Yogurt from Home

Yes, that’s right: you can make yogurt at home. It sounds weird, but it is one of the easiest things I’ve done recently. Plus, you can make a gallon of yogurt (if you want; that’s a whole lotta yogurt) for the price of a gallon of milk. I love saving money when and where I can, and before I started making it, we were spending $3-4 dollars a week on yogurt at the store. Now we spend less than one dollar on yogurt per week. for the same amount.

“So why doesn’t everyone make yogurt at home?” you ask me. I don’t know. I figure most people hear the process and think it’s too complicated for them to do. It does sound complicated, but I urge everyone to try it; it’s really much easier than it sounds.

 

Here’s what you will need:

  • milk (the amount of milk used yields the same amount of yogurt; make what you think your family will eat in the next two weeks)
  •  3 Tbsp.-1/2 C. dry powdered milk (depending on the amount of milk used)
  • the same amount of plain yogurt
  • mason jars or old yogurt containers
  • a warm, out of the way place and a few towels OR an oven set to it’s lowest setting

Some things that are helpful, but not absolutely necessary:

  • a candy thermometer with a clip
  • an oven thermometer

Step 1: Wash your jars and lids in hot, soapy water. Dry them thoroughly and place them on a cookie sheet to make them easier to transport.

Step 2: pour the milk into a heavy saucepan. Clip the thermometer to the side so the end of the probe is submerged in the milk.

Step 3: heat the milk, stirring constantly until the thermometer reads 180 degrees, or until it is frothy, but not boiling.

Step 4: run to the bathroom to put your hair up, because standing at the stove stirring milk gets kinda hot. Then forget what you are doing while looking for your cell phone around the house. Then remember and run back to the kitchen and keep stirring.

Step 5: forget to stir the milk again when this shows up at your feet wanting some water in his dish.

( Leo is not responsible for the tears in my poor kitchen rug. My washing machine wasn’t feeling well one day.)

Step 6: once the milk has reached 180 degrees (200 is okay, just don’t go higher than that) remove it from the heat (seriously, take it off the burner. It needs to cool down from here and it won’t if you leave it on the stove) and sprinkle in the powdered milk and stir really well. I used 1/4 C. of powdered milk for 1 1/2 quarts of milk.

Step 7: after adding the powdered milk and stirring it, let the milk cool to 115 degrees. Hint: stirring occasionally prevents false thermometer readings, and it cools the milk faster. If you’re not using a thermometer, cool just until you can hold your pinkie in the milk for ten seconds, no more.

Step 8: once the milk has cooled to 115 degrees (not hotter), add the yogurt you purchased, or if you’ve made yogurt within the last 7 days, you can use some from a previous batch. Stir it in well.

Step 9: Here is where your method may differ from mine. I have an electric range, and the oven has a warm setting. I put an oven thermometer in the oven and turn it on warm during the next steps.

Step 10: Ladle the hot milk/yogurt mixture into prepared jars or containers. I am using my Pyrex measuring cup because my ladle drips all over the place when I try to aim for such a small target.

Step 11: Turn your oven off if you’re using your oven. Put lids on the jars and place the tray of jars into the oven. If you’re not using your oven, place the tray of filled jars in a warm, out of the way place and cover completely with several towels. You can also set a heating pad under the tray and set it on medium.

*note: there are several different sized jars in the oven because yogurt is consumed in two different ways in our house; in neat little single serve portions (me) and in large quantities quickly (The Renaissance Man). It doesn’t matter what size containers you use, the yogurt will set in the same amount of time.

Step 12: This is the hardest part: close the oven door and walk away. The yogurt will take anywhere between 4-8 hours to set. The shorter the time, the milder the taste. I find that after about 7 hours my yogurt is sufficiently set and tastes the way I want it to. When you can tilt a jar without the yogurt inside sloshing against the sides of the jar, it is set. Then you can place the jars in the refrigerator to chill overnight.

 

This yogurt is plain. To sweeten it you can add sugar, honey, maple syrup, jelly, or whatever floats your yogurt boat. The Renaissance man and I eat or yogurt with honey and homemade granola on top. This is my breakfast 5 days a week, and it is so delicious. If you beg I might even share my recipe for homemade granola with you…

 

Enjoy!

The Wife

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15 thoughts on “Yogurt from Home

    • I make a batch every weekend for the next week. It’s unbelievably easy, and you can modify it to fit your tastes. Like greek yogurt? Strain it through cheesecloth before you refrigerate it. Like your yogurt a little thicker? Just add a bit more dry milk. The possibilities are endless! Let me know how yours turns out!

  1. I canned some plum jelly and love to add that to my yogurt! If the kids have been especially good (or allergy season and they’re not feeling very well), I’ll add some nutella as a treat! So yummy!

  2. I use the whole pouch of dry milk. It makes the final product very thick, like Greek yogurt. Also, I stick the jars in a cooler and add hot tap water until it’s about halfway up the sides of the jars. Close the lid and forget about it until the next morning.

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  6. LOVE your explanation and humor about the yogurt. It made me giggle… I recently bought a 7 cup Eurocuisen yogurt maker have made 8 batches so far. The 1st thin but edible, the 2nd perfect, the 3rd between the two. 4, 5 6, 7, 8 had a date w/ the trash can. I don’t know what was done wrong? I was beginning to think it was operator error but now, I blame it on the maker. It is its fault, Im sure of it. lol
    Will be trying the yogurt in the oven tonight. Have 2 questions: Should the oven be at a certain temp throughout the whole process? Don’t go over “this” or under “that”? And have you ever tried putting fruit or jam in the jars before putting it in the oven?
    Thanks for sharing…

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the post! I promise you, yogurt making is all about trial and error! I have made batches that didn’t work AT ALL and batches that were better than store bought. There are so many variables that go into it!

      To answer your questions: you want to stay around 115-125 F for the culture to take. I have an ancient gas oven. If I put it on “warm” up until I put the yogurt in, then turn it off, I find it keeps the temperature long enough to get the culture going. If you are unsure about your oven, I’d recommend an oven thermometer. I used one until I learned my oven’s capabilities.

      You can definitely add some jam or fruit before you incubate your yogurt. You can add it to the jars, or add it to the whole batch beforehand. I don’t, only because I never know what I’ll be using the yogurt for, and I can always stir in some preserves or honey right before I eat it. I like the versatility of the plain yogurt.

      If you do experiment with add-ins, let me know how it turns out and what you did. I’m always interested to hear how my recipes are expanded on!

  7. I tried your recipe last night and didn’t turn out well. I guess I’m not the right person to make yogurt. When I opened the lids, it has this watery kind of liquid surrounding the yogurt and they don’t seem to be set up very well. I really want to offer my husband a healthier alternative to store bought yogurt. Please do you have any suggestions?

    • The watery stuff is normal, you can either drain it off, or just mix it in before you eat it.

      I do not incubate my yogurt with the lids on. I have no idea if it makes any difference or not, though.

      Without knowing your, setup, or what temperature your oven was at, my advice is limited. That said, you can always re-use yogurt that didn’t set up right. Just reheat it to 190 degrees, cool it to 120, then add more yogurt starter. Then try incubating again. I have done this several times (my yogurt doesn’t always turn out, either) and have gotten good results.

      Did you add powdered milk? I always do, and I find that it makes a much firmer end product. I have experimented with different amounts, and I get the best results with about 1/4C. Powdered milk mixed into the yogurt starter. Then add all that to the milk once it cools to 120 degrees.

      Don’t give up on yogurt just yet! It does take a lot of trial and error, but once you get your method down, you really can get consistent results!

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