Making homemade yogurt is simple and economical. Many people don’t realize that yogurt is actually a fermented milk product whose active bacterial cultures aid in digestion (probiotics). So besides saving quite a bit of money a month, the health benefits are tremendous. My boys eat a yogurt a day and I usually give it to them before bed as it’s said that it also helps you sleep better at night.
Equipment and ingredients needed:
- 1 Half gallon or gallon of milk
(The amount of milk you use is how much yogurt you will make, I currently use 1 gallon which lasts me 4 weeks)
- 1 tbls of plain organic yogurt
- 1 4-5 Qt pot with lid
- Spoon to Stir
- 1 thermometer
- 1 heating pad
Step 1. Sanitize equipment
Make sure all equipment you’ll be using is sanitized. Either sanitize in boiling water or run your pot and spoon through the dishwasher.
Step 2. Add Your Milk to the pot and heat to 185°F stirring frequently to prevent the milk from scorching.
Step 4. Cool to 110°F
Once the milk has reached 185°F immediately take off the heat and place in a sink filled with cold water and ice cubes and continue to stir until the temperature drops to 110°F. Important – If you’re yogurt starter is cold, only drop the temperature to 120°F. The cold yogurt will bring the temperature down to around 110°F or the temperature at which the beneficial bacteria will multiply.
Step 5. Add 1 tablespoon yogurt starter to the milk and stir to distribute the cultures.
Step 6. Cover and Keep Warm
Cover the pot with a lid and place on top of a heating pad set to medium. Cover with dishtowels and allow to sit undisturbed for 7-8 hours or as long as 12-24 hours. The longer it sits, the thicker it gets, however, the tangier it will also get.
Step 7. After as many hours as you have let it to ferment, stir well to incorporate the curds and whey.
As you can see in the picture below, the liquid or whey, rises to the top with the curds below it. If you are into lacto-fermentation, I would suggest you save some of it to use for fermenting vegetables. For more information on lacto-fermentation, click here.
Step 8. Pour into containers and chill overnight
Once your yogurt is made, place in the coldest part of your refrigerator overnight where it will thicken further. Make sure to save a tablespoon of your yogurt as it will serve as your starter for your next batch.
Sweetening the Yogurt
This is totally personal preference. It took me awhile to get it just right for my family. My family usually eats it plain, sweetened with a drizzle of raw honey. However, you can also flavor and sweeten your homemade yogurt as well.
For this particular batch I used strawberries. Feel free to substitute for any berry or fruit.
- 1 pint plain homemade yogurt
- 1 1/2 cups frozen berries or fruit
- natural sweetener of choice.
Step 1. Thaw your berries
Step 2. In a food processor, blend your berries. I do this for my youngest as I’m not yet comfortable with chuncks, but as he gets older, I will just mash the fruit with a fork.
Step 3. In a bowl, mix in the yogurt, fruit and sweetener.
Step 4. Place back in pint jar and serve in individual portions as needed.
Where did you get those lids on your mason jars? I seriously need those here! Good job with the yogurt! I fondly remember the first time we made yogurt tother… it was crazy and fun! You should seriously think about trying kefir. Its so much less work than making yogurt. I’m hooked now :o)
how nice to share this……we used to make yogurt All the time..
Divina Pe says
It's time to make my own yogurt. I can definitely digest yogurt. Thanks for the informative post.
Does it need to be strained? I am anxious to make this and I do not have a strainer yet :).
Amy D. says
When you say “heating pad” do you mean actually one of those electric pads used for soothing pain? Just want to make sure I’m doing it right! 🙂
Also, does the milk need to be unpasteurized? I can’t find it anywhere and the local farmers’ markets won’t open again until May.
Diana Bauman says
Amy, yes. An electric pad for soothing pain. I’ve been using mine for 5 years now so not a bad investment 😉 The milk can be pasteurized or raw.
I just cover my pot with a quilt and use a ‘rice bag’ once or twice (sac of rice that you can throw into microwave for a minute to warm up)if my kitchen is colder than usual. I leave it up to 18 hours and works great.
Liz Wolfe says
Have you ever made yogurt with goat’s milk? Do you do anything different?
Diana Bauman says
Liz, I never have made yogurt with goat’s milk, but I can’t see why it would be any different. As long as you have a culture and leave it out to ferment somewhere warm (110F), I’m sure it should thicken just fine!
Have you ever used powdered honey in a pint to flavor. I like the store bought vanilla and honey greek yogurt but when I get plain and add raw honey it doesnt taste the same.
Diana Bauman says
Aimee, we’ve been eating homemade yogurt for a few years now that we actually eat it plain. When I first started making it, I didn’t think we’d get there, but goodness… it taste so good that it’s gone before I know it 😉