Homemade Yogurt is so easy to make. If you have some time to spare in the evening you will want to try this.
Making yogurt is a great alternative to buying premade yogurt. For starters, it is cheaper. I buy a 3 pack of organic milk at Costco, which only costs about $11. With that much milk I can make a good 30 jars of yogurt. Second, you can control the amount (and type) of sugar that is added in (if any!). And lastly, it’s relatively easy: heat, cool, incubate, eat.
There are different ways to make yogurt. I use a yogurt maker to make my yogurt. The yogurt maker is like an incubator- it simply heats up and stays at one low heat temperature (approximately 108 degrees).
Here is the yogurt maker I use: Euro Cuisine YM80 Yogurt Maker You really can’t beat the price, and I do believe it pays for itself with just a few uses.
Before starting, you want to make sure that all your equipment is clean and sanitary. You want to incubate your cultured milk…not any other lingering bacteria!
I usually set my clean yogurt glasses into the sink and pour boiling water into them. I allow them to sit a minute then use tongs to carefully pick them up and pour out the hot water. Once they are cool enough to touch, I place them on the counter to continue cooling until ready to use.
Next, you want to measure out how much milk you need. My yogurt machine uses 7 small glass jars. Using one of those glass jars, I pour 7 jars-worth of milk in to a saucepan.
Once the milk is measured and in the sauce pan, heat it up until it is approximately 180 degrees. You want to do this slowly and stir often with a whisk to keep milk from scorching on the bottom. Don’t try to bring the milk to a quick boil, instead let it heat up slowly.
A good indicator to know when the milk is ready- it will begin to foam, be slightly bubbly, and steamy. At this point you can turn off the stove top and remove the sauce pan from the heat.
Now for the cooling.
You will need a thermometer for this part. For a “quick” cooling you can transfer the milk into another bowl, stir, and allow it to cool . I use the word “quick” loosely because this can take a while.
Or you can place the bowl of milk in another bowl full of ice (or sinkful of ice)- You will want to keep stirring it often though so the milk cools evenly. Keep an eye on the temperature, you don’t want it to drop below 110 degrees, but if it does, you can heat it up again on the stove top.
When the milk is between 110-115 degrees, take a small amount of the milk and gently mix it with your starter in a separate bowl or jar. Then pour the milk/starter mixture back into the rest of the milk and gently stir.
Let’s take a moment to talk about starters…
For your starter you can purchase a freeze-dried starter or use plain pre-bought yogurt. When using yogurt as a starter, use approximately 3-6oz and mix that with the milk. The amount you use will depend on the amount of yogurt you are making. My yogurt machine uses about 28 ounces of milk and I find 3-4 ounces of plain yogurt makes a great end result.
You might think it sounds silly to buy yogurt to make yogurt, but this has actually yielded the best tasting homemade yogurt for me. You always want to use a good quality PLAIN yogurt (fat content does not matter). I use a popular plain Greek yogurt brand and it turns out great. I about between 1/2 and 3/4 of the 5.3oz-sized container to mix with the heated milk.
When I use the freeze dried starters, the end result still has a good flavor but seems more tart and slightly more watery.
I have also tried using a probiotic pill (the dietitian in me thought this was a great idea!), Unfortunately, that resulted in even more watery yogurt and less good tasting- so I do not recommend that.
So back to the yogurt making…
The milk has reached 110-115 degrees and you have added the starter…If you are adding in flavoring, such as vanilla extract, now is the time to mix it in. You can also wait and add in after the yogurt is ready to eat. I prefer to add fruit/honey after the yogurt is ready to eat.
Now it is time to put the cultured milk into the glasses! Just pour it in, or use a ladle if needed.
Place the filled jars into he incubator- DO NOT PUT LIDS ON INDIVIDUAL JARS!
Turn on the timer (at least 8 hours), place the top cover on the yogurt maker, and let sit. Yes, GO AWAY…Don’t try to touch it, shake it, or remove the top cover…just go away and let the culture work on it’s own! The longer it’s incubated, the thicker, more tart the yogurt will become.
When it’s done, this is what you will see: Now you can touch!
Take out the jars of yogurt, put on the individual lids, and allow to chill.
Once chilled and ready to eat, add any fruit or toppings to mix in ( think berries, granola, flax seeds, nuts, honey, extracts, etc).
Or just eat it plain out of the jar!
Store the covered yogurt up to 2 weeks.
- Milk- 2% or whole.
- Yogurt starter of choice
- Sterilze all equipment/jars to be used.
- Measure out the amount of milk you will need.
- Pour milk into a large saucepan and slowly bring to 180 degrees, stirring almost constantly. Milk will become frothy and slightly bubbly.
- Remove milk from heat and allow to cool to between 112-115 degrees.
- Once milk is at the lowered temperature, gently mix a small amount of the milk with the starter.
- When using freeze-dried starter: follow the directions on the package.
- When using plain yogurt as starter: Use 3-6 ounces of yogurt. My yogurt maker holds 7small jars- (approximately 28 ounces of milk is used)- I use about 3-4 ounces of yogurt to mix with the warm milk.
- Once the starter is mixed with the small amount of milk, pour it into the larger container of milk, stir gently.
- If adding extract or flavoring, now is the time to mix that in as well. You may also choose to add in flavor later, after your yogurt has been made.
- Next, pour or ladle the milk mixture into the jars or containers for your yogurt maker.
- Do NOT place individual lids on the jars. Place the top cover on the machine and turn on the timer- allow at least 8 hours. Do not disturb your yogurt during this time. The longer you allow the yogurt to incubate, the thicker and more tart the yogurt will be.
- Once yogurt has incubated at least 8 hours, remove and cover jars and allow them to chill in the fridge. Store for up to two weeks.
- If making Greek-style yogurt, you can strain your yogurt (using a yogurt strainer, nut bag, or cheese cloth). The liquid will SLOWLY strain through leaving you with a thicker yogurt.
- To make thicker, higher protein content milk: add powdered milk during the process of heating milk on the stove.
- Yogurt starter of choice: 3-6oz of plain yogurt (Greek or regular, any fat content)
- Freeze-Dried Yogurt Starter
Why eat yogurt? See my post on pre and probiotics: Click Here!