Over the past two months I have made more than 24 batches of non-fat, hormone free, plastic free, organic Greek yogurt that, I dare say, is far better tasting and better for you than than the store bought kind, and, once you get the hang of it, easy to make.
We eat lots of Greek yogurt in my family (one son goes through 3 large containers a week), but recently we began to add up our grocery receipts and we realized that the price has been creeping up to a point where a 32 ounce container of Chobani or Fage Low Fat Greek Yogurt costs between $5.59 and $7.49, depending on the store, and it doesn't go on sale all that often.
Besides the cost, there are a couple of other things about the store-bought Greek yogurt that really bother me. First, there's all that plastic. Yes, it gets recycled, but it still seems wasteful. Second, the fact that most brands are not organic or growth hormone-free also bothers me. There are studies that suggest that it isn't such a good idea for boys and men to be consuming female growth hormones.
I like the fact that Chobani is one of the sponsors of the 2012 Olympics
Here's my recipe for the BEST Greek Yogurt:
- Buy half gallons (64 ounces) of organic milk (it costs me $3.99 at my store). The milk will keep for about a month in the refrigerator.
- Pour the half gallon into a slow cooker set to warm for 3 hours until it is between 140-180 degrees (you need to invest in a good kitchen thermometer).
- Cool the milk to about 100 degrees. This will take about an hour.
- As it is cooling, put about ¼ cup of "starter cultures" (Greek yogurt you saved from your last batch or from the store in a very large mixing cup. The starter needs to have live and active cultures that are found in Fage or Chobani yogurt or from your home made batch. Live and Active Cultures are living organisms, or "cultures," added to milk to make yogurt, ; they are called "starter cultures" because when added to milk, they convert the milk into yogurt during fermentation. The two cultures in the phrase "live and active cultures," are Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus.
- Once the milk has cooled to 100 degrees wisk in ¼ cup of the starter. Then pour the mixture back in the crock pot and maintain the temperature at 100 degrees for the next 8 hours (I wrap my crock pot in towels and a warming pad and leave it overnight).
- In the morning, take the coagulated yogurt, which now has the texture of custard, and strain it, a process which takes about 4 hours. I use a large ultra fine strainer lined with coffee filters. Spoon the yogurt into the strainer. Place a large measuring cup under the strainer and a large plate on top to keep out odors from other food in the refrigerator while the yogurt is being strained.
- You will end up with 32 ounces of Greek yogurt and 32 ounces of whey liquid, which you can either discard or save to add to fruit smoothies to make protein drinks (which are great as recovery beverages after exercise).
This recipe will be lots of fun to make with your kids. It is packed with protein and great with fresh berries or a little granola any time of the day.