Never-Ending Homemade Yogurt

Filed under: Money — Savvy Housekeeper at 8:05 am on Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I don’t eat that much yogurt, but if I did, I would definitely look into making my own, especially with an heirloom yogurt starter. This is a bacterial culture that you can use over and over to make yogurt. Amazingly, these bacterial cultures originated years ago in countries like Finland and Bulgaria, according to NPR. They have “been around for a very long time and has been passed down for hundreds of years.”

To make the yogurt, you add freeze-dried starter or a spoonful of yogurt to milk.

The only catch is that you have to continually make a new batch of yogurt every week to keep the culture going. If you don’t, it dies. So to make this worth it, you could have to be someone who eats that much yogurt every week.

The Frugal Girl estimates that she saves hundreds by making her own yogurt: “Four quarts of grocery store yogurt per week would cost me between $416 and $624 a year, and this yogurt (from milk purchased at $2/gallon) costs me a measly $52 a year.”

ETA: In the comments, Ralph Lowd explains that he freezes his yogurt starter:

I take a piece of plastic wrap and place it over two egg cartons creating 24 depressions. into each of these I spoon 1 – 2 tablespoons of yogurt and put in freezer. When frozen I individually wrap each ball of yogurt putting all in a zip-loc baggie and put back in freezer. I now can use one yogurt ball to make a batch of yogurt if I don’t currently have live yogurt in the fridge. I also can use some of my starter for recipes that require only a small amount of yogurt.

7 Comments »

Comment by The Frugal Girl

January 15, 2013 @ 8:05 pm

Actually, just so you know, the starter yogurt can be kept for at least a month in the fridge, so you don’t have to make yogurt every week.

I usually make a small jar of yogurt whenever I make a batch and just keep it in the back of the fridge until I need to make yogurt again.

Comment by Ms. Savvy

January 15, 2013 @ 9:41 pm

Actually, I’m going by what NPR said: ” if you’re going to start making yogurt, you have to be prepared to start a new batch every seven days to keep the culture going.”

Good to know sometimes it last longer than that.

Comment by Ralph Lowd

January 15, 2013 @ 11:10 pm

I freeze my starter.
I take a piece of plastic wrap and place it over two egg cartons creating 24 depressions. into each of these I spoon 1 – 2 tablespoons of yogurt and put in freezer. When frozen I individually wrap each ball of yogurt putting all in a zip-loc baggie and put back in freezer. I now can use one yogurt ball to make a batch of yogurt if I don’t currently have live yogurt in the fridge. I also can use some of my starter for recipes that require only a small amount of yogurt.

Comment by Lydia

January 16, 2013 @ 8:56 am

I LOVE making homemade yogurt and we think it tastes so much better than store bought. However, I’ve never heard of a yogurt starter….sounds like an expensive way to make yogurt in my opinion! :) The recipe I use simply allows you to use your own homemade yogurt or bought yogurt that has live and active culture to start your yogurt. It works well and although I occasionally have to buy yogurt to make new starter it seems much less expensive.

Here’s my recipe in case you are interested: http://www.parents.com/blogs/thrifty-frugal-mom/2012/03/06/the-thrifty-frugal-mom/tasty-tuesday-easy-homemade-yogurt/

Comment by Marni

January 16, 2013 @ 10:22 am

Where do you buy this yogurt starter?
I remember I saw this in Eastern Europe, and the yogurt tastes so good. I would like to make my own, I’ve tried with bio yogurt from the store, but it doesn’t work…so, any suggestions?

Comment by Ms. Savvy

January 17, 2013 @ 6:04 pm

Ralph Lowd that is great to know! I am adding your comment to the post.

Lydia, yeah I’m not sure how much you need the starter, really. I am going to try it your way and see what happens.

Marni, this site sells them: http://www.culturesforhealth.com/

Comment by chppie

January 24, 2013 @ 9:18 am

I make my own yogurt and it seems like it keeps better so I don’t need to make it that often. I use store bought yogurt to start or some from the previous batch. It comes out fine. I think you just have to find the brand that works for you.

Also I find that extra or really sour yogurt is excellent for bread making. I have a machine so it’s no work to make a loaf and it uses 1 1/3 cups per loaf. I also find that yogurt works well instead of buttermilk in pancake recipes (you might need to add a little milk to thin it.

I’ve never tried storing starter or freezing it but that sure is appealing.

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