Chances are that by now you are pretty familiar with the health benefits of yogurt and why it makes such a good dairy product to have on hand. However, dairy in general seems to be overlooked by many preppers despite the fact that there are many ways to safely-store products over the long term.
While yogurt can’t be stored on a shelf in a pantry, you can easily make your own batches out of powdered milk and a couple of other ingredients and consume the finished product right away. Take a look at the basic process below, and see how you may be able to incorporate homemade yogurt into your diet now as well as your emergency food supply later.
The trick to developing a yogurt-generating system is to have a starting culture. This will be used to ferment the initial as well as subsequent batches, and you can keep going indefinitely as long as the culture remains active. Making a culture is easy, and all you need to get started is some regular yogurt that includes yogurt cultures, and you can find these products in almost any supermarket.
Aside from a yogurt starter, you’ll also need some powdered milk, a mason jar, an incubator and a cooking thermometer. The incubator is a key element to this process, and it needs to be one that can maintain a temperature between 100-115 degrees for around 4 hours.
If you don’t have one, don’t worry because there are plenty of ways that you can improvise. One alternative is to put a light bulb inside of a cardboard box to warm it up. Another option is to soak the sealed jar of yogurt in a pot of warm water, or place the liquid directly in a double boiler or slow cooker. The key is to regulate that temperature and keep it steady long enough for the yogurt to ferment.
Putting Everything Together
The first step is to reconstitute your powdered milk. For this particular recipe, combine 1 cup of milk with 2 cups of water and mix thoroughly. This will produce a more-condensed milk product compared with what you would normally drink, but it’s perfect for making a nice, smooth yogurt.
Next, pour the milk into a saucepan and slowly bring up the heat to 180 degrees, checking the temperature with your cooking thermometer. Immediately remove from heat once the milk reaches 180 degrees, and let it cool until it drops to 110 degrees.
Add in 2 tablespoons of the yogurt with cultures from the store or your own cultures from the previous batch. Mix thoroughly before pouring the liquid into the mason jar, attach and tighten the lid, and place the jar into the preheated incubator. Let it rest for 3-4 hours, and make sure that temperatures remain within the 100-115 degree range.
You will know that it’s done when the liquid begins to coagulate, and you may also notice some signs of separation in the liquid near the top. If that’s the case, then carefully pour off the top liquid without mixing or stirring the rest of the product beforehand. The yogurt is now finished, and you can either consume or store it in the refrigerator.
Feel free to add fruits, jams or some vanilla to enhance the flavor, and don’t forget to set some yogurt from this batch aside to use as a culture for the next. While this won’t duplicate the creamy, smooth and dense yogurt that you find in stores, you can get pretty close. Just remember to store your yogurt and cultures in the refrigerator or in a cold, dry place to keep them fresh.
Try this yourself and see how making your own yogurt can be the perfect addition to your diet now as well as during a prolonged-crisis.