Homemade Yogurt

This post contains affiliate links. Homemade Yogurt is a lot easier than you might think to make yourself. This recipe uses a yogurt maker/incubator but you can also make it in a low oven. All you is need is milk and either plain yogurt or yogurt cultures, and in a few hours, you’ll have yogurt that you can customize to your liking.

Two glass jars with white caps sit on a grey-striped white towel on a wooden board in front of a grey background. Two stainless steel spoons are to the left of the jars.

It took me a long time to appreciate yogurt.

I’m talking years. I couldn’t get past it being cooked milk and having that tang to it.

Right around the time I graduated from college, La Crème debuted, and I thought I’d give it a try (it has since been discontinued). I was hooked, especially on the vanilla flavor. Rich, creamy, and no yogurt “taste.”

I then branched out to Yoplait’s Whips, which of course, are more dessert than yogurt.

A few years ago, I hopped on the Greek yogurt bandwagon, and I haven’t looked back. Chobani’s chalky aftertaste was replaced by Fage’s richness, though fairly recently, I’ve become rather fond of Siggi’s Icelandic yogurt (It’s similar to Greek yogurt). And they make the BEST Strawberry yogurt I’ve ever had!).

The only problem with all these yogurts is that they’re expensive as all get-out! Well, Yoplait and Dannon are reasonably priced, but truth be told, I’m getting rather snobbish about the type of yogurt I buy. If I can’t pronounce any of the ingredients, I’m not buying it.

When I won that Williams-Sonoma gift card, one of the things I kept coming back to was a yogurt maker.

A yogurt incubator full of jars sits on a cluttered kitchen counter.

I also bought extra jars, just because we go through a LOT of yogurt.

When the bambino was an infant and dealing with his first ear infection, he wound up with thrush. To help combat it, his doctor told me I could give him plain yogurt, if he’d eat it. He LOVED it, and ever since then, he’ll happily eat a cup a few times a week, either for breakfast or a snack.

If I were to buy enough yogurt for each of the three of us to have a cup each day for a week, I’d be spending upwards of $30 on that alone! When you’re working with a weekly budget of only about $60-75, it’s just not feasible.

So I thought if we liked the homemade yogurt, I’d make a batch of that every week, and it would basically cost me a half gallon of milk. Burbach’s Milk, of course. Or Stensland Family Farms milk.

Scalded milk in a stainless steel saucepan sits on a white stove.

I got the milk/yogurt base ready before bed, as it takes at the very least seven hours to cook/incubate. How long it takes depends on the milk you’re using. The less fat in your milk, the longer it’s going to need to “cook.”

I filled the jars, and then put them in the yogurt maker, and went to bed. And the next morning, they were done!

A white bowl filled with yogurt and topped with granola sits on a grey-striped white towel on a wooden board in front of a grey background. A capped glass jar of yogurt is to the top-left of the bowl, and to the bottom left are two stainless steel spoons.

But how did it taste? Good!

A white bowl filled with yogurt is topped with granola and a drizzle of maple syrup and sits on a grey-striped white towel on a wooden board in front of a grey background. A capped glass jar of yogurt is to the top-left of the bowl, and to the bottom left are two stainless steel spoons.

REALLY good. Much creamier than something like Dannon or Yoplait plain, though not as thick as Greek or Icelandic yogurt. To get that thickness, you’ll need to strain more of the whey from it, either using a specialty strainer (like this one) or cheesecloth placed in a strainer over a bowl.

For the first batch I made, I used Fage Total Classic as my initial starter. For the second batch, I used the freeze-dried starter that came with the yogurt maker (I also went ahead and bought extra).

That second batch tasted much more tart than the batch I made with Fage (I wound up returning the freeze-dried cultures).

I do think it helps to use a quality milk, though obviously you can use any sort you like. I started with whole milk and didn’t flavor it. You can also add dried milk powder to the base as you initially scald it, which will help boost the creaminess factor if you’re using a lower-fat milk.

I figured I’ll master the basic recipe/technique, then start playing around with flavorings.

A white bowl filled with yogurt is topped with granola and a drizzle of maple syrup and sits on a grey-striped white towel on a wooden board in front of a grey background. There is a stainless steel spoon holding a bite of yogurt and granola. A capped glass jar of yogurt is to the top-left of the bowl, and to the bottom left is another stainless steel spoon.

Yield: 7 jars

Homemade Yogurt

A white bowl filled with yogurt and topped with granola sits on a grey-striped white towel on a wooden board in front of a grey background. A capped glass jar of yogurt is to the top-left of the bowl, and to the bottom left are two stainless steel spoons.
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 7 hours
Additional Time 3 hours
Total Time 11 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 C (48-oz.) whole milk
  • 1 6-or-7-oz. container of full fat/whole milk/Greek or Icelandic style plain yogurt

Instructions

  1. Pour the milk into a large saucepan. Attach a thermometer, and over medium heat, bring the milk up to its boiling point, 180 degrees F.
  2. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool to 110 degrees F.
  3. When the milk has cooled to 110 degrees, remove about one cup and place that in a small bowl. Whisk in the plain yogurt. Whisk the tempered milk back into the saucepan.
  4. Divide the milk between individual jars and process according to yogurt maker's instructions. Cool in refrigerator at least three hours before serving.

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