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How to make Yogurt.
From scratch!

 

 

There I was standing in the health food store minding my own business when a woman opened up the refrigerator and pulled out a tub of Liberté Greek Yogurt.

Well.

I couldn’t even believe she did it. She stood there, right in FRONT of me, holding yogurt. To purchase. I mean, I don’t want to say there was something wrong with her, but clearly … there was something wrong with her.

To do that and not expect to me to jump right up in her face and start telling her about how she can make her own yogurt, is insanity.

INSANITY I SAY.

I tried to be kindda cool about it, but 3 sentences into my inspirational diatribe on how she could make her own yogurt, I realized my speech was getting really rapid and maybe a touch too animated for anything outside of a meth amphetamine lab.

I … I can’t help myself.

I once stopped a lady in line at Costco to tell her she shouldn’t be buying pre-cut stewing beef because it’d end up making her stew gross instead of delicious. Go buy a blade or a cross rib roast and cut it up I told her.

These things always happen when I’m by myself because no one will go shopping with me anymore.

So, the woman with the yogurt. I spent a couple of minutes telling her how easy it was to make yogurt, and how I was actually going home right that second to make yogurt myself. As I was telling her the 2 temperatures she had to remember, her eyebrows scrunched together and she appeared to be trying to commit them to memory. Either that, or she was trying to memorize my facial features.

I skipped out of the store, confident in the notion that I had either supplied this woman with a life changing recipe, or gave her a really good story to tell her family. Or the cops.

As I mentioned, I just can’t help myself. I’m not being a know it all, I just want people to do things better, smarter, cheaper. I want everyone’s life to be more enjoyable.

And homemade yogurt is a one way ticket to an enjoyable life. It really is.

I only started making this a few weeks ago and I’ve managed to make exactly 14 billion batches in that time.

 

You can use whole, 2%, 1% or skim milk.

I always use homogenized  milk.  (do not use ultra pasteurized)

To “activate” your  yogurt, you need 2 Tablespoons of  plain yogurt with active cultures.  Just look for the words probiotic or active cultures.

1

 

Heat your milk to 180° F (until almost boiling) over medium heat.  It won’t take long so keep an eye on it.

2

 

Remove your milk from the heat and set it on the counter until it comes down to 110-115° F.  This will take around half an hour to 45 minutes.
3

 

Once your milk has cooled to 115° F, stir in 2 Tablespoons of active plain yogurt.

Stir well until combined.

4

 

Pour your milk mixture into a glass jar.  I use a large mason jar.  Put a lid on it.

5

 

Your yogurt has to stay at 115° F for the next 6-8 hours.  Overnight is best.

So.  How to do this?  Well some ovens have a warm temperature that will  keep the oven at 120° F.  Heat your oven to this temperature, then put your yogurt in the oven and turn OFF the oven.  Leave the oven door closed with the yogurt inside for 6 hours.

If you  have a big enough insulated thermos, you can just put the yogurt in the thermos, wrap it in towels and leave it.

Or you can do what I do.  I put my mason jar of yogurt into a cooler, fill the cooler up with hot water from the tap (hottest possible) and close the cooler.  Let it sit for 6-8  hours.

6

For extra insurance, I wrap the cooler in a towel.

7

Once the milk  has sat for 6-8 hours like this, you will have yogurt!  You can either put it in the fridge as is (your yield will be 4 cups) or you can make Greek Style yogurt, which is what I do.  I love a good, thick, creamy yogurt.

To make Greek Yogurt, after letting your yogurt sit for it’s prescribed 6-8 hours, just pour it into a cotton dish towel or cheesecloth and allow it to drain over a bowl in the fridge for 1-2 hours.  You’ll be amazed at the amount of whey they drips out.    Once it has drained, just scrape the yogurt out of dish towel/cheese cloth and stir it up well with a whisk.  Your yield will only be 2 cups of yogurt, but it will be a smooth, rich, delicious Greek Yogurt.

Finished

You can either eat it plain, stir in some honey for sweetness or top it with a dollop of jam to make a fruit yogurt.  Of course, you can also put the jam on the bottom and top it with yogurt, creating a fruit on the bottom yogurt.

I always remove 2 Tablespoons right away and put them in a little dish in the fridge.  That way I know I have my starter for the next batch of yogurt.

I really hope that woman I accosted went home and made yogurt.  She admitted she’d better go home and do it right away, otherwise she’d forget about it and never make it.  And I could see she really wanted to.  Honestly.

The woman in Costco with the stewing beef?  Maybe not as impressed with my food exuberance.  As I mentioned.  I can’t help myself.

The grocery store to me is the airport to the Hare Krishna. Even though I’ve never actually seen a Hare Krishna anywhere let alone at an airport. They’re probably at home because they’re all bunged up from not eating enough yogurt.


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169 Comments | Filed Under: Kitchen | Tags: ,

169 Responses to How to make Yogurt.
From scratch!

  1. Kat says:

    I kid you not. I was just sitting down to google yogurt recipes for extra milk from my brand new milk goat. Thanks for coming to the rescue!

  2. Hmm – I may need to try this.

    On another matter I have actually seen Hare Krishna’s in an airport. It was in LA when I was pretty young, so the mid-80′s. They were just as you’d expect – flowing robes, tambourines, chanting. Wait – maybe they were just regular LA folk?

  3. Meghan says:

    Hey Karen! Thanks for posting this. My sister taught me how to make greek yogurt, but we used a gallon of milk and that is way too much for me. I like your recipe amounts better. Also I saw Hare Krishnas on Rue Ste. Catharine in Montreal a couple of years back.

  4. Tracie says:

    Usually when I hear the words thermometer or special heating times, I skip on to something else. I know from past experience though, that when you say something is easy and worth it, it always ends up a winner. So, due to that fact, and that I have recently gotten into making tzatziki, I am going to go out and get myself a thermometer as soon as the stores open up tomorrow…or maybe toward the end of the day. I’m getting one soon though! And thanks, Karen, tzatziki can get pricey to make if you’re buying all that Greek yogurt!

  5. Melissa L. says:

    I wonder how hot a crock pot on the “warm” (not low) setting is? Hmm. I think I’ll put water in it and check. :)

    • Shauna says:

      ooh, yes and let us know. that sounds like it might work.

      • Kim from Milwaukee says:

        I make my yogurt in my crock pot, but I’ve overcooked it even if it’s on ‘warm’ setting. The way I do it is bring the milk to 175-180 on the stove, then pour it into an unwarmed crockpot. Let it cool to 110 and whisk in the yogurt culture well. Cover with foil, then the glass lid, then a bath towel. It’ll be ready in a day or so. When you see it separating (yellow whey will be visible) then it’s done. Refrigerate before you strain for best results.

  6. Tracie says:

    P.S. I love your pictures too. By the way, have you any recipes for tzatziki? I think I just like saying tzatziki…

  7. Kansas says:

    I love homemade yogurt and make it quite regularly. I put about 7.5 cups skim milk, 1/2 cup water, and about 1 cup skim milk powder in a large measuring cup and stick it in the microwave for 20 min. Cool to 115 degrees, add 2/3 cup yogurt (mix into a small jar, add your hot milk then back into the measuring cup), and put 3 quart jars into my dehydrator. Wait for 3.5 hours and it’s done.

  8. nancy says:

    Many years ago I made yogurt and sourdough starter and my Dad said you didn’t have to get milk really hot unless you were using raw milk. (Scalding is what he called it.) So I just made these with warm milk. The more skim milk you use the more sour it gets. Now I am WAYYYYY too lazy, I go to the store and buy it.
    What I like is to get the cheapest plain yogurt and strain it through cheese cloth, it’s super thick. Greek yogurt tastes bitter to me but this is good. Also, you can save the whey you strained and use it instead of plain water to make bread. Yea, I used to do that also…..

    • Karen says:

      Nancy – I’m not a scientist or expert yogurt maker or anything, but heating the milk to 180 is necessary in order to change the structure of the milk. The protein specifically. By scalding the milk you get a thicker yogurt. (and also that temperature will kill any bacteria that may happen to be in the milk that could grow in your starter) ~ karen

      • nancy says:

        well, that makes sense, my Dad actually told me that about making bread and I extrapolated it to all warm milk things. Also I meant Drain the yogurt not Strain it.

  9. Meg says:

    This just made my brain fuzzy. And then crystal clear. And then fuzzy again: this is kind of the idea behind sourdough bread, too, right? Keep a little jar of it, keep feeding it….. I mean… are there OTHER foods you can make in the same idea? I know beer takes more work/fermenting… but now I’m trying to come up with other foods we spend too much money on buying, when they could literally just make *themselves* ?!?! I mean, what’s sour cream made of? How about buttermilk? What other ridiculous food treasures are out there waiting to grow into more food?!!

    • Jess says:

      I looked up a recipe for sour cream once, it said something like, pour milk in jar. Leave on counter for 24 hours and that was the end. lol

    • Laura Bee says:

      For a buttermilk substitite just add a tbsp of lemon juice to a cup of milk & let sit 5 minutes. That’s what I do, because I usually only need that much for a recipe. For drinking(?) I’m not sure how that would taste.

    • Megan says:

      Meg, you are my kind of girl! Discovering that I could make ricotta rocked my world- you can make virtually any dairy product at home- yogurt, ricotta, cream cheese, paneer (cheese), yogurt cheese… the list goes on! And always save your whey (it can be frozen!), and use it when you bake bread! Or put it in a protein shake.

      I hope your world just got rocked.

      • Karen says:

        Megan – Good to know about freezing the whey. The fella makes whey protein powder smoothies every morning. ~ karen!

        • kate says:

          Oh, cool! freeze the whey into the ice-cube tray and use the ice-whey cubes to make the smoothy! Wow! Good recipe(s) and a lot of helpful comments, too.

    • Wyldwomyn says:

      Try Kombucha or Kefir. Both are fermented, both are delicious and pretty cheap to make. You can also make sauerkraut by fermentation. Happy Brewing!

  10. Birdie says:

    I make yogurt all the time and I’ve got a heating tip for you. Put the jars in the oven over night with the oven light on (no pre-heating). I put the jars close to the light so they get the most heat. Works like a charm every time!

  11. Birdie says:

    I make yogurt often and have a tip for you. After you seal the jars put them in the oven over night with the oven light on. It works like a charm every time!

  12. Dru says:

    we make yogurt from the milk from our grass fed, rotational grained, hand milked Jersey cow. We take the cream off the top for ice cream and cream for coffee, and of course crime brûlée. Then the richest yogurt with what is left: the cooler works wonderfully…although people always ask if we sleep with the yogurt…another way to keep it warm for 6-8 hours.

  13. I’ve conquered ricotta, time to move on to yogurt. Thanks for the tutorial.

  14. Elizabeth says:

    You forgot to say – keep the whey. And use it in bread and pancakes, a smoothie, whatever.

  15. Alice says:

    I mix 1 1/3 cups skim milk powder with enough warm (baby bath temperature) tap water to make 3 cups “thick” milk, then mix in a tablespoon or two of live yogurt. I put the jar in the oven (gas oven with pilot light) to incubate. It takes a little longer than at a higher temperature, but it usually works. I’ve even made a little sign to hang on the oven to remind me not to turn it on.

  16. Karol says:

    I guess you’d have to like yogurt to want to make yogurt. For me, the only good yogurt is frozen.

  17. Audrey says:

    You are taking me right back to the sixties, Karen. Making yogurt and growing vegetables. A good thing, as dear old Martha would say!

  18. Tisha says:

    I make yogurt in the crockpot, I eat so much of it that it’s way cheaper to do it this way. Here’s the method I use:
    1 gallon 2% milk
    1 cup plain yogurt
    Put milk in crockpot on low for 3 hours.
    Turn off crockpot and let sit for 3 hours.
    Stir in plain yogurt and whisk to mix it in well.
    Cover and wrap crockpot in large towel overnight.
    In the morning, start the straining process. I strain it a little longer than 1-2 hours, just a personal preference. This makes quite a bit of yogurt but it’s ohsogooood.

    • Karen says:

      Tisha – The reason you’re straining longer is because you’re recipe is larger. It probably just takes longer to get to the same consistency. Yes? ~ karen

      • Tisha says:

        Yes that’s probably true, I also like it to be super thick, it’s practically cream cheese when I’m done straining. Well, not quite that thick, but thicker than Chobani or some other store bought Greek yogurt.

    • Samanatha says:

      I love the crock pot method! My son thinks it’s funny I have to go buy yogurt to make yogurt. He says just eat what you buy. :) He is 14. He doesn’t get it. Why does yogurt have a red wiggly line under it when I type it? Is there an international way to spell it that I’m missing? Yoghurt? Yoguhrt? Yogourt!! This one has no wiggly red line. hm.

    • Wayne says:

      I like flavored yogurts, but not yogurt that is on the sour side.
      This sounds like an easy thing to try.

      How long does this homeade yogurt keep?

      How would you compare store-bought greek style to homemade?

      Tks….

      • Karen says:

        Hi Wayne – Homemade yogurt keeps about as long as store bought. A week to two in the fridge. I would say that store bought Greek and homemade taste pretty much the same. And store bought yogurt sometimes has a graininess to it that homemade doesn’t. With homemade you have a tiny amount of control over how tangy it is. The longer you keep it sitting at the heated temperature the more tang it will have. And also with homemade yogurt of course, you control how thick it is. You can make it as thick or thin as you like depending on how much you drain it. Plus it’s just fun to make. ~ karen!

  19. Meagan says:

    Wow I’m so impressed! I eat a large amount of yogurt each day and admittedly I’m pretty picky about the kind of Greek yogurt I eat (they just don’t all taste the same to me). Have you been tweaking this recipe with amounts/types of ingredients to get it just so or is there room for experimentation here to see if different tastes/textures are possible?

    • Karen says:

      Megan – The longer your let it sit at 115 for, and the thicker you make it … the tangier it is. ~ karen

  20. Debbie says:

    @Melissa L., I have heard that the crock pot will work, but haven’t tried it that way.

    You can use that drained off whey for other fermented foods or drinks. A friend of mine uses it to make ginger ale!

  21. Gayla T says:

    Goat milk makes a very rich yogurt. I just don’t like the smell of it very much. I had a goat back in my earth mother hippie days but he jumped the fence and got his head caught and went to goat heaven. I then bought milk from a lady with a huge herd who sold it to all the health food stores in this NE corner of Kansas. Her herd ate alfalfa and it was the best goat milk ever. When we buy our milk products commercially made we never find out how much the flavor is affected by what the goat or cow is eating. The big milk truck picks it up and it’s added to the other farms. I’ve always wondered what it would taste like if your animal only ate lavender or roses or even different herbs. Lemon balm yogurt sounds yummy, doesn’t it? For some reason the fact that you talk to people in stores doesn’t surprise me. Not that I ever do something goofy like that……well, I do not talk to anyone wearing flowing white robes playing a tambourine. I did once talk to a Somalian woman until I saw her licking the fruit. I’ll have to tell you about her sometime. That’s a very interesting story.

  22. CBuffy says:

    I make my yogurt in the crockpot all the time. And it works GREAT! (No thermometer involved… I’m lazy like that…) My chickens LOVE it! I make it a gallon at a time so there’s enough for all of us. The secret is keeping some from each batch to use in the next batch. That way you don’t have to buy more every time.

  23. Lisa says:

    I don’t think i would ever make my own yogurt, but reading your article definitly made me laugh! Thank you:D

  24. KEG says:

    I think I’ll give it a try this weekend! I can’t find a creamy goat milk yogurt anywhere in Mtl. I guess I’ll be doing my own! yesss!

  25. Jan says:

    Off topic but do you have a reliable recipe for chuck roast? . I can cook one for hours and it is still tough.

    • Alisha says:

      The longer you cook any meat, the tougher it will be. The moisture drains out of it, dries it out and basically welds the meat together. Chuck roast, (or cross-rib/blade roast in Canada) I find in particular, is a cut best used for slow cooked stewing beef or in a crock pot. It doesn’t often make a very good pot roast and is usally really marbled with fat and . A decent and inexpensive cut of roast that is decent for pot roasts are sirloin tips and inside round roast.All that being said, secrets to a perfect pot roast are lower oven temperatures, like slow cooking in the oven (15 minutes per pound), pull the roast when the internal temperature is 170-180 degrees (slightly pink depending on the size of your roast) and let the roast sit in the pan or on a cutting board for 10-15 minutes before cutting in, that will allow the juices to settled back into the meat as it cools.

  26. Where were you yesterday?!
    I made some tzatziki with crappy old grocery store yogurt, fresh local garlic and my just picked cucumbers from the garden. It would have been so much better with fresh yogurt…I am so sad that you were not at my grocery store for a yogurt intervention.

  27. Dawna Jones says:

    All I can say is I’m impressed you knew how to spell Hare Krishna! And I wonder because I’m lactose intolerant would it be the same using Almond milk? HA!Now I got your goat going!
    http://www.dawnajonesdesign.com/

    • JulieB says:

      I think alternate forms of yogurt need a different process. With yogurt from animal’s milk, it is the lactose that is fermented by the cultures. So most yogurts are either very low in lactose, or lactose-free by the end.

  28. Dawna Jones says:

    All I can say is I’m impressed you knew how to spell Hare Krishna!

    http://www.dawnajonesdesign.com/

  29. Brenda j says:

    I bought my son a yogurt maker for Christmas… he was buying boxes of the expensive Greek yogurts for his lunches.
    I LOVE the yogurt maker.
    And when he decides to move out (or I shove him), I’m hiding it!!

  30. Christina says:

    You. Are. Awesome. I’ve been saving for a yogurt maker. Now I feel stupid. But also $80 richer.

  31. angie says:

    I noticed that the brand of milk you’re using is Neilson’s….would that by chance be the same Neilson’s that make the incredible frozen custards? (Neilson’s Frozen Custard Store) It’s seriously the best icecream I’ve ever eaten, the texture is soooo creamy and smooth. I haven’t had it for like 6 years now and if you could master a copycat recipe then I’d be oh so grateful….assuming of course that it’s the same Neilson’s and that you have any idea what I’m going on about! Oh and that big expensive hunk of machinery that chugs out the frozen custard in the store can probably be duplicated with an ice chest and some zippy bags from my kitchen… right….right? If any one can figure it out I just know you can!

  32. Beks says:

    I think you were right yesterday. This is life changing stuff. Imagine the money I’ll save investing a little time to make greek yogurt. Mind: Blown.

  33. lemur_lass says:

    I used to incubate it with a heating pad, but now I am going to use your cooler trick. Thanks for the post!!!

  34. Trish says:

    I ALMOST bought a yogurt maker, now I am so glad I didn’t! Thank you for sharing! Now when my husband comes home this weekend, he’ll get to roll his eyes again but this time while eating delicious yogurt!

    P.S. Every time I go into a grocery store I wish someone would accost me with the wonderful tid bits you dole out!!

  35. Kate S. says:

    “These things always happen when I’m by myself because no one will go shopping with me anymore.”

    Haha, this has happened to me, too. My husband always tells me, “you’ve got to stop trying to help people! They don’t want help!”

    I still haven’t learned.

  36. Tracie says:

    Hi Karen,

    Have you ever experimented with making yogurt out of almond milk or coconut milk? Does it work?

    Just wondering…trying to lessen the dairy in my diet but yogurt I still eat daily, so I’ll try this. I used to have a little yogurt maker but moved overseas and didn’t bring it with me. I like the slow cooker idea!

    Thanks for any suggestions about different milks.

  37. Shauna says:

    oh, I just found this link about making yogurt from almond milk. basically the same recipe as Karen’s only with almond milk. http://www.buzzle.com/articles/how-to-make-almond-milk-yogurt.html

    I will stick to clicking on Karen’s site when I go to make this;)

  38. Debbie says:

    Hare Krishna, now there is a blast from the past. At least here in Oregon and California. Maybe they moved on to Canada? Well if I am getting chickens I should be able to handle making yogurt. Now is the spelling in Canada “yoghurt”? When I see this it makes me think of milk from pigs to make the yogurt. I know I’m a bit nuts…………

  39. Laura Bee says:

    You make me laugh ~ aloud, not in my head! Will have to start this, my little one loves yoghurt as much as I do & I cringe when I have to buy it & it’s not on sale. But if I get a really good deal, I pop it in the freezer. Keep on spreading the word Karen, those that don’t care can just shake their head & cross to the other side of the aisle or the nexxt checkout!

  40. Tiinity says:

    For someone who might think that keeping the yogurt in a 115 degrees is a bit of too much work I can recommend to do Kefir (if you like the taste of it). This one you do in room temperature. There is Kefir grains to use for this and they should be given to you according to tradition.

  41. Cathy G says:

    Can’t wait to try this, but I think I’ve seen the word ‘yogurt’ so many times it has lost all meaning………….

  42. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Yoghourt..no matter how you spell it or make it is a good thing except I can’t seem to find a Greek yoghourt that I like..it just tastes odd to me???

  43. Bonnie says:

    Another tip from a lazy yogurt maker. Put the milk directly into clean mason jars. Then heat the milk to temperature in a boiling water bath — like when canning. Boil the lids at the same time. No pot to clean, lids and jars sterile and you can use the boiling water in the cooler to keep the yogurt warm while incubating (personally I prefer the heating pad approach). Also, after incubation put the jars in the freezer for about an hour, the whey separates out and you can pour it right off the top.

    • Karen says:

      Bonnie – I’m gonna try the freezer thing next time. This’ll create a thicker yogurt, like straining it, right? ~ k

  44. Bonnie says:

    It does for me. Helpful hint — set a timer. I’ve forgotten it in the freezer over night. Freezing changes the texture a bit, but it was still edible and not noticeable in smoothies. I also incubate for up to 24 hours which I find thickens it further (also eats up all the lactose effectively making lactose free yogurt!). But really the long incubation time its so I can make it at night after the short people (my kids) go to bed and then finish it up the next night after they go to bed.

  45. Kel says:

    Did I read that right? You’re making yogurt from yogurt? ;)

    • Carol says:

      Yeah, that’s what confusing me. I have to buy yogurt to make yogurt? Why don’y I just eat the yougurt I buy and spend all that time and effort doing something else?

      • Karen says:

        Carol – Because you buy the yogourt once and then you never buy it again. ~ karen

        • Alisha says:

          Just buy one little individual to-go cup of plain yogurt and you’re set. Like Karen said in her post … retain two tablespoons of yogurt from each batch you make to start your next batch.

          A friend recentlly brought me organic honey yogurt from a farm in the States that left the whey on top. It was AMAZING. It created a nice firm crust on top that was sweeter and more honey flavored than the rest of it. I might try leaving it on with this recipe. I’m pumped to make it! I spend a fortune on yogurt. It’s depressing.

  46. Nathalie says:

    Hey Karen,

    I’ll be attempting this this weekend. Do you think I can use a slow cooker for this?

    • Karen says:

      Nathalie – You can as long as your slow cooker doesn’t get too hot. That’s the trouble I had with my oven. Couldn’t get it cool enough. The slow cooker needs to hold it at 115. So put some water or something in there to test it out to make sure that’s the temp. you’re holding it at. Anywhere from 110 to 120 and you’d be fine I imagine. ~ karen!

  47. Pam says:

    Hi Karen,
    I love, love, love you blog.

    I have been making my own yogurt for years – learned from some Indian (Sikhs) of mine. Really, you don’t need a thermometer. Once the milk has cooled down, stick a clean finger in and if you can hold it there without burning, it’s ready to add culture. I have found I don’t need much active culture either. Just a spoonful.

    Stick an iron skillet in the oven and pre-heat to 175 degrees for about 5 minutes and then turn off. If it feels to hot, leave door open for a minute. I wrap the jar of yogurt with a kitchen towel and put in the iron skillet. Turn the light on in the oven and leave for about 8 hours or overnight. (I sometimes add dried milk to the heated milk to make a bit more substantial.) Also, if you happen to let the milk boil, no problems. It just makes thicker yogurt. Just do not add the culture until it cools down.

    I make smoothies all summer with mine. I get awful stomach aches and other intestinal problems when I drink milk so yogurt it is for me.

    You can make the French creme fraiche the very same way using whole cream. It’s wonderful. And, if yo don’t have any good yogurt for you culture, you can use buttermilk or sour cream. Who knew?
    Pam

    • Karen says:

      Pam – Good to know about the sour cream! I always have that. I try to do tutorials with exact instructions. “Stick your finger in until it doesn’t hurt” might not go over well with people new to this, LOL. Although you’re right. Once you get the hang of it you don’t need a thermometer. ~ karen!

  48. kely s says:

    Karen, any time you want to go shopping with someone, let me know. you can shop with me anytime…and tell me what to do and how to do it…..i’m trying with the easier, cheaper, better for you, but then i’m in the store with the husband (who likes to shop wayyyy tooo much–but i’m not complaining cause i could have a whiny complainypants nonshopping husband) and everything goes out of my head and i can’t remember that homogenized but not pasteurized milk and that blade instead of stew meat…..and oh look a chicken…..get off the deck you dang chicken….back to your coop…so before i was so rudely interrupted….please join me we’ll have a great time and i’ll let you share all your knowledge right there in the store.

    • Karen says:

      kely s. O.K.! ~ karen

      • kelly s says:

        two weeks…saturday….medford, or…..i’ll meet you there…we can start at costco. i’d invite you to meet me in about 2 hrs today, but you’re relaxing….i’m betting 3 days before you gotta get up and do something cause that’s all i can take before the backside starts to give out. good luck, enjoy. hi to the man and true-dad

        • Rhonda "SmartyPants" says:

          Hey there, neighbor Kelly S. I live near Medford OR and would get a real kick out of meeting up with you;even more so if Karen were able to meet us. If not, we could print off a ream of “The Art …” posts and read them to people standing in line at the Medford Costco. Then we could move over to the lines at Food 4 Less for a bit more of advice giving and tip sharing. What say?

          • Karen says:

            LOL!! ~ karen

            • Rhonda "SmartyPants" says:

              Uh, Karen, I’m not sure if you truly understand the depth and breadth of Kelly S’s initial invitation and my response; hence your somewhat lackluster ‘LOL’ response.

              This is a serious invitation — hell, even Martha Stewart came through this area a few seasons ago (post-prison, I believe) – you’re ten times more creative, twenty times less expensive, and a gazillion times funnier!

              You’re being invited to an area of the Northwest renowned for it’s natural resources (Rogue River, Steelhead/Salmon fishing, Marionberries), culture (Oregon Shakespeare Theatre, Southern Oregon Film Festival, Pear Blossom Parade, Methamphetamine Mecca soon to be displaced by more Medical Marijuana Cardholders per capita in the state), and a committed movement taking hold with community-based sustainable farming. The City of Ashland (AKA That Hippie-dippie, Crystal-loving, Trust Fund-babies City) just increased the number of chickens permitted per backyard AND was named one of the “Top 10 Small Towns in America” by the folks at the Smithsonian and it’s less than 20 miles south of Medford.

              There is an old joke that calls Medford ‘Dredford’, but those good ol’ boys are pretty much dead and buried or a few that might be left are eating pureed peas in the local assisted living facilities.

              Medford has a Costco, will be opening a second “Super Wal-Mart” store, and has a Dollar Tree on just about every corner in town!

              Think of the possibilities — you could fill your blog post calendar for a year with just one whirlwind weekend with Kelly S and me as your hosts. Kelly S obviously has a spouse that is a god among the other sex – he and The Fella could hang while we do what needs to be done — pick berries, raft the Rogue, catch at least one Steelhead apiece, make jam and a Marionberry pie, catch an outdoor performance of Shakespeare, laugh at the tourists trying to find parking, tour a sustainable farm and steal their recipes for your future blogs and then check out chicken coop designs.

              This could be your new ‘home away from home’ – your new escape to rejuvenate your creative blog juices. You could actually post a blog from another country without having to cross an ocean.

              I know if we put our collective heads together (carefully, cuz I know how easily you are injured) and made enough fresh lemonade to sell during the month of August, we could raise $ to get you here in September — what a way to end the jinx you have about that month. Did I mention that our Septembers are considered to be one of our best months – followed by October, March, April, May, June, and July…August gets hotter than you know where, November through February is just drab with rain, snow, and more rain and snow.

              So, please consider the invitation wide open — or at least know you are loved and adored in the Pacific Northwest. (Psst…I’ve never met Kelly S, but I can tell a kindred spirit when I see her post on a blog I’ve been addicted to from the first read. Kelly – if Karen is unable to make the trip here, I’ll meet with you and walk you through some of her posts. Together we can get you together — you rock!)

  49. Barbie says:

    Used to make my own yogurt all the time but never knew the extra step to make it greek. Thanks Karen, I’m going to do this.
    PS: I grew up in LA and got really used to seeing the Hare Krishna’s there all the time especially at the airport.

  50. kirsten says:

    So fabulous! Oh and another good thing about this! Did you know you can feed whey to your chickens? You can soak their feed in it and they’ll get awesome extra protein and nutrients.

  51. Erin says:

    Guess I’ll add my two bits!

    I make yogurt at the end of the day. I stick to the same temps and methods you’ve posted. Instead of a Mason jar (which looks way nicer,) I put the yogurt in a glass bowl with a lid that seals very well. I wrap the bowl in a towel, stick it in the (cold) oven and go to bed. In the morning, there’s yogurt. You’ve got to keep from tap-dancing in the kitchen, or otherwise jiggling the yogurt for that 6-8 hours.

    If it’s really cold in the house, I’ll put the oven on “warm” then turn it off before putting in the towel-wrapped bowl. Yes, one towel is designated as the yogurt towel. Thanks for the tip on making it Greek style. Yum.

  52. Dee G says:

    I’ve made yogurt for years. It gave new life to a heating pad – out the lidded pot of cooled and inoculated milk on a heating pad set at medium for 7 hours, or until set. I am now using a multidopholus from the health food store to start the yogurt – about 1/2 tsp per quart. It takes a little longer to set, but the taste is incredible…

    Be careful about watering your plants with too much whey. I use whey to jump start lacto fermented pickles…4 Tbs. per quart and you can cut the amount of salt to 1 Tbs.

    Great post!

  53. Dee G says:

    That should be PUT the lidded pot…

    And another thing…I use a piece of cotton for straining – like a men’s hanky. Don’t buy that cheesecloth crap anymore.

  54. Janelle says:

    While you’re doling out unsolicited (yet valuable) advice at the grocery store, you should hang around the pharmacy section. If you see anybody taking out a prescription for antibiotics, you should command him/her to make yogurt…because of the gut/yeast thing. Those people are the most in need of yogurt making advice.

  55. Diane Stairs says:

    hey there…I haven’t read all the comments on homemade yogurt but….I make it in the slow cooker….soooo easy, it does all the work, you leave it over night to cool and then strain through cheese cloth…tastes “almost” better than the real thing I bought in Athens. You can just google “slow cooker greek yogurt” for the recipe.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Diane – Yes, several other people say that’s how they do it, but I wanted to make sure I was providing a recipe that didn’t need any special equipment. I know a slow cooker isn’t exactly crazy, out there kitchen equipment but not everyone owns one. (me for example!) :) ~ karen

  56. Deb says:

    Take your yogurt one step father and make a batch of paneer cheese. Bring 2 litres of whole milk just to the point where it starts to form a skin on the top. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 mason jar of yogurt and gently stir. The yogurt / milk mix will start to form lumps which is what you want. Keep stirring gently till all you have are lumps floating in a clear whey. Strain thru cheesecloth squeezing as much of the liquid as you can from it. If you like it slightly salted now is the time to add a pinch. Wrap it up tightly in the cheesecloth set in the bottom of your strainer and add weight to it and let it sit for a couple of hours.

  57. Liz says:

    That sounds like a lot of work and just as expensive as buying it. I used to make my own yogurt in mason jars with a heating pad set on low using a non-instant dry milk powder. That milk powder has however become difficult to find and when you do it is very expensive. It did make GREAT yogurt though.

  58. Rhonda "SmartyPants" says:

    Ta-da! Made my own batch of crockpot yogurt last week and it is better every day. I set aside the requisite 1 cup starter for the very next batch ‘cuz I’ve been converted….. I will now make up some cards that say, “Rhonda . . . Yogurt Maker” with all the pertinent contact information.

    Thank you for the post, Miss Karen, and thank you to all your followers who so generously shared their tips and tricks, successes and failures. I couldn’t have done it without all of your help. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm…smack! Thanks a bunch.

  59. Mariam says:

    Hi! Finally made the yogurt. It is out of this world. Maybe I got lucky with the first time, but just wanted to say THANKS for planting that crazy idea in my head.

    Now, about that chicken coop….

    Not woman enough to even dream of it.
    -M

    • Karen says:

      Mariam – You didn’t get lucky. It is *that* easy to make and tastes that good every, single time! Congrats! ~ karen

  60. Christina says:

    Oh poo…
    Mine didn’t turn out. I used the oven method (turned it on to 115, put the jars in and turned it back off) I also turned the oven light on for good measure and left the yogurt in for almost 7 hours. It came out tasty and quite tangy, but barely thicker than milk.
    :( Where did I go wrong? Think my oven didn’t stay warm enough?

    • Karen says:

      Christina – The oven could have been the problem. It’s hard to say. Try one of the other methods (using a thermos, a cooler or the crockpot) The only other thing I can think of is you didn’t add enough or added too much yogourt. Did you use yogourt with active bacterial cultures? ~ karen

  61. Janey says:

    Wow! Whenever I heard about making yogurt it seemed really complicated, but you inspired me to try it and it’s so simple. My 16 yr old son loves it and now he asks me to make more. He loves to put it in the blender with fruit and make smoothies! Thanks for healthy-ing up my teenager!

  62. Mara says:

    Do you know if you can make this with non-dairy milks (i.e soy milk, flax milk, coconut milk, etc)? I’m vegan and it is so hard (and expensive) to find a good non-dairy yogurt. Right now I use Silk yogurt to make my smoothies when I g

  63. Alisha says:

    Made it last night and had it for breakfast this morning with some hemp hearts and papaya. SO good. Just in time too because today is the start of my 14 day sugar cleanse. It makes me happy to know I can have sugar free yogurt anytime with all that important probiotic stuff.

  64. Alisha says:

    Yes! I feel so creative. You should make butter. It’s just as easy!

  65. Tiffany says:

    Thank you so much, your post is funny and enjoyablt to read. I will be heading to the grocery store tomorrow to get some milk and yogurt. I have one question? Have you ever heard of adding powdered milk to your yogurt to make it thicker? By the looks of your yogurt it is nice and creamy so you may have never had to do anything like that but I was just wondering :) Thanks again, Sincerely Tiffany

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tiffany – I have tried adding powdered milk. I don’t find it really thickens it all that much and definitely not as much as straining it. With straining, you lose some volume but gain flavour and richness. ~ karen!

  66. jean aldridge says:

    Karen! I tried a recipe for homemade yogurt from 101 Ways Homemade. I made her choco yogurt recipe. However, my yogurt never firmed up. I turned to your post that I remembered reading a while ago. My husband says try again-I will-but I didn’t learn anything yet so I may make the same mistake again…as in I have no idea what I did wrong because I followed instructions carefully. Please instruct me on what the “Art of Doing Things Master” would do in this case. Oh-to jump start the trouble shooting-I used Homogenized milk, Greek Yogurt with live active cultures, heated the milk to 180, let cool to 110. The amount of milk was 4 cups the amount of “yogurt starter” was 1/2 cup. What should I do differently next time? Sincerely, jean-down here in Texas

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jean – It sounds like you did it mostly right. For 4 cups of milk you only need a Tablespoon or two of yogourt though. Once you let the milk cool and mixed in your starter, did you keep it at 110 – 115 for the next 8 hours or so? If you let the temperature drop below that the yogourt won’t firm up. Also, after 8 or so hours the yogourt won’t firm up completely. It’ll still be slightly runny. To make it thicker like a Greek yogourt you have to strain it for a couple of hours. Just dump it into a cotton cloth or a few layers of cheesecloth, wrap it up and let it hang over a bowl in the fridge. The whey will strain out of it into the bowl and what remains in the cloth will be thicker greek style yogourt. Good luck! ~ karen

  67. jean aldridge says:

    wow karen! thank you for your timely response! i am going to give it another try but this time i will put a heating pad on low heat in cooler or do what you did and put hottest water out of tap into cooler around yogurt. the recipe i looked at said just wrap a towel around it and set it in cooler. i will also use your amounts of yogurt to milk. thank so much for the advice. sorry for the all lower case letters i am feeding baby. jean-in texas

    • Karen says:

      LOL. I didn’t even notice the lower case. :) ~ karen!

      • jean says:

        KAREN!! I have been meaning to send you an update about my yogurt making endeavors! The yogurt making is going well. Your tips worked perfectly and I am now a ‘professional’ yogurt maker. I was wondering if you ever added vanilla and sugar to your yogurt to make, well, a vanilla yogurt? Right now all I do is add maple syrup for flavor. If you do/have use(d) vanilla and sugar in the past I would love to know your measurements. Otherwise, let the experiments begin.

        jean-in texas

        • Karen says:

          Hi Jean – Great! I’ve added all sorts of things to my yogourt after I’ve made it. I usually add raw sugar or honey and berries. Sometimes I make my own fruit on the bottom yogourt by dropping a spoonful of Strawberry jam into the bottom of a cup and putting the yogourt on top. ~ karen!

  68. Starlett says:

    I have spent the past 20 minutes in your blog so far…and I’ll be back as soon as my stomach muscles quit hurting from laughing. I haven’t had that much fun, with no energy expended, in a very long time. I’m anxious to get back to the blog, but, life calls and I must answer. Thanks for all the great info and the laughs!!!

    • Karen says:

      Welcome to my site Starlett! You’ve got a lot of catching up to do. I expect you to have read every post I’ve written by the time I post my next one which is … in about 4 hours. ~ karen!

  69. Jim says:

    I’ve been making yogurt for years. I can often go more than 12 months using the tablespoon of starter from the last batch (only interruptions come from vacations longer than 3 weeks). My scheme is to put my yogurt cups (in a dutch oven or other heavy pan for temperature stability) into my oven with the oven light on (except in the summer when no extra warmth is needed ((Seattle))). I leave it in the cozy oven overnight. Very simple to do. Also, I’ve never sterilized jars or lids and never had a failure either.

  70. Shirley says:

    I have an Easyo yoghurt maker (plastic jar with insulated container you fill with hot water then put the jar in.) Could I use that to make your yoghurt recipe?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Shirley – Absolutely! The yogourt makers just take the guess work out of it. They usually recommend you use store purchased “starter”, but you don’t need that. All you need is a tablespoon of yogourt to get things going (and growing). :) Good luck! ~ karen

  71. Ojibajo says:

    I’m a little confused. If you are using yogurt to “make” yogurt, aren’t you are just buying yogurt and stretching out the amount of yogurt that you already have? You’re not really MAKING anything that wasn’t already there.

    • Karen says:

      Ojibajo – Yes actually you are making something that isn’t there. In order for someone, anyone, even yogourt manufacturers to make yogourt they need a starter. Bacteria. You can either buy the bacteria in powder form which is difficult for most people to find. OR you can use a tiny bit of yogourt or sour cream as your starter. There are no other options. That is indeed how you make yogourt. ~ karen

  72. Dee says:

    You are not making yogurt from scratch, you are expanding a commercial culture.

    • Karen says:

      Dee – I can’t be bothered to type this response out again, so I’ll just cut and paste it … “In order for someone, anyone, even yogourt manufacturers to make yogourt they need a starter. Bacteria. You can either buy the bacteria in powder form which is difficult for most people to find. OR you can use a tiny bit of yogourt or sour cream as your starter. There are no other options. That is indeed how you make yogourt. And this method is exactly how commercial yogourt makers make yogourt.” So no. I’m not scientifically making bacteria. But I don’t start by creating cow DNA to make a hamburger from scratch either. ~ karen

  73. adrienne says:

    Hi Karen!

    I was given a store bought yogurt maker for Christmas and of course it’s basically the same method you use – except I have to find a place to store the thing. In the included literature, it’s mentioned that pulling a starter from your previous batch is only recommended 3-4 times as it will eventually dilute and produce very runny yogurt. I find this counter intuitive, but thought I’d see if you (or anyone else here has) experienced this supposed phenomenon?

    ;) Your biggest fan in Atlanta,
    Adrienne

    • Karen says:

      Hi Adrienne! I have not found that. Which doesn’t mean it’s impossible … it just hasn’t happened to me. Good luck with our new(ish) machine! ~ karen

  74. Emily says:

    I was thinking about actually doing this recipe guide, but with all the steps…I guess I just wasn’t up for it at the time so I just went and bought some yogurt.

  75. Dee G says:

    I do same process but double the milk for 2T starter. I keep the inoculated milk in the pot and set it on a heating pad at medium for 7 hours. (I wasn’t using that heating pad anyway – it was nice to find a new life for it.) Then into the fridge overnight to finish setting. Whisk and strain and voila!

    • Karen says:

      Good thinking with the heating pad Dee. I use mine to start seeds! I’m not sure I know of anyone who uses their heating pad as a heating pad. :) ~ karen

  76. Bettina says:

    Woke up to my first ever batch of homemade yogurt and I can hardly contain my excitement!!! It is fantastic! I used organic full cream milk and the starter from the organic yogurt we usually buy. I will not go back to store-bought – it is far too easy (and a lot cheaper) to make yourself. And the joy…thanks, Karen!

  77. Judee says:

    I have also used a similar heating pad method – for lack of my crockpot. It works well at gatherings (July 4th) where you want to keep a pan warm, of lasagna in my case. Works for rolls too!

  78. Cat says:

    So, I made yogurt yesterday for the first time in a long time. I followed a combo of instructions and when the cooler wasn’t keeping my batch warm enough I threw it in the oven on warm and let it sit overnight. Stove still on. So, Ive got what looks like…lots of whey and…gooby cheese? What to do now? Strain the whey out and go for Greek?

    • Karen says:

      You may have made cheese instead of yogurt by putting it all in the oven. :( If that’s the case you need to start again. Chances are the cooler will keep it warm enough. If you’re worried, wrap the whole thing in a towel. Next time just wait it out and see what the result are. ~ karen!

  79. penny says:

    I just want to say that I love your blog! I also have a question, I tried making yogurt in a crock pot and unfortunaly it did not come out well at all. I was basically left with watery milk with a ton of clumps on the bottom. It tasted okay-ish, not rancid or anything it just wasn’t yogurt. I will have to give your method a try, maybe my crockpot was too warm and it killed the bacteria. Yum, bacteria!

  80. sue says:

    I enjoyed reading your hilarious bit on yoghurt making and your beef cut knowledge! Thank you for sharing! After reading your piece, I am threatening my family that the next yoghurt consumed in our household should be from our very own kitchen! Cheers!.

  81. Jillybean says:

    Can you use vanilla Greek yogurt as a starter?

  82. Kathleen says:

    This was so simple to follow with the steps with photos. I’ve made candy, so this was SO easy. And the yogurt was great. I used the method with the cooler and the hot water from the faucet. Worked great!!

  83. Janis says:

    The most fun part of reading the posts? I have discovered “fellow sisters” who have my same quirky sense of humor! Thanks!

  84. Janis says:

    Well I’ll be…my yogurt’s done and it turned out great! So mild. My husband just got home from work and I gave him a little taste. He has a real sweet tooth and was surprised how good it was. He said it would need just a little jam. No jam for me….it’s going down straight! Now on to my next quest….to de-mystify sour dough. Picking up a start from a friend tonight!

  85. Robyn Leigh says:

    Is there a source for the active cultures other than buying yogurt in the store to get started?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Robyn – Yes, you can buy yogourt starter from health food stores, but it’ll cost you more and be harder to locate than just buying an individual sized container of plain yogourt. Good yogourt only contains milk and cultures so it’s not like you’ll be getting a whole bunch of weird stuff if you don’t want to. Also, it’s only a Tablespoon in an entire batch of yogourt so even if there is weird stuff it’ll be pretty diluted. ~ karen!

  86. Kara says:

    Thanks for this recipe! I will make some this afternoon! However, I do have one question — Can I swap cow’s milk for a lactose-free milk like soy or almond milk? My husband is lactose intolerant but LOVES yogurt. Or would a totally different process be needed for lactose free yogurt? I would also have to find a lactose free starter mix, I’d imagine….

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kara – I’ve had others ask about the soy or almond milk yogourt. I believe it *can* be done but I’m pretty sure you need different directions for it. Sorry! ~ karen

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