Make Your Own Yogurt

It does require some time and attention, but you can make your own yogurt fairly easily with implements and utensils at hand.

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    Make your own yogurt and you'll have a tasty, healthful treat you can serve plain or with fruit.
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    LEFT: You can make yogurt at home using ordinary cooking equipment. CENTER: Heat the milk to kill off any unwanted bacterial cultures, and then cool to around 115 degrees Fahrenheit. RIGHT : After mixing a tablespoon of fresh yogurt starter culture into each jar of milk, set the inoculated mixture in a 115-degree water-filled incubation chamber.

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  • 062 make yogurt - three panels

Do you dislike the taste of commercial yogurt (also sometimes spelled yoghurt)? You know, the "plain" varieties are too acid, while the flavored mixes are too sweet. Are you irritated by the high prices commonly charged for dinky little cartons of the creamy food? Have you wondered about making yogurt ... but decided that you didn't want to buy another electric appliance or put yourself through a complicated cooking chore?

Well, don't give up! You don't have to buy commercial yogurt, and you darn sure don't need a store-bought appliance to make your own! I know: I've been making and enjoying a gallon of  inexpensive, mild, and healthy yogurt every four or five days for more than six years! And you can do the same — easily and successfully — even if you're not a whiz in the kitchen. (For that matter, even if you're one of the original old hands at yogurt making, keep reading, you may still learn a trick or two.)

Good and Good for You

Before I tell you how to make yogurt at home, let me share the many health-related reasons for eating the ancient Middle Eastern food in the first place. Or rather in the second place ... The primary reason for eating homemade yogurt is that the creamy treat tastes great! The story begins with the tiny organisms that convert milk to yogurt: primarily varieties of lactobacillus bacteria. The friendly little cusses like to set up a living factory in your digestive system and continuously produce an onslaught of B vitamins, which can help combat nervous disorders, mental and physical fatigue, anemia, skin rashes, and more.

The lactobacilli thrive — and make yogurt — by converting milk sugar (lactose) into lactic acid. Lactic acid produces yet another of yogurt's amazing health benefits: The toxic bacteria that cause intestinal gas and putrefaction (the rotting decomposition of food) cannot survive in an environment containing significant amounts of lactic acid. The resulting lack of toxic organisms in the metabolism may be one reason for the long and vigorous lives of the people in yogurt-loving societies.

This double whammy effect of lactobacilli — creating good vitamins while eliminating bad bacteria — is especially helpful after someone has taken antibiotics. The germ-killing medicines may successfully combat an unwanted disease, but they also tend to wipe out the body's supply of internal lactobacilli and leave the treated patient susceptible to B-deficiency and intestinal problems. Therefore, sick folk (especially "bugridden" infants) should be given yogurt as an important health-restoring food.

On top of all of its positive effects, the fermented milk product is a digestive aid that helps the body absorb protein, calcium, and iron. In fact, many people who literally can't stomach fresh milk (the lactose present in the drink gives lactose intolerant people gas, diarrhea, and other problems) can easily assimilate the healthful lactic acid found in yogurt.

Charla Shamhart
1/28/2012 6:12:49 AM

You say at the beginning of the article "yogurt (also sometimes spelled yoghurt)." The German spelling of yogurt is JOGHURT, pronounced 'yogurt' so the spelling is optional.

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