One of the great things about making your own yogurt is you get to control what goes into it. From the milk used (how much fat) to the flavorings added (how much sugar), you know what wholesome ingredients are included.
I also like to invent recipes for my yogurt flavors, and try different things. This is a sequential writeup on some things that I tried that succeeded, and a few that failed too. From mix ins/blended, to fruit on the bottom, to toppings, I really think the opportunities here are amazing.
I make most of these in very small batches (1 or 2 cups at a time) so if I forget to say it, the amount is per cup of yogurt. I make 6 cups of yogurt in a batch for the week, but I make 3 or 4 flavors out of it so I have variety each week.
Of course you can eat your yogurt plain. I personally don't really love plain yogurt that much.
2.) Strained, or 'greek style'
After you make the yogurt, place it in a coffee filter, in a small colander, in a glass/bowl, in the fridge. Let drain for a couple hours. Expect that 1 cup of yogurt will be reduced by about 1/3 to 1/2.
It gets nice and thick. But not sweet enough for me, I drizzle this with a little honey before I eat it, or toss in a few berries.
3.) Coconut/Vanilla flavor (blended)
Stirred in 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract and 1/4 tsp of coconut extract per cup of yogurt into the 120 degree milk (after adding the starter).
This one was not great. I think I don't like the vanilla extract I used, or maybe I used too much of it. Conceptually fine, but definitely needs tweaked.
4.) Lovely Lemon
Stir 1 Tbsp Lemon Curd per cup into the 120 degree milk after adding the starter.
I used purchased lemon curd. I know it has some extra calories and ingredients (I picked one that was better, but still). But this yogurt is really lovely, one of my favorites. The lemon flavor is just right, not overpowering, and it is sweet enough for me to eat it directly. it also is mild enough to use it in a recipe.
5.) FAIL - Chocolate
Hard to believe that chocolate would fail, but it did. I added 1 Tbsp Chocolate Syrup to the 120 degree milk after adding the starter. The final consistency was almost stringy, and it did not taste good.
A side note --- I read that you can add gelatin, and I tried that with some of the lemon and some of the chocolate. It did not change the results at all, I don't see that it was beneficial.
6.) Strawberry (fruit on the bottom)
Microwaved about 5 frozen strawberries and placed that in the bottom of the jar before adding the milk mixture.
This one was just okay, a little jam might make it pop.
7.) Blackberry (fruit on the bottom)
5 fresh blackberries put in bottom of jar, and microwaved 30 seconds.
Very good. The fruit didn't really stay on the bottom, it mixed in.
8.) Berry Lemon
2 strawberries, 2 blackberries, and topped with the lemon yogurt mix above.
Very good, the lemon was nice with the berries. Fruit didn't stay on the bottom.
9.) Apple Pie
Peel and dice about 1/3 of a small apple.
Cook in skillet with 1 tsp butter and 1 tsp turbinado (or other) sugar, and a dash of cinnamon.
Place in bottom of jar.
Add 1 tsp apple butter on top of apples (I make my own apple butter too).
Then add the 120 degree milk/yogurt mixture to jar.
This is THE BEST one I have made yet. Perfectly sweet and flavorful, my favorite.
9.) Vanilla Bean
Take 1/2 vanilla bean, and split it open.
Add the bean to the milk and then heat the milk to the 190 degrees.
Remove the bean and scrape and squeeze the tiny seeds from the pod back into the milk.
Continue with the process with the cooling to 120 and the starter as usual.
Subtle but nice. I used 1/2 bean for 4 cups of milk. Next time I will use a whole bean instead, or possibly an additional drop of vanilla extract to bring out the flavor a bit more. Maybe a bit of sugar too.
3 Tbsp pumpkin puree (canned)
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp clove
1/4 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Mixed together and put in the bottom of 2 jars.
This was really good, but it was overspiced. I like pumpkin pie and its spices, but I should reduce them each by about half next time.
10.) FAIL -- Fresh Pineapple
I put fresh pineapple on the bottom, and it did not do well at all.
Result had a lot of whey, and tasted bad/sour/inedible.
Either the pineapple was just too acidic and turned the milk, or it was the same problem that fresh pineapple can not be used in Jell-O because it interferes with the gelling process.
11.) Black Raspberry
Put 1 Tbsp homemade Black Raspberry Jam in bottom of jar.
I found some old black raspberry jam in the fridge that I had made sometime. I just put some in the bottom of the jar. This one was really good and simple. And the jam actually even stayed on the bottom. Too bad I only had a little bit of that jam left!
I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on yogurt flavors, and I will continue to experiment and try new things. I have ideas to try some other different things such as coffee and tea flavors. I'm pretty sure any kind of jam will work lovely. And whatever fruit I have on hand is likely to get tried as well.