To make or not to make yogurt at home? My vote = to make! (But then again, I’m an avid DIY-er who has been known to attempt ambitious projects with minimal knowledge or skill). ((BUT! Then again, if you are reading my blog, chances are we have this in common.))I love plain yogurt and consume it often. In my mind it’s literally one of the best things I can do for breakfast is to pour myself a bowl of yogurt, top it with fruit and granola, and drizzle the entire thing with honey. Thus after buying container after container of yogurt, I felt it was a very natural question to ask myself- what if I could just make this at home? And lo-and-behold, I attempted to create this tangy dairy treat, and was rewarded with the tastiest yogurt I have ever had. (And that is saying a lot, my friends).The flavor profile: Rich, creamy, lightly tangy, with the subtly sweetness that comes from using full-fat dairy. It has been the perfect backdrop to numerous breakfasts, lunches, and desserts. And hopefully can now inspire you to make your own batch.To make my yogurt, I followed the instructions from The Kitchn. I was a little skeptical about the part that I had to purchase yogurt to make my own yogurt, but after looking into options decided this method is infinitely easier (and less expensive) than starting with a separate yogurt culture. (Incidentally, if you want to start with a separate yogurt culture you can find them here.) The idea is that you just need an approved bacterial culture, and probably the easiest way to find this is to just buy a small container of plain yogurt that says “active cultures” on the label, and you are all set to go.And! (similar to a sourdough starter or kombucha starter), once you grow your first culture you can re-use it over and over for future batches (as long as you don’t eat it all up first!) Once the bacterial culture starts feeding on the milk sugars, it begins a fermentation process that yields the familiar souring and thickening of the dairy proteins that we call yogurt. The recipe below includes step-by-step instructions on how I created my batch of yogurt at home. It’s decidedly simple, and a perfect recipe for the extremely frugal and DIY-crazed alike.
Hope you enjoy!
Making Yogurt At Home
- 1/2 gallon of whole milk
- 8 oz commercial plain yogurt fat content doesn't matter, containing live active cultures
- Pour the milk into a dutch oven or other enamel ware. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pot with the tip submerged in the milk.
- Heat over medium, stirring often to prevent scalding.
- Bring temperature of milk to 200 degrees, and then turn of the heat.
- Let milk sit until temperature reduces to 115 degrees.
- In a small bowl combine yogurt and about 1/3 cup of warmed milk (exact quantity of milk is not important). Whisk together until yogurt is smooth.
- Next pour the thinned yogurt into the pot of milk, whisking to distribute evenly.
- Cover your pot with a snug fitting lid and wrap with kitchen towels or a bath towel.
- Place in turned-off oven and let milk mixture ferment for at least 8 hours and up to overnight. Ideally the mixture should maintain at about 110 degrees for the duration of the ferment, but it is not hugely problematic if it drops lower than this temperature. If the temperature is lower it just might take longer for the yogurt to set up, or you may just need to be content with a thinner yogurt. Don't worry about fermenting too long and having your milk go bad- the bacteria prevents the yogurt from spoiling.
- When your fermentation is complete, whisk your yogurt to remove any lumps and then transfer to a container to chill.
- Fresh yogurt will last for about 2 weeks in the fridge.
1. Set a colander onto a similar-sized bowl (but make sure there is room for drainage) and line the colander with cheesecloth.
2. Pour yogurt into cheesecloth and cover with plastic wrap.
3. Let the mixture drain for anywhere between 1 hour and up to overnight depending on how thick you prefer your yogurt.
4. When ready to use, remove from cheesecloth and whisk to remove any lumps.