Homemade Yogurt

When I discovered that it is possible to make your own yogurt at home, I was intrigued.

Yogurt can be used in so many ways – by itself, with fruit or granola, in smoothies, as a substitute for sour cream, in scones and pancakes. While on our trip to Europe last summer, I even discovered it can be added to pasta sauce for extra creaminess. Yogurt is a staple in our home, and we quickly go through tubs of store-bought varieties.

So when Steve found this recent New York Times article by food scientist and author Harold McGee, we immediately plunged into the world of yogurt making.

The yogurt formula is amazingly simple: heat some milk, add a few tablespoons of yogurt, leave in a warm place, refrigerate for a few hours, and voila! yogurt. No special ingredients or gadgets required! And if you reserve a few tablespoons, you can use it for the next batch. You will have an essentially endless supply of yogurt.

The quality of the yogurt is much better than anything I have had before – light and creamy, with a delicate, fresh taste. It is also significantly cheaper than store-bought – about 1/3 of the cost.

The yogurt you start with can be any store-bought variety with live and active cultures (which is stated on the container). We used Springfield Plain Low-Fat yogurt.

Speaking of cost-saving homemade staples, check out this Slate article by Jennifer Reese, which compares the quality and cost of certain homemade recipes to their store-bought counterparts.

Happy yogurt-making!

Homemade Yogurt

2 tablespoons yogurt with active cultures
4 cups whole milk

Heat milk to between 180 and 190 degrees, or to the point that it is steaming and beginning to form bubbles, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and let cool to between 115 and 120 degrees. In a separate bowl, thin yogurt with some of the milk. Stir yogurt mixture into the rest of the milk. Put the milk into a 1-quart plastic container, swaddle in several towels, and keep it still and warm for about 4 hours until it sets. After the yogurt sets, store in the refrigerator. Honey, sugar or other sweeteners can be added for flavor. Makes one quart of yogurt.

10 thoughts on “Homemade Yogurt

  1. I have been readin alot about this lately. You make it sound easy. Recipes I have read include using the pilot light from your stove, heating pads, etc… that seems complicated. This – I can do.


  2. thank you! i’m excited to make my own yogurt. i can’t stand acquiring dozens of empty plastic yogurt containers that i have no use for but feel guilty throwing away. that can finally come to an end!

    one question though…do i need a thermometer? or more specifically, about how long does it take to cool down to 115 or 120 after bubbling?


  3. I didn’t realize that you could make your own yogurt at home. That’s amazing, and I’m definitely going to have to give it a shot! It sounds intriguing!


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