I have been making my own yogurt weekly for at least three months. Not only is yogurt making economical and nutritious, but also fairly easy after you get the routine down. If you don't use gelatin in it, you can also make your own cream cheese. This week I will tell you my frugal tips in yogurt making and next week I'll tell you my process.
FRUGAL TIPS FOR YOGURT MAKING:
1. Stretch your starter. In order to make yogurt you need a couple of tablespoons fresh starter; this can be either commercial yogurt with live cultures, or five-day-or-less old homemade (but then you can only repeat that four times). But a little known secret is that you can freeze yogurt without killing the cultures. So what I do is when I get my tub of commercial yogurt home from the store I measure it out by tablespoons into ice cube trays and freeze it. After it freezes I put it in a freezer zipper bag to keep it fresh. The morning before I make yogurt I put a couple cubes in a bowl to thaw and then use it like normal starter. It works every time.
2. You don't need a yogurt maker. Although helpful, these are unnecessary and just take up more room in your kitchen. I wrap my two quart canning jar in a old blanket and set it on top of a heating pad set on low. Leave it for 8 hours and it is done!
3. You can use reconstituted dry milk. When I first started making yogurt I used the recipe out of the More with Less Cookbook. It used 6 cups water (heated to 125F), 3 cups powdered milk, and either 1 cup scalded whole milk or 1 can evaporated milk. It wasn't as creamy but it tasted the same as using fresh milk.
Next week I will tell you my process and give you some great recipes for using yogurt and making yogurt cheese.