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Reader Tip: We save $200 per year by making our own yogurt


Here’s a great tip submitted by Robyn:

I save at least $200 per year by making my own yogurt rather than buying it from the store. A couple of years ago I spent about $30 on a yogurt maker (I have the Euro Cuisine YM-80, that can be found at Amazon.com), so there was some initial investment but it has more than paid for itself.

To make a batch of yogurt, I use 42 oz. of milk and 6 oz. of yogurt (usually saved from the previous batch). It “cooks” for 8 to 10 hours in the yogurt maker, requiring no attention during that time. When it’s done, I have seven 6-oz. jars of yogurt ready to go in the fridge! One jar goes to start the next batch, so from 42 oz. of milk I get 36 oz. of yogurt that we’ll eat.

I buy milk at Sam’s Club for $2.88 (whole) or $2.78 (2%) per gallon, so my cost per jar of yogurt is about $0.28. I used to pay $0.08 per ounce for the yogurt my husband liked, and about $0.11 per oz. for plain whole milk yogurt for the baby. This week, I saw a package of 6-oz. yogurt cups at Sam’s Club for $.07 per ounce, and my $200 calculation is based on that number and the assumption that I make an average of two batches of yogurt per week.

As an added bonus, my family is now eating plain yogurt with no added colors, preservatives, artificial flavors or sweeteners. Everyone loves it plain, or sometimes we add our own flavorings like honey and mashed banana, applesauce and cinnamon, berries, or whatever else we have around. Also, I haven’t tried these myself but the manual mentions that it’s possible to make flavored yogurt and to make yogurt from a number of milk substitutes. -Robyn

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126 Comments

  • Stefanie says:

    Is it possible to make Soy Yogurt? My daughter is allergic to dairy and all the soy yogurts out there are full of sugar!

  • AMBER says:

    Oh my word! That’s a great tip! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Nicole says:

    I’m a little confused. If the milk you buy is 2.88 a gallon, how do you get each jar to cost about 28 cents? If the milk gallon is 2.88 divided by 36 ounces of yogurt, that comes out to 8 cents per ounce, so wouldn’t that be 48 cents per jar? Maybe I’m just not understanding the math of it!
    I do have friends who make their own yogurt and they do so for the health reasons. I applaude you for that!

    • Ann Marie says:

      I am having trouble with the math as well. She buys a gallon at $2.88 but a gallon is 128 ounces and she only uses 42 ounces. So I thought maybe she only counted the price of the 42 ounces which is 42/128 * $2.88 = $0.95. But $0.95 for 6 jars is only 16 cents a jar.

      • Patti says:

        It would be .$95 for 7 jars of six ounces each. If you divide $.95 by 7 you will pay 13 cents for each jar (regardless of what you do with it). If you divide the price of the jar by the 6 ounces you will pay approximately 2 cents per ounce. She is comparing that price to the 7 cents per ounce at Sam’s or the 8 cents per ounce she was buying elsewhere.

        • Alison Armstrong says:

          I thought she said her cost per jar of yogurt is .28 (“so my cost per jar of yogurt is about $0.28”) If you divide that by 6 oz in the jar it is almost .05 per oz. saving .02-.03 per oz.

          • Ann Marie says:

            I just had trouble figuring out where she got her initial 28 cent figure. She said she buys milk for $2.88 “so my cost per jar of yogurt is about $0.28.” But 28 cents multiple by 6 jars (not 7 because “One jar goes to start the next batch, so from 42 oz. of milk I get 36 oz. of yogurt that we’ll eat”) you get $1.68 cents. I know she only uses 42 ounces of milk, not a gallon, but 42 ounces of milk only costs $0.95. So how did she calculate a cost of 28 cents per jar?

    • Robyn says:

      I apologize — somehow I messed up my numbers as I typed things up.

      Here’s how I calculated:
      $2.88/gallon (whole milk) = $.02 per ounce (rounding to the nearest cent)
      42 ounces of milk per batch of yogurt: $0.02 x 42 = $0.84 per batch
      $0.84 per batch / 6 jars per batch (not counting the seventh for starter) = $0.14 per jar

      Somehow I must have doubled that when transferring my numbers. Sorry about that!

  • Lisa says:

    I know you can make yoghurt in your crock pot too but what i was wondering if you or anyone knows can you make lactose free yogurt in the same way, I mean i know how to make lactose free milk, will it work the same i wonder?

    • Noah says:

      You can use lactose free milk to make yogurt. Just add the lactase drops and let sit for 24 hours before making into yogurt.

    • Jenna says:

      I have been told that if you let the yogurt ferment for a full 24 hours (most recipes only require 8-12 hours) ALL of the lactose in the milk is destroyed by the yogurt cultures, so then you have awesome healthy lactose free yogurt. I can’t prove the science… but that is what I was told by a health guru. Good luck!

      • Leah says:

        Yes, that’s true. Most people w/ a lactose intolerance can tolerate yogurt that’s been cultured 24 hours. This is because yogurt is cultured when lactase eats the lactose in the milk. The longer you let the milk culture, the more lactose is consumed. It’s for the same reason that some people can tolerate raw milk but not pasteurized (lactose is consumed by other enzymes).

      • Jennifer H. says:

        Agreed, it’s true! I follow the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for colon problems http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.info/beginners_guide/yoghurt/yoghurt.htm and homemade yogurt is a crucial aspect to gut healing due to the probiotics. Because I can’t digest complex carbs, starches, and any sugar except monosaccharides, I can’t digest lactose.

        I start with commercial whole cow’s milk (I need the calories!) and I let it ferment for 24-29 hours in my yogurt maker. My husband and I had to make yogurt batches every 2 days just for my dietary needs, but we devised a way to make 1/2 gallon at once now. 🙂

  • Tracy says:

    If you own a crockpot, you can make yogurt the same way.
    http://www.nourishingdays.com/2009/02/make-yogurt-in-your-crock-pot/

    I love being able to use the appliances I have on hand for more than one purpose 🙂

  • K says:

    This is such a great idea, thanks for sharing!

    I love that you mentioned the milk alternative at the end, because that was my first question. Looks like I’ll be investing in a yogurt maker soon!

  • Rhonda says:

    You can also make the yogurt in a crockpot so you wouldn’t have to pay the cost of the electric yogurt makes up front.

    • Or, you could do it on the stove, which means fewer dishes to wash! (Well, none, actually.)

      I strain some of my homemade yogurt and turn it into our “sour cream” substitute. I use it for everything I would use sour cream for, and that probably saves us $4 a month. But, yeah, I just do it for fun!

      Directions and links to more directions here: http://kelleighratzlaff.com/life/homemade-yogurt-adventures/

      • Jiya says:

        I was going to suggest the stovetop method too! I haven’t checked your link, but I have one tip for those who live in a cold climate. In the hot weather I can leave my yogurt after cooking to firm up, but in the winter time I put it on a heating pad set on low to keep it warm while to firms up. I’ve also heard you can keep it in a slightly warm oven to do the same thing but I’ve never been able to get that to work.

        • Corrine says:

          I do the stovetop method but put the yogurt into warm jars and put them into a picnic cooler with hot tap water. Works great and nothing plugged in!

    • Robyn says:

      Definitely an option! I looked into it and decided that for me, with two small kids running around and a house that’s never clean enough, it was worth the money for the yogurt maker. The methods I read about with a crockpot, cooler, oven, etc. all talked about checking and adjusting the temperature throughout cooking and I knew I’d never actually stick to doing that. I should have mentioned it as an option, though, and I’m glad others have brought it up!

  • Denise says:

    I too have the same yogurt maker, found it on clearance for 19.99 many years ago, I also have a extra set of jars hubby got me for Xmas one year , so I can make 14 six ounce portions each week, I eat at least 2 or sometimes 3 a day. I use 1 percent milk, I like the thicker consistancy.

  • Terri says:

    I make my own yogurt as well but I use my crock pot. and can make about a quart and a half for about $2.50. keeps for about 10 days in the frig. its wonderful. Check it out. http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2008/10/you-can-make-yogurt-in-your-crockpot.html

  • lacey says:

    was wondering if you can make yogurt from fat-free or 1% milk

    • Megan says:

      Yup, it just won’t be as rich and delicious. You can add gelatin if you want to thicken it up.

      • Jessica says:

        Or you can strain it through cheese cloth to make it thick like greek!!!

      • Casey says:

        I’m curious about the gelatin, when do you add it? I’m using a crockpot, not the yogurt maker. Do you add the gelatin before the incubation period? Do you mix gelatin with boiling water first (if so how much?) Or do you just add the gelatin directly to the warm milk? How much gelatin? I bought the Knox brand unflavored gelatin. It’s a box with either 2 or 4 (can’t remember now) packets in it. Any thoughts/advice? Thanks so much in advance!

        • Megan says:

          I’ve never tried this since I always use 2%, but I’ve read about it so a Google search would likely turn up some good recipes. I think you’d probably mix a packet in after you had heated/cooled the milk and added the starter. That’s what I’d try if I was experimenting, but it’s probably safest to find a recipe that uses gelatin online before risking all that milk 😉 Good luck! And do post back if you give it a try as I’m sure others would like to know what you find.

    • Daina says:

      We make it with skim for the adults in the house… we add dry milk powder to make a nice, thick consistency. It comes out thick (similar to Greek yogurt) without us having to strain it.

  • Sasha says:

    Is the consistency of your yogurt the same as store-bought? I have a yogurt maker so I can make yogurt with organic milk cheaper than my favorite Stonyfield farm yogurt. My yogurt comes out very runny though. I tried adding pectin once as several kinds of organic yogurt have that as an ingredient, but it didn’t help. I’ve read about using powdered milk, but I haven’t found any organic powdered milk in stores yet. Any suggestions?

    • Jen says:

      If you want thicker, greek style yogurt, simple strain it once it’s made. I make yogurt all the time and if it’s a little runny, I just strain it! I freeze my starter yogurt if I am going to wait inbetween making it. We eat a lot of yogurt. I just add frozen fruit & Grape Nuts cereal on top for a treat for my kids. Generally, I make it plan and add flavor later. We sometimes add chunky homemade Peach Jelly, honey, vanilla etc. I use it in cooking also. Been making it for years and never thought of it as a “Great Tip”

      • Sasha says:

        I didn’t want to strain it because of all the good stuff that must be in the liquid, but I guess that would be the trade off.

        • Ton says:

          You could use the liquid in smoothies or something–you wouldn’t need to throw it out.

        • JC. says:

          I just add about a cup of non-fat dry milk to my crockpot yogurt & it’s completely thick, even when I use 1% milk–just like the stuff from the store with gelatin. Straining is too time-consuming for me, so I’m glad this works!

    • Meredith says:

      Organic Valley does make dried milk – I know that they carry it at our local Whole Foods (Northern CO) and I think they might have it at our local natural foods store (Natural Grocers/Vitamin Cottage). You might be able to ask a manager to carry it for you if you have a health foods store nearby. HTH!

    • I don’t know how the yogurt maker works exactly, but when I make yogurt, the two things I have found that help get a thicker consistency is to hold it at the 170-180 temperature for a few minutes before letting it cool and adding the starter, and letting it sit for longer. I think when I first started making yogurt, I was letting it sit for about 8 hours, now I do 10-11.

      I like using those methods to thicken it, because I don’t have to buy additional ingredients, and also because I do organic milk for health reasons, so trying to find organic, hormone-free powdered milk sounds like a lot of work (and $$!)

      I wrote a post with how I do things here if you’re interested:
      http://psalms34verse8.blogspot.com/2011/03/how-i-made-yogurt.html

    • ksenia says:

      Just add a litle dry milk!

    • Jennifer H. says:

      Using higher-fat milk will certainly yield thicker yogurt. It doesn’t work well with skim or 1%, but 2% and whole work well for me.

  • Jessica says:

    I also do not see how this would be a cost savings. I buy Yoplait original yogurt from Sam’s Club for my husband, and based on my own calculations, this would only save us $25 a year. Since we would have to buy a yogurt maker, we wouldn’t see any cost benefit the first year at all, plus we would be paying extra for him to add fruit to it. I think it’s cost to homemake items, but for those who are only looking for cost benefit, this would not be worth it. I care so much about homemade items (more than the cost), but we’re currently working on decreasing our household budget so I can’t really propose doing this 🙂 Thanks for the story, though!

    • Crystal says:

      This would probably only be a big cost savings if you usually buy a lot of yogurt — as it sounds like this reader usually did. Other than that, it might not be worth it. Though I have to say, it is really cool to make your own yogurt sometimes, just for the fun of doing something like it from scratch!

    • Karen says:

      You wouldn’t have the cost of buying the yogurt maker if you use your crockpot. Or there are stovetop, oven, or heating pad methods of making yogurt.

      And we too go through a LOT of yogurt at our house. 🙂

    • Abby says:

      I make my own Yogurt as well, and I use my crockpot so you don’t need to buy a yogurt maker. I liked Yoplait yogurt, until I saw all the ingredients: High fructose corn syrup, preservatives, food coloring… to me it has everything but yogurt.

      I just preffer to make my own yogurt because it’s healthier and I love the flavor. It’s easy too, I just heat the milk, let it seat until is warm (body temperature) and I put some plain yogurt in it. I wrap the slowcocker with towels and I leave it overnight. The next morning I have yogurt. 🙂

      • Jessica says:

        I do like the idea of making things by hand – I make my own laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, granola bars (instead of buying the FiberOne bars at Sam’s :)) and used to make my own dryer sheets but now we’ve put up a clothesline in our apt. But cost-wise alone, this isn’t effective for me personally. We eat organic food so if I wasn’t keeping my purse strings so tight, trust me, I would make this! It just depends on what your goals are – if you want to know where your food is coming from and know that the freshest, best ingredients are used, definitely make your own. But if you’re trying to really decrease your budget, some things are better to buy. For this shopper, it was better to make her own because she figured she was saving.

    • Jessica says:

      I make yogurt with the stove and oven. It is soooo simple and I make it Vanilla. But I don’t put 6 0z of yogurt to 42 oz. I usually use the last third of a gallon to make the yogurt and then just put a large spoonful in and whisk it in real good.

    • lyss says:

      Personally, I think that a savings per year is a funny way to look at it, since not everyone consumes the same amount of yogurt! And I also don’t understand her calculating.
      But a simple way I calculate how much homemade yogurt costs is just the price of the milk I use. So if I use milk that costs 2.88 a gal, then I would get about a gal. of yogurt for 2.88. Which means .72 per quart, or about .13 per 6 oz. serving. I’ve never seen yogurt that cheap!
      Of course, you need to factor in the yogurt you start with, any sweeteners or additives, and the investment of a yogurt maker if you choose to use one. So to really save money on this you have to like plain yogurt and make it in the oven or crockpot you already own. If you want to invest in an appliance you’ll hardly ever use, then, no homemade may not save you any money.

    • ksenia says:

      The savings are not really worth it if you buy the least expensive yogurt out there, but if you want better quality yogurt — this will save you money and is great quality. Yoplait has some not so good for you ingredients that shouldn’t be in food.

    • Robyn says:

      It definitely depends on how much yogurt you eat and how you like to eat it. At the time I started making yogurt, we were going through at least 18 ounces of yogurt in a day — and part of that was whole milk yogurt for the baby, which cost more because I couldn’t find an inexpensive option without all of the added sweeteners. The “baby” (now almost 3) still loves plain unflavored yogurt — he actually asks me not to put anything in it. My husband mostly likes his plain, but sometimes adds some fruit. If he wasn’t adding it to the yogurt, though, he’d eat it plain.

      I know there are methods for making yogurt without a yogurt maker (or you could always look on Craigslist!) but I didn’t feel I would be likely to stick with any of those methods consistently. For me personally, the yogurt maker was well worth the investment — but for others the other methods might be the better value.

  • Ann says:

    I make yogurt in my picnic cooler! =) Same method as most…boil milk, cool to about 110 deg, add in culture or yogurt, put in container, put in cooler, on the side I put 2 glasses of very hot water. Close the lid, the yogurt is done in 4-6 hours.=) and the consistency is the same as store bought. We add fruits and homemade granola on it for a nice breakfast.

  • Jen says:

    I have been making yogurt for years. Never thought of it as a great tip before!

  • Chris says:

    Can you make it with Almond milk? I don’t do dairy or soy.

  • gina says:

    Any way to make greek yogurt at home?

  • Holly says:

    I have been making our yogurt for a while now and LOVE it!!! However…when you are using a “leftover” jar of yogurt to make you new batch….you should ALWAYS use a NEW culture or 3 tbsp. of store bought plain yogurt (Dannon has the most active and live cultures based on a study I read…so it’s what I use.) after making 4 batches using a “leftover” starter. After time the starter will lose it’s “activeness” due to the culturing process the yogurt goes through while in the “cooker”.

    I make ours in a cooler (made into an incubator) overnight. It’s so darn simple and fuss free!! I love it!!! Here’s a link to the place I found the original recipe that I have been using for quite some time.

    Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wH2aGNMiPYs

    Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOVy7Yz20VY&feature=related

    You can also use milk that is just about to expire (i.e. manager’s specials) as it will be “cultured” and made into yogurt! Making the cost per batch of yogurt really low! ;0)

    Happy yogurt making all!

    • Robyn says:

      For me the primary factor in keeping the starter “alive” seems to be how long it’s been in the fridge. If I’m making yogurt every few days, I have no trouble keeping it going with my own starter. If I wait more than about a week between batches, then I notice the yogurt doesn’t seem to come out as well. I’ve occasionally had to buy a new starter because I lose track of things and forget to save a jar, but in about two years I’ve only had a failed batch once and I think it was because I let the previous batch (from which I got my starter) “cook” much too long by mistake.

      That’s purely based on personal observation; no scientific data or anything.

  • Jen says:

    Yogurt is super easy to make – with no additional tools. I buy 1/2 gallon of 1% milk, heat it up on the stove to 180 degrees and then let it cool to 115%. I whisk in a small container of plain yogurt, pour the mixture through a sieve into a glass container, wrap it in beach towels and stick it in my oven. Leave the oven light on. I typically make this in the evening while we’re cleaning up from dinner. I let the mixture sit in the oven overnight and have plain yogurt the next day. I always reserve a cup to start my next batch (in place of the store-bought container). We flavor it with fruit or honey and my kids love to mix in a tiny bit of jello mix for flavor. We use it in smoothies – it’s crazy how quickly we go through 1/2 gallon!

    • Jessica says:

      I add 1/4 cup of sugar while heating and fruit or vanilla before I put it in jars in the oven. Works great, although starwberries get a little discolored but still tastes good.

    • amy says:

      do you double boiler it? do you have to worry about scalding or curddling if not?

    • Denise says:

      I actually start my yogurt in the microwave instead of on the stove top…it’s even simpler. I make a little over 3 quarts in a glass pyrex container. I microwave it for about 25 minutes. Then I just take it out and set it on the counter until it reaches between 110 and 115 degrees F, and add my yogurt starter. (I usually use a small container of yogurt as a starter). I leave it out overnight or sometimes longer. It works GREAT!

  • Karen says:

    For those who may not know, you can also use a crockpot, stovetop, oven, or even a heating pad to make yogurt. Many have already linked to crockpot instructions. You can google the other methods, although the heating pad method is used by Alton Brown on the Food Network program Good Eats, and by Amy Dacyzyn in the book The Complete Tightwad Gazette.

    • Lori F. says:

      I use a heating pad set on the lowest setting wrapped around a quart canning jar. I let this incubate on the kitchen counter overnight and in the morning I have organic yogurt for much less than the cost of a quart of organic yogurt from the gorcery store. Here, a quart of organic yogurt is $3.69. I can purchase 1/2 gallon of organic milk for the same price which makes twice the amount of yogurt.

  • Laurel says:

    I would LOVE to be able to make my own yogurt! Thank you for the tips, ladies!!!

  • Laurel says:

    I also am very interested in making my own ice crea,and/or sherbert. Any tips on this endeavor?

    • Emma K says:

      I was given an icecream maker as a wedding gift about 8 years ago. I think it is Cuisinart. We use it occasionally but I need to look into more recipes. The ones I made in the past called for half an half or a creamer that at that point in our lives we weren’t buying except to make icecream. But now that we have kids I think that we will start making it more often.

  • Rebecca says:

    I will not knock the health benefits or the satisfaction of making things yourself, but I regularly get 60z yogurts for $0.25 or less with coupons…so I don’t think I would see the savings myself. Thanks for the idea though…will definitely try it sometime just to make homemade yogurt!

  • Erin says:

    Just curious- was the cost of electricity used to power the maker factored in? I imagine that, with as much as she says she uses the maker, it must be at least $4 or $5 a dollar (or $48-$60 a year.)

    • Kate says:

      My yogurt maker is a 9 watt machine, so electricity costs about 8 cents per kilowatt hour. So if the yogurt must culture for 8 hours it ends up costing less than a penny in electricity to make a batch of yogurt. Yogurt makers are very low wattage machines that just don’t utilize much power. It doesn’t have to maintain a very high temperature.

  • Erin says:

    $4 or $5 a month

  • Meghna says:

    I make my own yogurt…with 2 % milk without any added gelatin etc. As many of you mentioned, boil milk, cool it, when it’s warm add some culture, pour into cups, leave it in the oven ( I have found leaving the oven light on helps) overnight and then straight into the fridge. I usually pour out the liquid formed above the yogurt before putting it into the fridge. You can add fruit, flavor, sugar etc. just before you pour your yogurt into the cups. This way I make yogurt just when I want to or when the milk is expiring soon. This does not take loads of time and we get to eat fresh, and less costly yogurt!! There are many videos on youtube etc. showing how to make yogurt. My yogurt stays really good for more then two weeks!!! A friend mentioned that she freezes her store bought organic yogurt or any other form in small batches and uses them as culture. I have a very lovely neighbour who provides me with culture so I haven’t tried the freeze method.

    Thanks crystal for bringing this topic up. It’s very helpful to read what everyone else out there does to save money and live healthy.

  • Would love to know how to make yogurt in the crockpot. We have goats and I want to make my own yogurt from their milk.

  • Julie says:

    I make homemade yogurt about twice a month in the crockpot since my baby boy LOVES his yogurt and I don’t want him getting all the yucky unhealthy stuff that’s in a lot of store bought yogurts these days…plus it’s way cheaper!!

    I use this recipe for my homemade yogurt: http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2008/10/you-can-make-yogurt-in-your-crockpot.html

    Next step is to start straining it through some cheesecloth I’ve bought to make Greek yogurt and yogurt cheese!!

  • Jen says:

    Personally, this wouldn’t save me much money at all. Milk is more expensive here (at least $3.50/gallon) and I can usually get yogurt for almost free by combining sales and coupons. I know there are health benefits of having the homemade kind, but if we’re just talking about saving money, it’s cheaper for me to buy the yogurt.

  • I love making my own yogurt! We do save SO MUCH MONEY! We eat a lot of yogurt! Here’s how I make it in the crockpot! http://www.ourpeacefulhome.com/2011/04/diy-may-your-own-yogurt-in-crockpot.html

  • painted bird says:

    Someone told me that real yogurt is made by the bacteria of worms. How is it possible to make yogurt just like the store bought ones?

    • vicki says:

      its not the bacteria from worms… its just bacteria. bacteria is what makes yogurt yogurt and not curdled milk. yogurt is made by bacteria undergoing fermentation. she says to add in some store bought yogurt to your batch. the bacteria in the store bought yogurt will multiply and ferment your yogurt. if you dont add in store bought yogurt, you wont end up with yogurt.. youll end up with curdled milk!

      • lisa says:

        Yes, and, the bacteria is good bacteria. The kind that a healthy gut needs to work well. Another added benefit: way less sugar than most store-bought and, using a starter with 6 cultures, way more health benefits than the typical store brand or Yoplait variety.

        It’s wonderful to add to smoothies too. :o)

        Lisa

    • Acidophilius is the good bacteria in yogurt that helps your intestines digestfood. It is also helpful in restoring that good bacteria after you have been sick (as in, throwing up), as well as helping to fight off yeast infections. It is known as a pro-biotic.

      You can look it up to learn more; here is a little: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acidophilus

      http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/lactobacillus/NS_patient-acidophilus

      I just use acidophilus (from the health food store, in a liquid version, to make my yogurt in my oven (it actually smells like yogurt). There is a powdered version as well, but the liquid does great. I use this instead of store-bought yogurt as a starter; I use about 1 tsp per quart of milk.

    • Go to the store and read the label on the yogurt you see. It will say lactobacillus acidophilus, most likely. This is an acid-loving, lactose-eating bacteria. It’s not from worms and is good for your digestive system. Look it up on wikipedia. And do not believe all the weird things people tell you! 🙂

  • Evie says:

    I make my own yogurt too. I also make frozen yogurt out of it… it is way cheaper then any store bought even with coupon. I agree with PP though after a few times of using previous starter, you need to get new starter mix. I get a box of starter from my health food store. A box for $6.00 usually last me for a few months.

  • Need A Nap2 says:

    I hope someone could help me. Our oldest is a type 1 diabetic so we have to do carb counting to calculate her insulin. It’s convenient to buy premade LIGHT yogurt b/c it’s less carbs than regular and the carb count is right there on the package. What would the carb count be for homemade yogurt?? [Maybe like other things, I would just take the milk carbs and pre-made yogurt carbs added together then divided by # of servings of yogurt yielded?]

    • Darlene says:

      That’s what we would do. Our son is Td1 also, for 13 years now.

    • KimH says:

      According to much of the lowcarb and diabetes community, the carbs that are calculated in yogurt are actually not correct and cant accurately be calculated because of the process of lactose conversion.. You can do a google search and see what others have to say.. Most people I know use about half the carbs of the amount of milk & yogurt for the finished product.

  • A N says:

    I was going to send in this tip too (but didn’t make the time) Maybe this’ll be helpful for someone…

    We also have that yogurt maker and one of it’s benefits is you can use any glass bowl that fits inside to make the yogurt – which means you can make more yogurt at one time w/the bowl vs. the individual jars.

    We’ve made this dairy free using soy milk – though it comes out thinner (we could strain it but we just add ground coconut to thicken it, give it flavor and calories for our skinny girl). We do use a Dannon starter which adds a miniscule amount of lactose (yogurt is naturally low in lactose).

    My calculations for the cost savings: 1 gallon milk is about $3 for 128 oz. I can buy a ?32? oz container for $1.50 ($1.50 x 4 = $6) so a $3 savings minus electricity per gallon of yogurt. However the cost savings goes up if you’d be buying whole, organic or soy yogurt which is more expensive. That said, you do need to eat a lot of yogurt to save $100 a year.

    Though if you think about it store bought flavored yogurt is adding sugar which is cheap per pound – so you’re not getting 100% yogurt 🙂

  • Naomi says:

    If you use milk that’s expiring in two or three days, would that mean that the yogurt also would only be good for those those two or three days?

    • Jennifer says:

      It is my understanding that once you introduce the yogurt bacteria and they populate the milk, the environment becomes uninviting for harmful bacteria. That is why yogurt has a longer life than milk.

      I have made yogurt with milk that was just beginning to sour. I heated the milk to kill any existing germs and made the yogurt as usual. I did not notice that it had a shorter life (nor did I become ill).

      The only time I had yogurt go bad, it became visibly moldy. It had been in the fridge for over a month and I had scooped from the container(probably what introduced the spores). Other bottles the same age that were undisturbed were fine. I ate them, they tasted right, and I was not sick.

      Also, it is my understanding that the expiration date does not mean the milk will be bad on that date. It is a guide for stores to know when to sell the milk for peak flavor(not sour). The souring of milk has a lot more to do with its handling. In most of my experience milk sours within a few days of the printed date, but I had one lucky gallon that didn’t even sour over a week after, and we drank it so I couldn’t tell you how long it could’ve gone.

      This is based on my experience and understanding, so take it for what its worth. You may want to do your own research. 🙂

  • Meredith says:

    I am totally looking into this asap – I am just really starting to learn about commercially-made foods (we take so much for granted!) – I totally did NOT realize that the yogurt you buy in plastic containers in the store is actually COOKED IN those plastic containers! EW! We are big on not heating in plastic or putting anything above room temp in plastic – so that totally freaks me out. I don’t care if I’m paying a little more for yogurt – in my family’s best interest, I’m ready to start making it in glass jars. I know there is ONE SMALL organic company that we can get locally that does not incubate their yogurt in their plastic containers, but I can’t think of it off the top of my head; of course it is PRICEY and there are no coupons for it… anyhow, just my two cents. Thanks for this post!!

  • Sammy says:

    You DONT need a “YOGURT MAKER” to make yogurt. Like they said you head the milk, cool it , add the culture and then you just stick it in a warm place…like your oven ( when off) and leave it overnight to set.
    If you live in a cold place it helps to keep the oven light on.

  • Mamalissa says:

    I have a large family (11 children, 10 at home, 1 married) and we make our yogurt in gallon sized batches using a five gallon water cooler for the incubation period. Here’s our recipe…
    1 gallon of milk heated to 160 degrees, then add softened gelatin (3 TBSP unflavored gelatin that has softened in a 1/2 cup cool water). Stir or whisk really well and continue to heat until 180 degrees. At 180 degrees turn off heat source and cool the mixture down by placing the pan of milk in a sink of cool water. When the temperature reaches 130 degrees, whisk in 1/2 cup of yogurt (store or some leftover from a previous batch), 1 TBSP of vanilla and 1 cup of sugar (if you want it sweetened). Whisk all of these additions into the milk really well, then pour the whole thing into a one gallon ice cream bucket. Place the bucket into a five gallon cooler (no water added) and place on the lid. Now you just walk away and leave it to incubate for 6 hours. If left longer it will get more sour. This method has worked for us every time. Just be sure to place the five gallon cooler somewhere you will remember to check on it. 🙂 When done the yogurt will be somewhat runny, but just place in the fridge and the next day use a blender to mix it up and it’s ready to eat! 🙂
    I love all the comments….I love saving money!! 🙂

  • Mary Kay says:

    I like many aspects of this. You are saving money. You are probably consuming much healthier yogurt (it seems as if the yogurt being sold in the grocery is becoming more adulterated all the time). You are not throwing away dozens of plastic yogurt containers every week (even when you recycle them, which we do, I don’t think that is nearly as good for the environment as the containers never being produced).

  • Holly says:

    What about all the lie active cultures? would you have to buy these to add to your yogurt?

  • Sarah says:

    I love everyone’s comments on this post! I’ve been considering making yogurt after getting more and more disgusted by the ingredients of store-bought. I just hadn’t gone as far as researching how to do it yet. That was on my to-do list for the week! I had NO IDEA you could make it in a crockpot. That is just awesome. I am going to buy some plain yogurt today to try it! Thanks, all!!

  • Becky says:

    I actually tried this. It wasn’t for me. Homemade yogurt doesn’t have the same consistency and taste of store bought yogurt. I tried it for several months, trying to get used to the new flavor and couldn’t do it. Homemade yogurt spoiled in the fridge. Before anyone buys a yogurt maker, PLEASE try it in your crockpot or other method. It also doesn’t always turn out right. Yes, even my store bought yogurt maker said it didn’t always make right! The spoilage, plus the waste of milk from not making right didn’t make financial sense to me. Coupons are better!

    • Kristine says:

      I have a store-bought yogurt maker and have never had any problems with it. The homemade yogurt from it tastes just like store-bought plain yogurt.

  • sathiya says:

    Hi. I am a South Asian and we make home made yoghurt all the time.

    Funny that there is even a yoghurt maker. Actually you dont need one to make youghurt.

    Just boil milk in a container by putting it on the stove. Let it cool down but not all the way. When it is lukewarm or midly hot just add two spoons of plain youghurt from a previuos batch or from a store bought plain yoghurt and stir it in.

    Set aside and you will have yoghurt ready in abt 8 to 12 hours.

    As simple as that. Dont need a yoghurt maker.

  • Megan says:

    For the time/energy it would take me to make this, I’d rather just coupon my YoPlus yogurt at Publix BOGO…..I only buy it when it is on sale and I have coupons. Lately it has been free, but at most for four, 4 oz containers that come in the package, I pay $0.25. That makes my per ounce price, $0.015625.

  • Melanie says:

    Here’s a great tutorial on making your own yogurt using the stove top & cooler with no dishes to clean up!! Healthy and delicious. And it saves us money, but I don’t know how much per serving or anything like that!

    http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2009/04/13/monday-mission-homemade-yogurt-the-easy-way/

    Works every time . . . enjoy!

  • Laura says:

    the current issue of Cuisine At Home Magazine has an article on making yogurt at home & even shows how to use your crockpot instead of purchasing a yogurt maker….in case anyone is interested 🙂

  • Erika says:

    I have purchased my own Yogurt maker also, and it is Great! I make my own yo-baby organic yogurt at a fraction of the cost. I use whole organic milk and after the yogurt is done, I add some finely diced strawberries that I mixed with (organic-non-processed) sugar to form a syrup. I add a tablespoon of that to the yogurt, and she loves it! I can also add baby food, applesauce, honey (she is over 1 year old), or other fruit.
    It is also great to make yogurt when i have a surplus of milk if i got it on sale. Smart Bal w coupons is super inexpensive! I do add some powdered milk to increase the consistancy.
    I have read of some yogurt starters available online that can make yogurt on the countertop, so no need to buy the maker.

  • naomi says:

    I’m just wondering if any one calculates the cost to the environment in using multiple 6 oz. containers? I love making yogurt from scratch. I found a cheapy maker at a sale and love it!

  • Jerilyn says:

    We make our own too, and have been for over 3 years. When we switched to raw milk last year ($8/gal), I was just going to buy store bought yogurt because of the price per milk. I was shocked when I saw the prices at the store! For good quality, no dyes, sugars, etc. yogurt it was not cheaper- and it wasn’t even organic yogurt I was looking at.

    I make mine in the crock pot and strain it. I use the whey (liquid) for all sorts of things: soaking my grains, lacto-fermentation, etc.

    I don’t see it as a money saving issue, per say, but it is better for the environment (no little plastic cups) and it is so easy to provide my family food without fillers.

  • KimH says:

    I didnt see anyone else who makes their own yogurt cover this so..

    1. I dont boil my milk.. I just bring it to room temperature or a little warmer on the stove if its cold.. and add a couple heaping tablespoons of starter yogurt..

    2. I use organic 1/2 Half & Half and the other half organic Heavy Whipping Cream, let it go for 9-10 hours and it turns out super thick and deliciously rich. Its so thick that I can scoop a spoon of it out of the cup & hold my spoon upside down and it will never fall off, its that thick.

    I use a Yo-Life yogurt maker for convenience and it comes with 7 glass jars and 2 sized covers so you can use your own larger containers if you wish. http://www.tribestlife.com/productcart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=233
    (got mine from Amazon)
    Many years ago I made mine in my gas oven with only the pilot light for a heat source.. it always worked perfectly. No muss, no fuss, however many newer gas ovens dont have an active pilot light these days. You might also try setting your culture on top of your hot water heater if you want to experiment.

    I decided to start making my own yogurt because you cant find whole milk/cream yogurt anymore. I refuse to consume any fat free or reduced fat products. Never have, never will.

    Home-made tastes so much better than store bought and it doesnt have the sugar & commercial stuff either.

    The amount of carbohydrates (natural sugars) are significantly lower in heavy whipping cream & half & half than they are in whole Vitamin D added milk and 2%. If you are looking for very low carb/sugars yogurt the heavier/richer the milk, the better off you are.

    Per the USDA Nutrition Databank (http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/index.html) , Here are the comparisons per 1 cup each.

    Heavy cream- 414 calories, 2.46 protein, 3.35 total carbs
    half & half- 315 calories, 7.16 protein, 10.41 carbs
    Vit D added (red cap) milk-149 calories, 7.69 protein, 12.32 carbs
    protein fortified 2% milk-122 calories, 8.05 protein, 12.35 carbs

    If you arent a fat-phobe and are looking for the lowest carbohydrate count heavy cream is the best but it gets much thicker if you add half & half to it. As someone else said, you could also add gelatin or powdered milk.

    I also dont make my yogurt because its cheaper.. I make it because I want good old fashioned whole foods like my grandmother made & ate and I had as a child and young adult.

    And for anyone who is curious as to what that heavy cream & half & half does to my lipid counts.. Just had them checked and they’re perfect.. numbers, ratios, & triglycerides.
    My doctor told me he was envious of my LDL & vLDL. I thought that was really funny. 😀

  • I wish our milk was 2.88 – its been 4.50/gallon lately (for the cheapest store brand)!
    I love making my own yogurt – I can’t eat gelatin so homemade is cheaper than buying the good kind at the store. I found a NIB yogurt maker for $2 at the second hand store, but found the individual cups to be a hassle. I use the cooler method instead, but would buy a large container yogurt maker if I could find one cheap enough. 🙂

  • Jenne says:

    We make our yogurt in 1/2 gallon batches by placing 1/2 gallon of milk on a heating pad set to “low” for 24 hours on our kitchen counter.

  • Heather says:

    After reading this I decided I was going to do it…. so I did! On average we spend $40 a month just in yogurt and with my husband coming home from deployment that is going to go up! I made my first batch and it came out perfect but when I added sweetner and fruit it thinned out. Any suggestions on how to avoid this?

  • SallyJ says:

    I started making yogurt when I switched to organic milk and couldn’t find an organic yogurt that I liked. I use the method in the Tightwad Gazette books using a heating pad. I buy one small container of good organic yogurt and put into an ice cube tray and freeze. To make yogurt, I use one ‘cube’ of frozen starter per quart. Put the cube in a bowl and let it come to room temp. I bring my milk to temperature in the microwave (no stirring needed), cool until “baby-bottle”warm, then add the culture.Put the filled quart jars on the warm heating pad, cover the jars with my soup pot, wrap everything with a few towels and leave it alone for 8-10 hours. Hands on time is about 45 minutes. Have never had this fail. The learning curve was a bit rough – if the milk is too hot when you add the starter, you won’t get anything. If the starter is too old, the yogurt is really sour.

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