Bringing a little more culture in to my life

No, not the kind where you visit museums and attend slam poetry sessions.   That wouldn't work for me.  I like South Park and fart jokes. Nope, the kind of culture for your guts - yummy probiotics and friendly bacteria!

My mom bought my a yogurt maker for Christmas.  I had researched it for months and went back and forth about even keeping it on my wishlist, but I'm SO glad I did. 

It's very easy (50,000 foot level directions)- heat milk (your choice on what kind) to 185 degrees.  Remove from heat and cool until the little thermometer that comes with the machine recommends you add the culture.  Put in cups, turn machine on for 10 hrs, and walk away.

More detailed directions:
-heat 1 quart + 1 cup of milk in a clean pan until it steams and hits 185 degrees.  I also added 1/4 cup of powdered milk for a thicker consistency.
-remove from heat.  Put in thermometer that comes with the machine.  It will indicate when to add the culture.
-put 1-3 heaping TBLSP of the culture (plain store-bought yogurt, or from a previous batch of homemade, or from a purchased yogurt starter culture) in to one of the cups from the machine.  Add a little cooled milk to the culture cup and stir well. 
-Dump contents of culture cup back in to the big pot of milk and stir well.
-Transfer contents of the pot in to the 8 individual containers.
-Put lid on machine, set for 10-11 hrs*
-Walk away
-When machine beeps, transfer jars to fridge.  Let them cool for about 4 hrs before eating.
*If you're smart, you will do this about 10 hrs before you are scheduled to wake up in the morning.  Then you won't be a moron like me and have to get up at midnight to put the jars in the fridge.

I used 5 cups from my milkman milk, so $1.55 worth of milk + $.35 worth of powdered milk + ~$.15 of organic plain yogurt.  I got eight 6 oz containers of organic yogurt for $2.05 which is $.25 per jar.  Suck it grocery store.  Later this week I'm going to try it with raw milk which will increase the overall cost by $1.50 and the per-container cost to $.44.  Still better than packaged yogurt AND I'm not throwing out containers!After the yogurt has cooled in the fridge, you can add any flavorings you would like.  The texture is thick - almost like a custard.  It reminds me of the yogurt I had when we were in London & Spain; rich and creamy!  Almost like a Greek yogurt in the states, but not as tangy.

Now, for Jack (the soygurt aholic who costs us $30 a month in special yogurt) who has dairy allergies, I'm having issues creating the perfect non-dairy yogurt.  My sweet little nephew has a dairy and soy allergy, so I'm trying to create a good yogurt for both of them.  I've had 2 failed batches, but I'm not giving up.  My next attempt comes tonight.  Hopefully the magic combo of coconut milk plus the addition of
coconut flour will do the trick!

There are plenty of ways to make yogurt that don't involve a $50 machine.  Many people keep it cooking for 24 hrs at 110 degrees by putting it in their oven with the light on, or on the counter on top of a heating pad.  I can't go without my oven that long, and I have hardly any spare counter space.  So, the machine fits my lifestyle.  And makes my tummy happy.