That was the question I was wondering last week when I went to the store for a half gallon of milk for some cooking I was doing. When I checked the prices, however, I noticed that a half gallon of milk cost $1.97 and a gallon of milk cost $2. Hmmm I figured for an extra three cents, I would figure out what to do with all of that milk because it seemed like a waste of money not to buy the gallon. This is what I did:
- Saved half a gallon of milk for cooking, baking, and drinking for everyone in the household (none are big milk drinkers but there were quite a few recipes I was trying out that required milk).
- Made yogurt out of the other half gallon of milk. Making yogurt is so simple! I thought you had to have some kind of magical cooking ability but my friend always told me how cheap and simple it was for her to make yogurt for her family so one day I decided to give it a try and now I am a convert too. To make yogurt simply put together a double boiler (one pan that fits inside another pan with enough room for water between the two pans). Heat the milk to near boiling. Cool the milk to about 95 degrees. Mix in a couple of tablespoons of yogurt from your last batch (you can do this about five or six times before you need to go to the store and get a small container of plain yogurt for the starter). Pour the milk into containers and set it somewhere warm for about eight to ten hours (sometimes I set it on a heating pad covered with a towel, other times I set it in the windowsill on a warm day, sometimes I will put it in the oven and turn the oven on occasionally to keep it toasty warm in there--note if you don't pay attention you can forget to turn off the oven after a few minutes and melt the containers all over the oven--this is why I prefer the heating pad!).
- With the yogurt made, I put half of the yogurt in the fridge and took the other half of the batch of yogurt and strained it (line a sieve with coffee filters and put the yogurt on top of the filters). After five hours of draining over a bowl in the fridge, you get "yogurt cheese" which is kind of like cream cheese and can be used accordingly.
- Recipes: with either the yogurt or yogurt cheese, you can mix in garlic powder or finely chopped garlic and a bit of dried dill and have a tasty "tzatziki" like dressing. You can also mix mashed strawberries with the yogurt cheese and have a wonderful spread for bagels.