How to Make Yogurt

You’ll never believe how simple this is.

It never dawned on me that yogurt was something I could make in my own kitchen with little to no equipment. I found this Homemade Yogurt recipe and was intrigued. So I started to do a little reading, and I learned you really only need a couple of things to make your very own yogurt at home. There are actually only TWO ingredients. One of them is yogurt. And I know, I know — it seems strange that you need yogurt to make yogurt but I can explain.
Have you ever made that Amish friendship bread? Or homemade sourdough? You need a little bit of what’s left over to get the next batch going. That’s how yogurt is — it takes just half a cup of yogurt. That yogurt, when combined with milk in just the right way, yields seven pints! Let me show you how.

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1 Get Started

This recipe may only call for two ingredients, but you do need a few tools. These are basic things that you probably already have on hand. You need a nice heavy stock pot; one with a lid. You need a spatula. You need an instant read thermometer. Alternatively, you can use a candy thermometer, which are handy because they clip right to the side of the pot. You'll also need glass jars (or whatever containers you plan to store your yogurt in). Also, make sure you have a few towels handy. For the ingredients, you will need half a gallon of whole milk and half a cup of PLAIN yogurt. Make sure you check the label.

You want to make sure your yogurt has live active yogurt cultures. That’s what makes the magic happen.

Whole milk is recommended for first time or novice yogurt-makers. It will yield the thickest results without trying too hard. After you find your yogurt groove you can start to play around with low-fat versions.

2 Heat It Up

Place the half gallon of milk into your large stock pot. Slowly bring the heat up. You don’t want to scald the milk, and you don’t want it to boil over. In fact, it’s best to start with the heat on medium-low and then gradually bring it up while periodically stirring. That way your milk never goes beyond the recommended 180°F - 200°F range.

3 Cool

After you heat the milk up, you are going to cool it back down. Ideally you’ll let it cool to 110°F - 120°F. Stir periodically to keep a skin from forming over the top of the milk.

If you want to cool your milk down quickly, you can prepare an ice bath while the milk is heating. The easiest way to do this is to fill your sink halfway up with ice. When you remove the pot from the heat, nestle it down into the ice. Stir periodically.

4 Stir

Now that your milk has cooled to the right temperature, add 1 cup of milk to a medium bowl. Gently stir in the half cup of yogurt.

Don’t vigorously whisk or stir at any time during the yogurt making process. Not while heating the milk, not while cooling the milk, and not while adding the yogurt. Vigorously stirring interrupts the science at work in the yogurt making process.

Once the yogurt/milk mixture is smooth, gently stir it into the remaining warm milk in the pot.


5 Cover and Wait

Put the lid on your pot, wrap the whole thing in towels (this helps keep the heat in) and slide your pot into the (turned off) oven. You can turn the oven light on, but don’t turn on the heat.
Now you wait. Check your yogurt after four hours. The longer it sits, the thicker and more tart the yogurt gets. I let mine sit for 10 hours, so you can easily do this overnight.

6 Chill

Spoon your yogurt into containers and refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours. Then it’s time to eat!
 •  You made plain yogurt. You can easily sweeten your yogurt with fruit, honey, or granulated sugar.
 •  If you prefer a thicker, Greek-style yogurt, you can spoon the yogurt into cheesecloth and drain the excess liquid.
 •  You can add unflavored gelatin to thicken your yogurt, too.Try starting with about 1 teaspoon per quart of yogurt.

About Heather T.

Heather, who runs, has been making messes in the kitchen since she was a little kid when her mom handed her a cook book and told her, “If you can read, you can cook.” Today she serves up fresh, healthy eats, easy weeknight meals and decadent sweet treats.