Yogurt is a beneficial and versatile food. You can use it to make complex sauces or enjoy in a bowl for breakfast.
But you don’t need to go to the grocery store to get yogurt, either. Anyone can cook homemade yogurt in their home—no special equipment or machines required.
And trust me, once you switch to homemade yogurt, you won’t be able to stand the store bought stuff! Companies add artificial sweeteners, lots of sugar, and preservatives to their yogurt.
The ingredients in this homemade recipe? Milk and yogurt.
Get the benefits of eating yogurt for less cost. And don’t worry, it’s completely safe to make yogurt at home. I’ve been following this recipe for five years and my family is still alive and well!
If you’re nervous about making yogurt, you can try using a yogurt machine, although it’s not necessary.
Before you start
Keep these tips in mind before cooking your yogurt.
Use full-fat, organic milk
You’ll want to use full-fat milk to make yogurt. Anything less and your yogurt will come out super runny.
I know organic milk is more expensive, but it’s worth the cost. I personally think it tastes better. And hey, it comes from happier cows, so that’s something, right?
You need yogurt to make yogurt
This is the catch-22 of making yogurt. It’s fermented using a certain bacteria found inside a calf’s stomach. I don’t have calves lying around, so I use the bacteria from a yogurt starter.
You can buy a yogurt starter online, but I prefer to get mine at the grocery store. I buy Stonyfield’s full-fat regular yogurt as a starter. I buy two of the mini cups to get 1 cup of starter.
P.S. Don’t start your batch with Greek yogurt. You need to use regular yogurt, or it won’t come out right.
Don’t freeze yogurt you plan on eating
I once tried freezing my yogurt to preserve it for later. Once defrosted, the yogurt came out grainy and unpleasant.
There’s nothing wrong with freezing yogurt to use later as a starter, but if you plan on eating it, don’t freeze your yogurt.
If you have a hard time eating a gallon of yogurt before it goes bad, use half a gallon of milk for this recipe instead.
Homemade yogurt recipe
Large pot with a lid
Large silicone or wood spoon
Cheesecloth, if making Greek yogurt
Mason jars with lids
One gallon full-fat, organic milk
1 cup organic regular yogurt, or a powdered yogurt starter
- Allow the gallon of milk to come to room temperature. This will decrease the likelihood of scorching as the milk heats.
- Heat the large pot over medium-low heat. Slowly pour the milk into the pot.
- Using your thermometer, heat the milk to 185 degrees. Stir periodically to prevent scorching. If a skin forms, simply remove it with your spoon.
- Once the milk is 185 degrees, remove it from heat. Allow the milk to cool to 110 degrees. You can either set the pot out at room temperature, which will take longer to cool, or you can speed it up by placing the pot in a sink filled with cold water and ice. (Quickly remove the pot from the ice bath once the yogurt comes down to the right temperature.)
- Once the milk is 110 degrees, pour your yogurt starter into the milk and briefly stir.
- Place the lid on the pot and allow it to sit overnight at room temperature. It should ferment for at least 9 hours.
- After the mixture ferments overnight, you have yogurt! At this point, you can use the funnel to pour yogurt into the mason jars. If you prefer thick, Greek-style yogurt, read on.
- Place the cheesecloth in a colander placed over a large bowl. The colander should leave enough room for the bowl to collect the whey.
- Carefully pour your yogurt into the cheesecloth. Allow it to strain for 2-4 hours, until the yogurt is your desired texture.
- Pour into the Mason jars and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.
The bottom line
See? Homemade yogurt isn’t scary or risky. It’s a great way to be self-sufficient and healthy. Next time you want yogurt, skip the store bought stuff and make your own!