Wednesday, August 31, 2011

0 Home Made Yogurt vs Dannon Yogurt

I eat yogurt for breakfast every day, so I find that's it's definitely worth it for me to make yogurt from scratch. I'm lucky to have a friend that raises goats so I use fresh raw goat milk for my yogurt, but you don't have to you can buy regular or low fat milk from the grocery store and use that. Yogurt is very easy to make, doesn't take long (it mostly just sits there on it's own and ferments) and it's super cheap to make – less than half the price of a major brand. Oh, and if you're lactose intolerant or don't eat/drink dairy products – you can use soy milk in this recipe.

Now I like PLAIN yogurt, so it's even easier for me – but all you have to do to make flavored yogurt is add some cut up fruit, nuts, granola or real vanilla flavoring & a little sugar/honey when you're putting it in a container to take to work or getting ready to eat it.

I read something recently about a mother that wanted to give her young daughter yogurt to take to school for lunch but that the girl couldn't open the container. I was stumped until I realized that the mother was buying little individual containers of flavored yogurt for her daughter. I guess she never thought about buying a large container putting it into a small easy to open container, adding some healthy fruit to it and giving it to her!

Even if you decide that making your own yogurt is too much work – please, please, please, buy a large container of plain yogurt (Mountain High and Brown Cow are brands that are fairly natural) add your own fresh ingredients to it. My comparison below shows Dannon's Light N Fit Vanilla yogurt (I wasn't able to find their plain yogurt to compare) to plain home made yogurt, but I'm also adding a list of ingredients for Dannon's strawberry flavored yogurt so that you can see what you're eating when you buy it pre-mixed.

Yogurt recipe:
½ gallon milk (whole, 2 % or low fat)
1/8 tsp yogurt culture* (or 6 Tbl of yogurt with live cultures)

Pre-heat oven to about 200 degrees or use a yogurt machine. Heat the milk in a large pot until it reaches 145 degrees (160 degrees if you are using raw milk), cool the pot in a water bath to about 110 degrees, add the yogurt culture, stir until dissolved. Pour into 4 pint or 2 quart jars (or re-use other clean glass jars), seal the jars, put all the jars into a large pot (or clean the pot you just used and re-use it), fill with hot water to the bottom of the jar lids, put into the heated oven, TURN OVEN OFF, let them sit in the hot water bath for about 8 hours. Remove and put the jars in the refrigerator, serve cold. Home made yogurt isn't quite as thick as manufactured yogurt, you can strain it in cheese cloth after it's been chilled or add a couple of tablespoons of low fat dry milk to the recipe to make it thicker.  

* Yogurt culture can be purchased online at sites specializing in yogurt and/or cheese making.

Price for 32 oz home made yogurt - $1.75 or less
Price for 32 oz Dannon yogurt - $3.89

Ingredients for home made yogurt: Milk and Yogurt culture

Ingredients for Dannon Light N Fit Vanilla Yogurt: Nonfat yogurt, water, fructose, modified corn starch, natural and artificial flavors, citric acid, aspartame, sodium citrate, potassium sorbate, caramel color, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, annatto extract.

Ingredients for Dannon Low-Fat Strawberry Yogurt: Cultured reduced fat milk, strawberry, sugar, fructose, water, modified food starch, milk protein concentrate, modified corn starch, gelatin, natural flavor, agar agar, carrageenan, carmine, sodium citrate, calcium lactate, lactic acid, xanthan gum, vitamin D3.

Time to prepare home made: About 15-20 minutes cooking time, 8 hours sitting time
Time to prepare Dannon: None

So, it takes about 15-20 minutes longer to make your own yogurt. Costs less than half the price (you save $2.14) and you're not eating fructose, modified corn starch, sodium citrate, potassium sorbate, gelatin or other stuff that I can't even pronounce. Now this is eating healthy!

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