Sunday, July 12, 2009

How to: Homemade Yogurt

I love yogurt, especially mixed with uncooked oatmeal and jam or honey for breakfast. But I get tired of the empty quart yogurt tubs stacking up, and feel guilty just pitching them in the recycling bin at a rate of 1 or 2 per week. Knowing how much I love yogurt, my mom gave me a yogurt maker last year and now I make most of my own yogurt. I use a Salton yogurt maker, but I don't think they manufacture them anymore. I can't find them for sale online, anyway. Most electric yogurt makers are less than $50, and come with either one quart- or 2-quart-sized jar or several small jars.

adapted from French Women don't Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano

1 quart milk
about 1/2 c powdered milk
1/2 plain yogurt, or one packet yogurt starter*

1. Wash your saucepan and utensils with hot water and soap, and dry with a clean towel. Pour the milk into the saucepan and add a small handful of powdered milk. This is important if you use skim or lowfat milk -- it ensures your yogurt is thick and creamy. Experiment with the amount of powdered milk until your yogurt is the consistency you like. You can use anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 cup.

2. Heat the milk over medium-low heat, stirring often, until it reaches about 170-180 degrees Fahrenheit, or until bubbles form at the edges and steam rises.

3. While the milk is heating, fill the sink with 2-3 inches cold water and about a cup of ice. When the milk is hot, remove the saucepan from the stove and place it in the water bath. This will help cool the milk faster than just leaving it on the counter. Stir frequently to ensure it cools evenly.

4. When the milk cools to 110 degrees Fahrenheit, gently stir in 1/2 c plain yogurt (with active cultures) or the packet of yogurt starter, and pour into your yogurt maker. Leave the yogurt undisturbed for 6-8 hours, until it's your preferred consistency. The longer you leave it, the thicker and tarter it gets.

You can add fruit and flavorings after cooking it, or you can eat it plain. I like it with a spoonful of jam or honey stirred in.

If you don't have a yogurt maker, you can cover the yogurt and leave it in a warm place for 6-10 hours. The advantage of a yogurt maker is it maintains a steady temperature so you can be sure your batch will incubate -- the yogurt needs to stay around 108-112 degrees. This site has some different methods for incubating.

*I like Stonyfield Farms yogurt for a starter. You can save about 1/2 c of yogurt from your batch to use as a starter for next time, but it loses potency after 3 or 4 batches and you'll need a fresh starter.


  1. My mom made yogurt when I was a kid (and only later did I learn she wouldn't eat it, as she doesn't like plain yog. what a hypocrite, huh?!). She used a ceramic dish with a lid, and a heating pad. Sit the milk & starter in the dish, on the heating pad, which is on a low setting. Come back later - you have yogurt.

    I haven't tried to do this myself, but you DO have a point about the yogurt tubs. I use some for food storage but limit myself to having 10 on hand at any time - more than that is just silly.

  2. Blah I just wrote a whole comment that it wouldn't take. Okay so as I mentioned on the BBQ post, I really want to do this sometime, but maybe after I get back to my real life in England ("if" I do, etc., blah).


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