I love making homemade yogurt. It's one of those processes that makes you feel really accomplished but in reality doesn't take that much work. I love taking the time to learn how things are made and yogurt is one of the first I learned to make from scratch on my own.
While yogurt is not that expensive of an item, making it from scratch is incredibly cost effective.
Right now at Walmart a half gallon (64oz) of whole milk cost $1.13
From a half gallon of milk you usually yield a little over 32oz of yogurt, which costs $3.47 at Walmart.
That's a 67% savings.
I usually like to keep some plain yogurt on hand, even though it's great for breakfast, you can also use yogurt in a variety of savory recipes as well. It's a great substitute for sour cream. I like to add some in to my soups or pasta sauces to make them creamier. You can make it into savory dips and sauces with a little dill and garlic. Or add some lime juice and chili for a crema to top your tacos. Yogurt is used in a variety of dishes when you are cooking middle eastern or Indian dishes like butter chicken. It's great to always have some in the fridge, and when it is homemade it is much more fresh and creamy.
Half gallon of whole milk
2 tbsp yogurt
In a small bowl mix 2 tbsp of yogurt with 2 tbsp of milk and set aside.
In a large pot slowly bring the rest of the milk up to a boil while stirring frequently. As soon as it begins to boil remove from heat let it cool to 100°, this may take around an hour.
After the milk has cooled stir in the yogurt mixture. Place the lid on the pot and wrap in a towel. Leave this to sit for 8-12 hours in a warm place. An oven that is off with just the light on usually works well.
After 8 hours it should have thickened and resemble yogurt. At this point in time you have normal yogurt. There is quite a bit of whey left in the yogurt at this point, so if you would like a thicker yogurt like Greek yogurt you can strain it through a cheese cloth or tea towel for 2-4 hours or until it reaches your preferred consistency. You can place a colander over a bowl and line it with cloth, or gather the cloth and hang it to speed the process up.
(You can set the whey aside if you like and use it in baked goods or pour a little over pets food)
After it is done straining scoop the finished yogurt into a container and store in the fridge.