Making Your Own Yogurt at Home Has Never Been Easier


This demo episode of Living Green with Baby demonstrates how easy and quick it is to make your own yogurt at home, and the many benefits regular consumption of yogurt brings to our health. You know yogurt is good for you, but do you know why, and which kinds are best for your health?

What is yogurt?

Yogurt or yoghurt is a dairy product produced by bacterial fermentation of milk. The bacteria used to make yogurt are known as “yogurt cultures”. Fermentation of lactose (milk sugar) by these bacteria produces lactic acid, which acts on milk protein to give yogurt its texture and its characteristic tang. Worldwide, cow’s milk is most commonly used to make yogurt, but milk from water buffalo, goats, sheep, camels and yaks is also used in various parts of the world.

Dairy yogurt is produced using purified cultures of two special bacteria, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus In addition, Lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacteria are also sometimes added as probiotic cultures during or after culturing yogurt.

The milk is first heated to about 80 °C (176 °F) to kill any undesirable bacteria and to denature the milk proteins so that they set together rather than form curds. The milk is then cooled to about 45 °C (112 °F). The bacteria culture is added, and the temperature is maintained for 4 to 7 hours to allow fermentation.

Swiss, Greek, frozen or French? Learn about the differences between types of yogurt here (The Nibble), and find out more yogurt facts (via Livestrong).

yogurt a healthy breakfast for kids

©Photo Lenka U

Which type of yogurt is best?

The healthiest yogurt is yogurt–without added ingredients–that contains live and active cultures, which help maintain the necessary balance of bacteria in the gut. If a yogurt says it’s heat-treated after culturing, it means the product was pasteurized after the organisms were added, which destroys the bacteria. This negates one of the biggest benefits of eating yogurt. Flavored yogurts often contain additional ingredients such as sugar and fruit, but can contain everything from artificial dyes to preservatives and sweeteners to flavor enhancers. Thickeners or stabilizers such as gelatin are frequently added to create a thicker texture and increase shelf life. So choose plain natural yogurt with live cultures and do your own flavoring by adding fresh fruit, honey or nuts to your own taste.

What are the main benefits of consuming yogurt?

  1. Yogurt contributes to better health of the digestive system and colon; to maximize this benefit, we should eat yogurt with live bacteria, and on a daily basis, since only a small amount of the bacteria can withstand the acidity of our stomachs and therefore reach the intestines.
  2. It’s a rich source of calcium, which is essential for maintaining colon health and reducing the risk of colon cancer; calcium also works with the live cultures to increase absorption by the bones and therefore helps prevent osteoporosis.
  3. It’s an excellent source of protein, B vitamins and essential minerals.
  4. It’s easier to digest than cow’s milk for people with lactose intolerance;
  5. Yogurt can boost our immunity.
  6. Yogurt can lower cholesterol and high blood pressure.
  7. Yogurt is considered a “grow food”: since it helps digest proteins and its lactic acid increases absorption of minerals it may help children with intestinal absorption problems to grow.

For babies, many doctors state that they can start eating yogurt around 6 months old. Just keep an eye open for allergic reaction, as with any other food introduced at an early age. Doctors also recommend you give your baby plain yogurt instead of sweetened versions. So go ahead and make your own yogurt, right at home.

Few simple ideas and recipes how you can use yogurt:

Frozen fruit smoothie and sorbet

Banana smoothie

Breakfast granola bowl

More: 10 Reasons Yogurt is a Top Health Food from Ask Dr. Sears.

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