Here are three quick and easy ways to save money on your dairy expenses without cutting your usage.
Make your own buttermilk.
You will need some buttermilk to use as a starter. We just buy the smallest sized, most natural buttermilk from the grocery. Pour about 1/4 – 1/2 cup buttermilk into a quart size canning jar (or whatever container you wish to use). Fill the rest of the jar with milk and shake. Now set it on the counter and whenever you go into the kitchen give it a shake.
Let it sit out on the counter for…. well until it starts to glop up like buttermilk and smells nice and buttermilk-y. I have read that it can take up to 24 hours or so, but for me it is usually done within 12.
Store in the refrigerator and be sure to save some to start the next batch.
Make your own yogurt.
You will also need a starter for this. We use Stoneyfield Whole Milk Organic or Dannon All Natural, plain, unflavored yogurt. Set the yogurt in a glass bowl, covered, on the counter so that it can come up to room temperature. (You will need 1.5 T per quart of yogurt.)
I usually make a gallon of yogurt at a time because it will keep nicely for about a month and since we can make it inexpensively we eat yogurt.
Heat however many quarts of milk that you want to make into yogurt to 180F. I use powdered milk to make all of our yogurt (I can’t tell a difference in taste) and when I mix it up I add an extra cup of powder per gallon of milk. Heat slowly to attempt to avoid scorching.
Remove from heat and let cool, stirring occasionally, to about 115F. While the milk is cooling prepare your quart jars. Make sure they are clean and dry, you don’t want any competing bacteria. Yuck!
Turn on your oven light while your milk is still cooling. You want your oven to be warm, but not over 100F. You can use an oven thermometer if you have one. Temps over 100F are OK, but the yogurt will have a sharper flavor.
Once the milk is cooled to 110-115F, pour some into the starter bowl and whisk, blending well. Then pour that mixture back into the pot with the rest of the milk and whisk thoroughly. You want to be sure the starter gets through all of the milk.
Put the jars in the oven. I set mine on a cookie sheet so the don’t tip as easily.
Let them sit in the oven for 4-6 hours. It may set up more quickly, but the best flavor is achieved if you let it incubate for at least 4 hours. The longer the incubation the more tart the flavor.
I have forgotten and left it in the oven over night. It was still fine, but boy was it strong. Not our favorite yogurt. Yikes!
Take your fresh yogurt out of the oven, and refrigerate. Yum!
Use powdered milk in your cooking.
I use powdered milk in my cooking. While my family does not like the taste of powdered milk for drinking, no one can tell the difference in taste when I cook with it. This is an easy way to save money especially if you buy your powdered milk in bulk.
I’m sure that some of you use healthy raw milk and I know that these recipes would be delicious with that, but we just use regular milk (or powdered milk) from the grocery store.
How do you save money on your grocery budget?