I've been making homemade yogurt for 4+ years, off and on, usually in the summer when I could count on 90-degree days to keep the yogurt warm during its incubation period. In 2021 I got an air fryer for Christmas that has a dehydrator feature. Light bulk moment - I could make yogurt any time with this!
I've made this every week for 3-4 months with consistent results.
I like to start with Chobani Whole Milk Greek Yogurt as my starter, reserve 1/2 cup and let it sit out while milk heats up. Side note to any experienced yogurt makers - I've tried reusing my homemade yogurt as a starter, but results are runnier than I'd prefer so I continue to use Chobani as my starter.
My plan is to finish with 48 ounces of yogurt, so I start by filling 3-pint size jars with whole milk and heat the milk in a pot with pour spout to 180 degrees. I use a candy thermometer that hangs on the side of the pot. This process takes up to 20-30 minutes, I don't like to go too fast, or it will make the milk skim. Stirring frequently helps deter milk skim.
Once the pot has reached 180 degrees, remove from heat and wait for it to reduce down to 120 degrees. This takes about 20-25 minutes. Once the temperature is 120, stir in the 1/2 cup of yogurt, mix well, then pour mixture into the three pint size jars. I use this size because it fits nicely into my air fryer.
Set the air fryer to 110 degrees and 6 hours, with no lids.
Once finished, let it cool for about 30 minutes, then add lids and put into fridge. Cool overnight, by the next day it should be nice and solid. It won't be exactly like Greek yogurt, to do this you'd need to take an extra step to strain it. I personally prefer regular yogurt so I stop at this point.
Savings - one container of Chobani Whole Milk Greek Yogurt cost $5.58 for 32 ounces at Walmart. I can make 8 recipes. A pint jar is 16 ounces, so every recipe makes 48 ounces of yogurt x 8 recipes equals 384 ounces of yogurt. It may sound like a ton of yogurt, but we have 4 kids making smoothies before workouts several times a week, and I eat 8 ounces every morning. It's a necessity!
Milk cost $2.62 currently at Aldi, which is $0.02 x 48 ounces = $0.99
Chobani Whole Milk Greek Yogurt cost $5.58 for 32 ounces, which is $0.17 x 4 = $0.6975
In summary, my out-of-pocket cost is $1.68 to make 48 ounces of plain whole milk yogurt, which equals $0.035 per ounce.
The lowest price I can find for plain whole milk yogurt is at Weis for $3.97 for 32 ounces which equals $0.12 per ounce, and at 48 ounces, it would cost $5.76.
Total savings for my homemade version is $4.08.
Is that a lot of effort to save $4.08? I guess that's up to each person. I work from home, and I can easily work my primary job and check on the yogurt every 20-25 minutes as needed. If I worked full time away from home, I might not bother with this but as it is, I enjoy this little task and it saves us a little money each time I make it.