How to Make Yogurt at Home.

How to make yogurt every which way.  Instructions for Instant Pot, stovetop & making yogurt in a dehydrator. And NOPE. This doesn’t mean I now like my Instant Pot. Plus a new trick for thickening yogurt that I learned in the past month.

An ornate gold spoon full of yogurt topped with pecans and strawberry jam resting on an elegant glass filled with yogurt.

Don’t want to read my witty entertaining babbling?  Skip right to the recipe.

I started making my own yogurt because of my imaginary world.  This is the world many of us let our minds wander to when we should be thinking about insurance rates, mutual funds or other gross things.  

In my imaginary world I’m usually at the cottage (that I don’t own) and everyone is gathered around when we all realize, much to our horror, that we don’t have any butter, or bread or … in this case … yogurt.  “Everybody calm the hell down.”, I say, my arms outstretched, palms facing the ground, in the internationally known gesture of “calm the hell down”.  “We have whipping cream, flour, yeast and milk.  We’ve got this.”    

Butter as you know is made by shaking whipping cream.

Bread is made with flour, water, salt and yeast.

And Yogurt … is made with milk.  (And a little bit of yogurt.  But that ruins imaginary world where I miraculously produce yogurt with just milk.   So.)

Therefore years ago I started making my own yogurt so if I ever own a cottage and am ever stranded there with a group of yogurt starved people that I need to impress, I will be able to impress them.

Breakfast yogurt with bright strawberry jam and nuts in a stemless wineglass.

 

Yogurt Facts that’ll make your head spin

(not really, yogurt’s remarkably dull actually)

  • You can use whole, 2%, 1% or skim milk. The higher the fat percentage the more calories your yogurt will have.
  • Do not use ultra pasteurized milk.
  • To “activate” your  yogurt, you need 2 Tablespoons of plain yogurt with active cultures.  Just look for the words probiotic or active cultures. Some people have had success using sour cream in a pinch as an activator/starter.

So the Instant Pot. The gadget I love to hate. There are two things it can do well. Make a small batch of chili and make yogurt. To be honest with you I’m not really sold on the yogurt thing. It’s more complicated than just doing it on the stove. But it does work and has some pros to it.

However, I know a lot of you love your Instant Pots so I thought I’d better show you how to make Instant Pot yogurt because 1) the instructions that come with the Instant Pot for almost everything are useless and 2) even online instructions for making yogurt in it don’t cover the little things. 

If you INSIST on buying an Instant Pot, even if you’re only cooking for one, make sure you get one that’s at least 6 quarts.

The process of making yogurt is the same no matter what you’re using to make it. 

  1. Heat milk (to 180°F)
  2. Cool milk (to 115°F)
  3. Add starter culture (yogurt)
  4. Keep at 115°F (for 8 hours)

Here’s how to accomplish that with an Instant Pot. 


Steps 1-6 in photos of making yogurt in an Instant Pot.

Instant Pot Yogurt

THE HEATING PHASE

  • Pour 2 litres (1/2 gallon) of milk into the inner pot. I use 1% but you can use any kind.
  • Lock the lid on.
  • Turn the vent to “sealing”. (although I’ve forgotten this step before and my yogurt still turned out fine.)
  • Press “Yogurt” button then,
  • Press “Adjust” button. The light will switch to “more” and the word “boil” will show up.
  • Wait. The Instant Pot does its thing for 35-40 minutes, heating the milk to 180° F.
  • “Yogt” will show up on the display when it’s done.
  • Remove the lid. CHECK THE TEMPERATURE. After this part is done my yogurt is NEVER at 180° F.  It gets to 175. So I put the lid on and restart the process of hitting “Yogurt” then “Adjust” to boil again until the yogurt registers as being 180° F.
  • NEW TRICK below ⇓ (I learned this from Team Yogurt)
  • Keep the yogurt at 180° F for 5 minutes. To do this, Press “Yogurt” then “Adjust” again. This will keep the unit warm enough to keep the yogurt at 180° F.  Leave it like this for 5 minutes. Don’t put the lid back on. (doing this helps to make a thicker yogurt)
  • Press “Cancel” at the end of 5 minutes.

Steps 7-11 of making yogurt in the Instant Pot.

 

THE COOLING PHASE

  • Unplug the Instant Pot. Remove the inner pot and either let it rest on the counter until the temperature drops down to 115° F, OR put the pot in a cold water bath in your sink.  This speeds up the cooling time a LOT. (instead of taking half an hour it will only take a few minutes, so keep an eye on it)

THE INOCULATION PHASE

  • Put 2 tablespoons of yogurt (with active cultures) into a bowl and then temper it with a ladle of the hot milk and stir. This just makes it easier to disperse the yogurt through the entire pot.
  • Pour bowl of yogurt/milk mixture into the inner pot of the Instant Pot and stir.
  • Set the inner pot back into the unit.

THE INCUBATION PHASE

  • Push the Yogurt button. Add or subtract with the (+) key until you reach a minimum of 8 hours. You can also let it go for 11 hours for tangier yogurt. You can even let it go longer than 11 hours for tangier yogurt. I often incubate my yogurt for 12 hours or more.
  • At the end of your cycle “Yogt” will appear on the display and it’s done.
  • Pour off the whey from the top (or scoop it out with a spoon) and put the yogurt in mason jars or other glass containers. 

** For extra thick Greek yogurt, strain the yogurt as shown in the straining method below.


Golden honey dripping off a wood honey dripper into a small mason jar of yogurt topped with almonds.


So that’s Instant Pot yogurt. CONVERSELY stove top yogurt has a shorter list of instructions.

Stovetop Yogurt

  1. Heat 2 litres (1/2 gallon) of milk in a pot on the stove until it reaches 180° F. 
  2. Turn the heat off, put the lid on and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Cool the milk to 115°F on the counter or in a cool water bath in the sink.
  4. Mix together some hot milk with 2 Tablespoons of yogurt to thin the yogurt then add the mixture to the rest of the hot milk. Stir.
  5. Pour into a good thermos (one that will retain the heat) and wait 8-11 hours. (or follow Dehydrator instructions)

**If you don’t have a thermos then pour the hot milk into mason jars and store them in a good quality cooler wrapped in towels for 8-11 hours.

 

Pouring 1% milk into a copper pot on the stove and testing the temperature for making yogurt.

Pouring yogurt starter culture into hot milk in copper pot and then ladeling it into jars. Copper pot with lid sits on stove for 5 minutes then cools to 115 F.

Yup. That’s it. In my opinion this is much easier and faster than fiddling with the erratic behaviour of an Instant Pot. 

The drawback is if you forget your milk on the stove while heating it, it can boil over.

Dehydrator Yogurt

To make yogurt in a dehydrator, you’re not really using the dehydrator for anything other than holding the yogurt at temperature.

Follow the stove top method up until the part where you hold the yogurt at 115°F for 8-11 hours.  Instead of putting it in a cooler or thermos you can hold it at temperature perfectly with your dehydrator.

  1. Follow steps 1-4 for stovetop yogurt.
  2. Turn the dehydrator on and set it to  115°F
  3. Pour hot milk into glass mason jars. Screw on lids.
  4. Remove trays from dehydrator and place the jars inside.
  5. Set the dehydrator timer (if it has one) for 8-11 hours. 

 


Straining

  • Dump your incubated yogurt into a sieve lined with cheese cloth or a flour sack tea towel set over a bowl or pot.
  • Let drain for up to an hour or until it has reached the consistency you like.
  • After 1 hour around 4 cups of whey will have drained away, leaving  you with 4 cups of Greek yogurt.

 

When the yogurt has finished its 8 hours of incubating it will have a lot of whey in it. That’s the liquid stuff you see on top of yogurt or sour cream that you buy at the store sometimes. 

Straining your yogurt gets rid of most of the whey resulting in a thicker, higher calorie yogurt. If you like a thinner yogurt you don’t need to strain; just pour off the bit of whey on top and you’re good. 

YIELD: NOT STRAINING VS STRAINING

  • Unstrained yogurt will get you the same amount of yogurt as milk used.  8 cups of milk will result in 8 cups of yogurt!
  • Strained yogurt will get you thicker yogurt, but less yield. 8 cups of milk will result in 4 cups of greek yogurt.*

*the exact yield depends on how long you strain it and how much whey you remove.

Yogurt in an Instant Pot after incubating for 8 hours looks like the consistency of loose gelatin.

Unstrained yogurt has a similar consistency to a very soft jello.

Straining yogurt is how you get that thick, Greek style yogurt. 

Straining whey from yogurt solids through flour sack towel in a colander over a Pyrex measuring cup.

Strained yogurt is so thick it will sit high on the spoon and even stick to it when you turn the spoon over.

Strained Greek yogurt sits high on a spoon on the left and to the right the same spoon held upside down with yogurt staying put.

I love a big spoonful of plain, tart Greek yogurt, but there are times I want to have something a little more dessert or breakfast like. THOSE are the times for toppings.

A short mason jar filled with homemade yogurt topped with home canned peaches and crunchy almonds.

Topping Ideas

  • Jam (Strawberry, raspberry, apricot etc. etc.)
  • Nuts
  • Granola
  • Canned fruit
  • Chia seeds
  • Bananas
  • Coconut Flakes
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Cocoa powder
  • Honey
  • Maple Syrup
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Poppyseeds
  • Orange slices
  • Mashed sweet potato
  • Lemon zest
  • Brown sugar
  • Apple sauce
  • Cookie crumbs


 

How to make Yogurt.

Making your own yogurt is easy, fun and gives you that little feeling of superiority we all like to experience every now and again.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: They say it's from New York.
Keyword: yogurt
Servings: 11 people
Calories: 82kcal
Author: The Art of Doing Stuff

Ingredients

  • 2 litres milk (whole, 2%, 1% or skim)
  • 2 Tbsp active yogurt plain

Instructions

Instant Pot Yogurt

  • Pour 2 litres (1/2 gallon) of milk into the inner pot. I use 1% but you can use any kind.
  • Lock the lid on.
  • Turn the vent to "sealing". (although I've forgotten this step before and my yogurt still turned out fine.)
  • Press "Yogurt" button then,
  • Press "Adjust" button. The light will switch to "more" and the word "boil" will show up.
  • Wait. The Instant Pot does its thing for 35-40 minutes, heating the milk to 180° F.
  • "Yogt" will show up on the display when it's done.
  • Remove the lid. CHECK THE TEMPERATURE. After this part is done my yogurt is NEVER at 180° F.  It gets to 175. So I put the lid on and restart the process of hitting "Yogurt" then "Adjust" to boil again until the yogurt registers as being 180° F.
  • Keep the yogurt at 180° F for 5 minutes. To do this, Press "Yogurt" then "Adjust" again. This will keep the unit warm enough to keep the yogurt at 180° F.  Leave it like this for 5 minutes. Don't put the lid back on.
  • Press "Cancel" at the end of 5 minutes.
  • Unplug the Instant Pot. Remove the inner pot and either let it rest on the counter until the temperature drops down to 115° F, OR put the pot in a cold water bath in your sink.  This speeds up the cooling time a LOT. (instead of taking half an hour it will only take a few minutes, so keep an eye on it)
  • Put 2 tablespoons of yogurt (with active cultures) into a bowl and then temper it with a ladle of the hot milk and stir. This just makes it easier to disperse the yogurt through the entire pot.
  • Pour bowl of yogurt/milk mixture into the inner pot of the Instant Pot and stir.
  • Set the inner pot back into the unit.
  • Push the Yogurt button. Add or subtract with the (+) key until you reach a minimum of 8 hours. You can also let it go for 11 hours for tangier yogurt. At the end of your cycle "Yogt" will appear on the display and it's done.
  • Pour off the whey from the top (or scoop it out with a spoon) and put the yogurt in mason jars or other glass containers. 

Stovetop Yogurt

  • Heat your milk in a saucepan over medium heat to 180 F (almost boiling, this happens quickly).
  • Remove pan from heat and allow milk to cool to 115 F. This will take around 30 minutes on the counter or a few minutes in a cool water bath in your sink.
  • Once the milk is at 115 degrees add some hot milk to a bowl with 2 tablespoons of yogurt in it and incorporate. Add this mixture to your pot of hot milk.
  • Now your job is to keep this concoction at 115 degrees for the next 8 hours. There are a few ways to do this.
  • Pour your milk mixture into a mason jar (or similar) with lid and place the entire jar into a small cooler filled with warm water. Leave for 8 - 11 hours. OR ...
  • Pour your milk mixture into a good thermos, wrap it in a towel and leave it for 8 hours.
  • Your yogurt is now done. Store it in glass jars and refrigerate. (If you want you can strain it to make it thicker.) Straining instructions in notes.

Dehydrator Yogurt

  • Follow steps 1-3 for stovetop yogurt.
  • Turn on the dehydrator and set to 115°F.
  • Pour yogurt into serving sized mason jars for convenience (or use full sized mason jars).
  • Set the jars into the dehydrator and allow to incubate for 8-11 hours.

Notes

  • The longer you let the yogurt incubate the more tart it will be.
  • 2 litres of milk will make 8 cups of yogurt.
  • For extra thick Greek yogurt, strain the yogurt after it has set by pouring it into a cheesecloth lined sieve over a bowl. In about an hour 4 cups of whey will have drained out leaving you with an incredibly thick remaining 4 cups of yogurt.
  • If your oven goes as low as 115°F then you can set the jars of yogurt in the oven for 8-11 hours as well to incubate it.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.75cup | Calories: 82kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 4mg | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 3mg

 

How healthy is homemade yogurt?

 

Really good natural yogurt is way more accessible now than it ever was. There was a time that the only yogurt you could buy was yogurt with premixed fruit and about a pound of sugar per serving.

Homemade yogurt has no sugar and no additives which both decrease the health benefits of this lively culture.  

Homeamade yogurt can be sweetened with honey, maple syrup or agave and you can add fresh fruit like peaches or strawberries as well. 

By making your own yogurt you’re controlling what milk it is you use to create it. Even some of the best brands of yogurt don’t use the best milk and often come from cows that have been fed grain (GMO corn or soy).  That means when you get that store bought healthy seeming yogurt you’re actually consuming GMOs through the milk of the cow.  If that’s the sort of thing that worries you then  homemade yogurt really is your best choice.

 

THOUGHTS ON WHICH IS THE BEST WAY

If I were in some sort of battle that required I choose only ONE method to make yogurt for the rest of my life what would it be?

A combination of the stovetop method for the initial heating and cooling and then finishing the yogurt in a dehydrator. 

 

 

 

How to Make Yogurt at Home.

279 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!)

  4. 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!

    • Liz says:

      I was out of yogurt so I used some cultured sour cream as a starter for my vanilla yogurt. I’ve never had yogurt turn out this way. Not sour or tart at all but, nice and thick. I used whole milk, sugar and vanilla. It’s like custard. What should I call this? My husband insists that it’s not yogurt.
      Liz

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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???

  10. 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………….

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

  13. 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…………

  14. 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;)

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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!!

  18. 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!!!

  19. 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.

  20. 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!

  21. Christina says:

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

  22. 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!!

  23. Dawna Jones says:

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

    http://www.dawnajonesdesign.com/

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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!

  28. Lisa says:

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

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

    • Gramma Carol says:

      Back when my children were little, like 35 years ago, I used to buy goat’s milk from a neighbor…she always told me to never cover the container it was in for at least 24 hours after the goat was milked and it would not smell…seemed to work. Made great yogurt too….

  31. 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!

  32. 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

  33. 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.

      • Angie S says:

        After reading the “Yoghurt? Yoguhrt? Yogourt!! I expected some sort of milk monster to appear! :) It made me laugh.

        • Angie S says:

          I forgot the second quaotation mark around the “Yoghurt? Yoguhrt? Yogourt!!”. Please forgive me.

    • 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!

  34. 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!

  35. Karol says:

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

    • charissa says:

      While I admit I do in fact like yoghourt, I’ve also used homemade yoghourt to make fro-yo. It’s creamier than the storebought stuff, and you can make whatever flavour you like : )

    • Susan Claire says:

      Karol, you are absolutely right! I have tried for years to like yogurt, but I just can’t. Maybe it’s that acidic tang, but I just can’t get it down. Slather it in sugar and chocolate, freeze it, and put it in a cone, and I’m all over it.

  36. 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.

  37. Elizabeth says:

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

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

  39. 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.

  40. 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!

  41. 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!

  42. 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!

  43. 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.

  44. 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.

  45. 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…

  46. 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.

    • Meredith says:

      I made yogurt in a crockpot for years. Somewhere on the internet there is a good recipe…..I used the same temps as Karen indicates, and I want to say it was about 2 hours on high to get up to temp 185 ( I typically did this before I started making dinner on a Saturday evening). Turn off, add the culture or yogurt starter (whisk lightly) and remove the lid slightly to cool to 110, about another hour, hour and a half (about bed time!). Put in the oven in the crock (lid on) overnight with the oven light on. To make greek, I would dump out the yogurt in a linen cloth lined strainer over a bowl and refrigerate for two hours or so. Then I would package yogurt in little glass jam jars and top with cooked berries for our breakfasts all week…..grab and go in the morning. Super easy for those with less time that still want to feel superior to others.

  47. 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!

    • Pati says:

      I ADORE tzatziki so I guess I will be making yogurt…

    • LOIS M BARON says:

      Are all tzatziki recipes created equal? As in, can I pick one at random from the internet and be OK?

      • Tracie says:

        I use the Balkan yogurt, which I always strain for a couple hours. Little did I know that’s the only difference between ordinary and Greek yogurt!! Then just fresh garlic, lemon, and dill, sea salt, seeded and finely grated English cucumbers with the skin on. (also needs straining) I always just wing the amount of seasonings, tasting all the way. Have yet to make my own yogurt, but my interest has definitely been renewed!

    • Laurinda says:

      Or you can get a Mesophillic strain from Cultures for Health’s website, & make it the no-cook way. I promise that it’s as easy as making a glass of chocolate milk-stir cultured yogurt into milk, set in a semi warm spot*, 8 hours later, it’s yogurt.

      * in my drafty house, I put my jar in my electric oven with the light on. It works every time

  48. 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.

  49. 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?

    • Karen says:

      Michelle – You DO need to try it. I’m officially obsessed with making yogurt. ~ karen!

      • Hmm – do you think it would work if I did it with chocolate milk? Mmmm – Chocolate Yoghurt

        • Nicole2 says:

          Yeah, why is it that they don’t make chocolate yogurt?

        • Mary W says:

          Try it and you’ll know why. LOL

        • Renee Rydzewski says:

          Yoplait makes Whipped in chocolate. Kind of like mousse. I just stir in some Hershey’s syrup

        • Rebecca says:

          They do make chocolate yogurt! I had some really good chocolate cherry yogurt, think it was Chobani. I usually make my own yogurt; I would think that making it with chocolate milk would not be good. I’m picturing terrible things happening with the extra sugar as it sits out overnight…. Add your flavors later, when you’re about to smash it in your face!

      • Kim says:

        I listened to Sandor Kats a couple of weeks ago talk about his book…The Art of Fermentation on NPR. This was one of those foods he addressed… Sounded interesting butt seeing the visuals and tips, I think I will be trying it soon.
        Thanks for this,
        Kim

        • Kim says:

          Oops the butt was an auto correct…

        • pumpkin says:

          I listened to that Kim. Very interesting. Makes fermentation sound like the perfect food group. He talked about how healthy it is. Worth a listen. GO YOGURT. And kraut.

    • joanne says:

      Maybe they were yogurt makers!!

    • Mary W says:

      Hare Krishna’s had/have a farm near Gainesville, Florida and they provided/provide free lunches several days a week to college students. I have several friends that survived their whole 4 years through that generosity. I tried the food once and, while different, it was VERY good. Never heard anything bad about them or their farm.

  50. 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!

    • Karen says:

      You have a GOAT?! I WOULD KILL FOR A GOAT!!! I mean not something big … like a bug or something. But still. I’D KILL FOR IT! ~ karen

      • Kim from Milwaukee says:

        You can me both, Karen. I make goat’s milk yogurt and kefir and it makes THE BEST in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD!

      • Erin says:

        You are so funny and practical, I fell in love… well, you know. I have never enjoyed anyone’s blog as much and plan on following. I think I might buy a proofer because I want to make butter and cheeses as well. By the way. I have been way too exhuberant in grocery stores as well and yes, I wondered if they thought I was a bit touched. Thank you for brightening my day.

        • Karen says:

          Welcome to my site Erin! ~ karen

        • Mitzi says:

          I know exactly what you mean. One lady said I was on some really good meds . When I really wasn’t, honest. She said something about Prozac. Haha. That’s why I stopped talking too much to strangers in the grocery store.

      • Nicole says:

        Karen, my 3 does are coming home from their vacation with a buck and they had better all be pregnant. As soon as they have their babies, I’ll send a couple to you. Free of charge and you don’t have to kill anything. :) They are Nigerian Dwarf goats and you’ll love them – trust me. AND you’ll be able to make delicious homemade yogurt from the milk.

        By the way, I make yogurt by filling a mason jar mostly full with raw goat milk, stir in a couple of tablespoons of yogurt from the previous batch, put the lid on and put it on the heating mat that I use to start seeds. 1-2 days later I have thick, creamy yogurt with the right amount of tangy flavor. So good, so easy, so lazy.

        • Karen says:

          You’re kidding! On a heating mat! That’s interesting. Goats. SO cute. SO unpredictable, lol. ~ karen!

    • Kat says:

      In case anyone is wondering…this works GREAT with goat milk. Several batches have been made, eaten, and loved! Thanks!!!

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