Making your own yogurt not only saves you money, but is seriously delicious and healthy for you. When you make it from scratch, you’ll find yourself eating more yogurt than ever before.
While there are many automatic yogurt makers available, it’s also very easy to make yogurt at home as long as you have a warm place to let it rest. Here’s a very basic method I’ve used plenty of times to create a delicious creamy yogurt.
Homemade Yogurt Recipe
Makes about 2 quarts yogurt
- 1/2 gallon milk — whole or 2% are best, but skim can also be used
- 1/2 cup commercial yogurt containing active cultures (check the ingredient list to make sure that there are active cultures – otherwise the recipe won’t work)
- 3 quart or larger heavy saucepan with a lid (Dutch oven works well)
- Clip on candy thermometer
- Measuring cup
- Small bowl
- Heat the milk. Pour the milk into the saucepan or Dutch oven and set the heat at medium to medium-high heat. Warm the milk until it reaches about 200°F. Stir the milk so the bottom doesn’t scorch and the milk doesn’t boil over.
- Let cool. Allow the milk to cool until it’s about 112°F to 115°F (just warm to the touch.) Stir occasionally so a skin doesn’t form on the top. (If one does form, you can either stir it back in or just pull it off.)
- Thin the yogurt. Place the yogurt in the small bowl and with the measuring cup remove one cup of warm milk. Add it to the yogurt. Whisk until smooth and the yogurt is dissolved in the milk.
- Whisk the thinned yogurt into the milk. Pour the thinned yogurt into the warm milk and whisk gently so the milk becomes inoculated with the yogurt culture.
- Put the pot in a warm spot. Cover the pot or Dutch oven with the lid and place the whole pot in a warm spot, such as an oven with the oven light turned on or anywhere warm enough for the milk to set (around 110°F, a little less/a little more is okay.)
- Let the yogurt set. Let the yogurt set for at least 4 hours, but you can also let it set overnight in the oven and wake up to delicious home-made yogurt for breakfast. The longer it sits, the thicker and more tart it will become.
- Cool the yogurt. Once the yogurt has set, remove it from the oven (or other warm place of your choice.) Sometimes, there will be some watery whey on the top surface of the yogurt. Either drain it off or whisk it back into the yogurt before putting the yogurt into containers.
- Finishing touches. Transfer the yogurt to storage containers. Cover and refrigerate. Homemade yogurt will keep for about 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
- Your next batch of homemade yogurt. You can use ½ cup of yogurt from the batch you just made for the culture (called starter) in your next batch. The key to making yogurt using your own starter is make yogurt regularly. If you make a quart of yogurt a week, your yogurt will come out great. But if you wait too long between batches, the starter begins to lose its activating power and will start making runny yogurt, or the yogurt won’t set at all. When that starts to happen just buy another container of commercially made yogurt at the store and start all over.
Yogurt is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Enjoy making it and enjoy eating it!