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This Mom Makes Her Own Yogurt At Home! Here's How
PHOTO BY SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Yogurt, because of its health benefits, is one of the first spoonfuls of food parents usually introduce to their babies at six months old when they start eating solids 

    As a fermented food, yogurt has been known for containing probiotics, which are made up of friendly bacteria that enhance digestive health and even help prevent and treat diarrhea in infants and toddlers.

    Nutritionist-dietitian Patrick Ian Catindig says, “Yogurt contains live bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium, which act as probiotics. They help in maintaining the normal flora of the digestive system for healthy digestion and in minimizing the risk of pathogenic infections.”

    Yogurt is also rich in calcium, protein and B vitamins, and is also a natural source of zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium. Because of all these nutrients, yogurt helps boost a child’s immunity and improves the health of their teeth and bones. 

    But yogurt is not only good for babies and toddlers. It's beneficial for adults, too. In fact, aside from benefits to our digestive health, there have been studies that connect yogurt to better brain function and lower risk of cardiovascular disease

    While yogurt has many health benefits, parents are concerned that most commercially available yogurt brands have high sugar content and artificial coloring. Then, there are pasteurized yogurts, which, though still nutritious, do not have live microorganisms in them and therefore do not offer the same gut health benefits to our babies.   

    Well, good news mommies and daddies! We can easily make our own yogurt at home and have more control of what goes into the yogurt we offer our babies and the rest of the family. 

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    Here’s what we need to make yogurt

    Yogurt maker

    I’ve read online sources that say one can make yogurt without this. I tried a few times but failed. I just couldn’t get the right temperature that’s ideal for the bacteria to grow in the milk. So, if you are like me and prefer not to have to use a food thermometer and keep checking to ensure your yogurt is in the right temperature as it ferments, this simple device is essential. Prices vary greatly in Lazada and Shopee depending on the brand, size and make, but I chose an inexpensive one that has a stainless steel yogurt container very similar to this.

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    PHOTO COURTESY OF LAZADA

    Milk

    Yogurt can be made from any milk. I have tried using different kinds and brands of milk in cartons – fresh milk, full cream, low-fat, non-fat, even fortified and sterilized milk options. I have also tried a couple of full cream powdered milk brands and they work just as well. I’ve seen recipes of non-dairy yogurt, too, which use almond milk, coconut, or rice milk, but I’ve never tried these.

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    Yogurt starter

    There are several options online but this is the one I tried. One bag already contains 10 packs of starter that’s good for 10L of yogurt. The package comes with English instructions, so I didn’t struggle at all even on my first attempt at making yogurt.

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    PHOTO COURTESY OF LAZADA

    Directions

    Pour 1 liter of milk (at room temperature) into your yogurt container, add the yogurt starter and mix well. Make sure your yogurt maker is connected to a power source and is on before you leave it for eight to ten hours.

    Once you’ve made your own yogurt, you could make a new batch by mixing about 800ml of milk with a cup of the yogurt from your previous batch. Another option is to use a cup of any commercially available plain yogurt with live cultures.

    Before I started making yogurt, my toddler was already accustomed to the taste of commercial flavored yogurt, so the homemade kind, when served plain, is a bit too sour for him. To add natural sweetness and flavor, I add slices of fresh fruits that are naturally sweet like ripe mangoes, grapes or pineapple. Canned peaches or pineapple slices and fruit jams or preserves also work well. 

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    Now that my son is almost four years old, we have also experimented with adding a dash of our favorite juice mix just for a hint of color, aroma and flavor. Lychee, strawberry and mixed berries are our favorite flavors so far. We serve yogurt chilled or frozen in popsicle molds.

    Yogurt can also be used in a host of other recipes including fluffy pancakes, as dip or dressing, or as sauce for your pasta

    Grace Bautista is a work-from-home mom who loves preparing food in creative ways for her husband Erwin and their three sons: Gael, Ezra, and Galak.

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