt down his precious little throat, it definitely reduces the grocery bills.
Most store bought yogurts only have a short fermentation time, and thickening agents are often added to give rich look and feel of yogurt. If you make your own you are in control of the time left to incubate. The longer you leave it, the more the lactose (milk sugar) is used up and converted into beneficial probiotic cultures.
Making your own yogurt gives you the choice to select high quality milk and avoid additives and sugar which is added to most commercial store yogurts.
You will need 2 one litre/quart mason jars and a thermometer to make 2 litres/1 gallon of yoghurt . We used this thermometer , but if you want to spend a little more money try this one, which we have since bought. Its great because it has a pre-settable alarm that works simultaneously with temperature and time, so no need to watch over your milk while it reaches the correct temperature.
- Using a large stock pot, place an old kitchen towel in the bottom so that the mason jars don’t knock together when the water starts to boil. Fill the jars almost to the top with milk, you can use full cream, 2% or skimmed milk, whichever you prefer, as this recipe works every time. Pour hot water into the pot and then add the jars. Make sure the water is about an inch below the tops of the jars because you don’t want water bubbling into the milk. Switch your stove onto a medium heat and place your thermometer into one jar of milk and when it reaches 80ºC/180ºF turn off the heat and remove the jars from the boiling water. Cool the jars to 45ºC/110ºF on countertop (will take about an hour) or place in a cool water bath, which should take about 20 minutes .
- Add one tablespoon of store bought Greek yogurt to each jar and stir gently. Try to buy the best organic Greek Yoghurt you can find so that the end product is the healthiest it can be. Once you have made your first batch of yoghurt, you can use a tablespoon of this to make subsequent batches. Put the lids on the jars and put them back into pot.
- Fill the pot up to the jar necks with warm water and put a lid on the pot. The water should be about the same temperature as the milk, but you can just test by putting your finger in and it should be warm to the touch.
- Put the whole pot into a cool oven. Preheat the oven for 1 minute and then turn it off. This just warms the oven up slightly to help incubate the yoghurt. Leave overnight or for 6-12 hours to incubate. The longer you leave it the better it becomes.
If you prefer sweetness with your yogurt, serve with a dash of honey, or mash your favourite berries into a pulp and add to it. So there you have it, a satisfying ritual, producing delicious healthy yogurt with no added sugar or preservatives.
- 2 Litres/ half a gallon organic full cream milk or 2% milk
- 4 Tablespoons organic greek yoghurt
- 2 Mason Jars 1 litre/quart sizes
- 2 Tablespoons Organic Greek Yogurt
- Cooks Thermometer
Using a large stock pot, place an old kitchen towel in the bottom so that the mason jars don't knock together when the water starts to boil. Fill the jars almost to the top with milk, preferably a full cream milk, but you can use 2%. Pour hot water into the pot and then add the jars. You can make just 2 jars but then use a smaller pot or add empty mason jars to stop the filled ones from falling over. Make sure the water is about an inch below the tops of the jars because you dont want water bubbling into the milk.
Switch your stove onto a medium heat and place your thermometer into one jar of milk and when it reaches 80ºC/180ºF turn off the heat and remove the jars from the boiling water. Cool the jars to 45ºC/110ºF on countertop (will take about an hour) or place in a cool water bath, which should take about 20 minutes .
Add 1 Tablespoon yogurt to each jar and stir gently. Try to buy the best organic Greek Yoghurt you can find so that the end product is the healthiest it can be. Put lids on jars and put them back into pot.
Fill pot up to jar necks with warm water and put lid on pot. The water should be about the same temperature as the milk, but you can just test by putting your finger in and it should be warm to the touch.
Put the pot making sure the lid is on - into a cool oven.
Set oven to 350ºF/180ºC or ( USA Preheat oven on bake) for 1 minute and then turn it off. This is to warm the oven slightly in order to help the incubation process.
Leave overnight or for 6-12 hours to incubate. Easiest to leave it overnight.
Tried and tested. Beautiful pic’s from a memorable trip with Gogo to Tanaka farm:)
Thanks Kel for this amazing recipe and for taking us to the farm. It was such a fun experience
What a gorgeous little boy and what a lucky boy to have a mom who is so conscious of good eating habits for little ones. I am inspired to try and make this
It looks so Yum. The “proof of the pudding is in the eating ” and the little one gives you the Yum answer.
He certainly does, cant get enough of his “yoyo”
I’d like to give this method of yoghurt making a try. It could be hit and miss sometimes in Canadian winters. Beautiful pictures.
Thanks Ratna, I think you would have to make sure your oven is warm enough to incubate. It would be interesting to find out from someone who makes yogurt in extreme cold climates.
This looks so delicious. Beautiful pictures as usual!
Hi Virginia, thanks so much, I hope you are having an inspired blogging day.
There nothing better than picking your own berries right from the vine. Taste, color, size and aroma are untouched. In addition, pairing them with a naturally made plain yogurt, it doesn’t get any better than this. Thank you for sharing your very own ‘you-pick’ experience and travels. The Pacific North West is surrounded by farms and producers where ‘u-pick’ apples, blueberries, raspberries, tulips and the list goes on. Coming back home after sourcing freshly picked strawberries, feels like coming back with a trophy that we can’t wait to share with everyone. Lovely!
It sure does ELizabeth, and a totally new experience for me. Back home we don’t have any of these amazing farms to visit.