Have you ever seen a DIY project on Pinterest that looked amazing? And, then you tried it, and it was a total flop? It seems that “Pinterest fails” are everywhere these days!
Yet, there are some DIY projects that are actually worth it. They are easy, money-saving, and really work.
This year I am on a mission to find those projects for you. I will be tackling one frugal DIY project each month in order to let you know how they really work. I am letting myself (and in some cases, my family!) be the guinea pig in a new My Frugal DIY Experiments series.
Here is what we have done so far in 2016:
January- Homemade Glass Cleaner
February-Coconut Oil Face Soap
March–Homemade Taco Seasoning
April–(Because of Lent and Holy Week I didn’t get a Frugal Experiment finished)
Homemade Yogurt in the Crock Pot
I have been excited about this month’s DIY experiment since I planned this series back in December! You see, my family eats A LOT of yogurt. We spend $5 a week on yogurt, and I would love to decrease this amount. (And, when you have a $70 a week grocery budget, this is significant.) So, I was excited to see if making my own yogurt would be more frugal.
I have to admit, though, the thought of making my own yogurt always intimidated me. The recipes that I had found online all required using thermometers to measure temperature until the yogurt reached a certain degree, and then completing several steps. I wanted something simpler.
So, I was intrigued when I saw a tutorial on Joyfully Thriving that claimed to make excellent homemade vanilla yogurt in the crock pot. (You can find the complete tutorial here.) I am all about the convenience of a crock pot! Plus, even though I’ve tried to get my kids to eat plain yogurt, it just isn’t happening right now. Vanilla yogurt is their favorite. So, this recipe–if it worked–would be absolutely perfect.
The Steps for Making Homemade Yogurt in the Crock Pot
Ingredients: –1/2 gallon of milk (I used whole milk because we’re whole milk drinkers at our house!)
-1/2 cup yogurt starter with live cultures (I used some leftover vanilla yogurt that we had
in the fridge. Once you make your own, though, you can just reserve 1/2 cup to use
for the next time.)
-1/2 cup sugar (I am hoping to gradually reduce this over time so my kids get used to plain
yogurt. You could also use honey.)
-1 Tbsp vanilla
Step One: Pour 1/2 gallon of milk into the crock pot.
-Turn the crock pot on low, and then set a timer for 2 hours and 45 minutes. I then left the crock pot alone and began making supper for my kids.
Step Two: Turn off the crock pot.
-Unplug the crock pot. Then whisk in sugar and vanilla. Let the mixture sit for 3 hours. I set my timer and went back to my evening routine.
Step Three: Spoon out 1 cup of mixture.
-Add the yogurt starter to the milk mixture and whisk together. Add this back to the crock pot and mix together.
Step Four: Put the lid back on the crock pot and wrap in towels.
-I used two big towels to wrap it completely. Then, let it sit for 8 to 12 hours. Kristen from Joyfully Thriving said that the longer the mixture sits, the tangier it gets. I let it rest for 9 hours, and it was perfect for my kids. I let mine sit out overnight. So easy!
Step Five: Now you have yogurt!
-Put the mixture into the fridge and enjoy.
The Breakdown: Is it worth it?
In this series, I evaluate each DIY project by three criterion:
- Does it Work?
- Is it Easy?
- Is it Frugal?
If the answer to any of those questions is “no,” then I don’t think the project is worth it.
Does It Work?
Yes! I was ridiculously proud of myself that I actually made my own yogurt! The taste was great, and–most importantly–my kids like it. That is a complete win in my book!
The yogurt was a bit thinner than what you will buy in the store. Kristen from Joyfully Thriving recommends a straining process, but I didn’t have any cheesecloth handy. I might try it next time. Here is how it works:
After the yogurt has sat for 8-12 hours, line a colander with two sheets of cheesecloth. Place the colander over a big bowl. Then, spoon the yogurt into the colander and place it into the refrigerator. You can leave it for 3-4 hours and let the whey drain out of the yogurt.
Is It Easy?
Absolutely! The entire process took maybe 5 minutes of hands on time. The rest of the time the crock pot did the work, so I was able to do other tasks. I loved that I could walk away and forget about it, and still come back to great yogurt!
Is It Frugal?
Here comes the fun part (at least for a numbers nerd like me!). Is homemade yogurt actually less expensive than store bought?
These are the prices currently at my store. Yours may vary depending on your state and the type of products that you purchase. I did not use organic milk or yogurt.
Half a gallon of milk = $1.25
Half a cup of yogurt= $.25 (next time this cost will be eliminated since I’ll use a starter from this batch)
Half a cup of sugar and tbsp of vanilla = $.25 (a high estimate)
Total Cost: $2.00 for 64 ounces of yogurt
Total Cost of 64 ounces of store-bought yogurt= $5.00
The Verdict: Homemade yogurt is much cheaper! Plus, I know all of the ingredients that are in the yogurt. There are no artificial ingredients or preservatives!
I am so excited to have found an easy, frugal recipe for Homemade Yogurt in the Crock Pot! Now I have the perfect complement to my Best Ever Homemade Granola.
Have you ever made homemade yogurt? How did you do it?