In fact, as I write this post my latest batch of lactose-free yogurt is perking along on the kitchen counter.
Now, why would I go to this much trouble when there are ready-made options available, even for the lactose-intolerant and Low-FODMAP among us? Because not all options are created equally.
I enjoy my afternoon yogurt snack both for taste as well as health benefits. I discovered ages ago that it helped keep me healthy long before Acitivia and the like started marketing as such. And, yet, the Low-FODMAP challenges showed me just how sensitive I am to lactose, even the reduced amount in most Greek-style yogurts, so I knew I needed to be a bit more careful with what I was consuming.
That left me with pretty much one option at our local grocery store: Yoplait’s Lactose Free French Vanilla
image via Yoplait.com | While it comes in peach, strawberry, vanilla, and cherry, my store only carried the latter 2
And while I wasn’t a huge fan of the flavor or texture, it was acceptable and got me my live cultures at a reasonable .60 a serving. At least it did when they kept it in stock.
About the time supply was getting a bit spotty, I saw an electronic yogurt maker on one of the many flash-sale sites and, while intrigued, managed to talk myself out of buying it by the end of the day. Until, of course, I was at the not-geographically-convenient Earth Fare in town and found the other lactose-free/Low-FODMAP yogurt option by Green Valley Organics.
image via Green Valley Organics
I was thrilled to find this yogurt! I’d tried and loved their sour cream but this was the first time I’d found their yogurt on the shelf. As I reached for the cups on the top shelf, my eyes fell on the price sticker: 1.99 a piece! That’s 3 times the price of the Yoplait, and even if the taste and texture are much more to my liking, I couldn’t justify the additional cost and the weekly trips out of my way.
Suddenly the price of the yogurt maker wasn’t looking so spendy! Too bad for me that that particular flash sale had ended. Still, I was on the hunt and within a month had found a decent deal at a store I’d been given a birthday giftcard to.
Since then I’ve been making my own yogurt from lactose-free milk and either an existing bottle of yogurt or the starter culture easily found in almost all health-food stores. It takes maybe an hour, all-told, to prep the milk mix (a little time to warm it to 180 degrees F, then a little longer to let it cool to 110 before adding the starter/cultures, then to ladel it into the glasses to “cook”) and if I’m smart I’ll set it up before bed so it’ll be finished the next morning and ready to go after a few hours chill time.
I haven’t experimented much with flavoring them before putting them into the yogurt maker, but I have been adding powdered coconut milk to the mix to get a thicker yogurt without having to go through the pain of straining it myself. Most days I top it with a spoonful of Welch’s Natural Strawberry jam (the only one I’ve found, so far, that meets all the Low-FODMAP requirements) and maybe a bit of granola and this really hits the spot.
I haven’t worked out the per-price comparison of making vs buying, but I know that I like the end result a lot better.