How many little plastic tubs of yogurt do your kids eat every week? Three? Five? More? While certainly convenient—and nutritious—the packaging is wasteful (if you don’t rinse and recycle), and you may encounter unwanted ingredients, especially if they’ve convinced you to buy one of the fun, colorful varieties they saw in that “cool” TV commercial. An easy solution is to simply make your own. I say simply because it really is easy to do!
Eaten as-is or combined with fruit in parfait, homemade yogurt is the perfect breakfast, lunch or mid-day snack. I make sure to use the purest products possible (shopping almost solely at Vitacost.com and farmers’ markets) for wholesome and delicious yogurt that my whole family loves.
What You’ll Need:
6 -1/2 cups whole milk*
2-1/2 teaspoons powdered yogurt starter or 3/4 cup yogurt from your last batch.
* Use any type of milk you’d like. Raw is always best, but make sure it is not ultra-pasteurized. I prefer goat’s milk.
1. Over medium heat in a heavy bottom pot with a cooking thermometer attached, heat milk until the temperature reaches 185 degrees F (about 20 minutes). Stir every once in a while.
2. Remove pot from heat and cool to 110 degrees F.
3. Pour 1-1/2 cups of milk cooled to 110 F into a small bowl; add starter. Whisk until smooth and add the rest of the milk and whisk until just foamy.
4. Using a funnel, pour milk into mason jars. Separate one jar filled with ¾ cup of the mixture to use as your next starter. (Hint, hide your new starter in the back of the frig so not one eats it!)
5. Put on lids on and wrap jars in towels. Place in an insulated cooler for 6 hours. Yogurt should be firm. If not, let sit an additional hour and then place in refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours before serving.
6. Once yogurt has cooled, you’re ready to add the flavoring of your choice (see suggestions above).
Fruit & Yogurt Parfaits
- To make parfaits, layer chopped fruit and yogurt in a tall glass or the container of your choice (I like to use Mason jars because they’re easy to fill, transport and wash).
- For vegan parfaits, use soy yogurt. I’ll sometimes make my own by blending silken tofu and a little almond milk in my bullet or blender. Top with agave (or honey, if you choose to eat it).
- If serving your parfait right away, layer in granola or nuts. When I pre-make parfaits for on-the-go snacks, I wait for this step until just before leaving to keep the crunch.
- Berries are great in parfaits, but we also love mango, pineapple, stone fruits or whatever fruit is in season.
- If fresh fruit isn’t available, try dried fruit such as Eden Organic Dried Wild Blueberries or Eden Dried Montmorency Cherries.
Try these combinations:
- Cherries, cinnamon and almonds
- Apple, cinnamon and walnuts
- Crushed graham crackers, cacao and shredded coconut
- Banana, hazelnut spread and dark chocolate
Have fun with it. Enjoy!
Dana Zucker is a home cook that likes to do it her way! She gets creative with nutritious ingredients to keep her active family—teenage twins and a vegan, triathlete husband—healthy and happy. Cooking with organic, local and whole food ingredients is key, whether she’s whipping up an early-morning breakfast, prepping afterschool snacks or getting dinner on the table at 10 p.m. Dana says, “We do eat out sometimes, and even cheat with some pre-made foods. But I try to balance making delicious foods with the reality of a busy schedule.” Dana’s recipes are a great starting point to find a style of cooking that works for your family. Her advice? Keep it real—and keep it easy!