Saturday, May 24, 2014

Homemade Whole Milk Yogurt, no yogurt machines needed!

Why on earth would someone MAKE yogurt? Here's my list of reasons:
  1. Whole is the best kind, and it is hard to find at the store. 
  2. Homemade is cheaper. 
  3. You know exactly what's in it.
  4. It's kinda cool to know how, don't you think? 
  5. It's good, and not very hard to do. 
  6. Obviously yogurt is only a few steps away from becoming Greek yogurt and then frozen yogurt dex+!
The finished yogurt, after chilling.

Shout out to thefrugalgirl for sharing how she makes hers. I used to use more ingredients than necessary. I also like using the canning jars.

Thermometer crisis! 

My glass candy thermometer broke recently, as did my probe thermometer that I use for my bread. The numbers are rubbing off of my Taylor thermometer, shown in the pot of milk below. Electronic thermometers go crazy on my induction cook-top unless I turn it off; this kinda figures because induction cooks with magnets. I like the Thermapen, shown in my hand below, but they are selling for about three times what they should right now, so I won't recommend that. I do like the looks of this little instant read thermometer, and this probe thermometer; it alarms for high and low temps, how nice! There doesn't seem to be anything digital that works with induction, though, so looks like I'll be getting another old-fashioned glass one too.

Tartness control:

The yogurt keeps in the fridge for several weeks, especially if you don't open the lid. I used some of this aged yogurt to make frozen yogurt, and we all loved the cheesecake-like flavor. The batch I just made two days ago, however, turned out some much milder frozen yogurt today. It was still good, but not as outstanding. It was also less firm, and did not strain as easily. Next time I may let the yogurt warm for four hours instead of three, to pre-age it into tart deliciousness. I think that should work.

Start with a gallon of milk in a large pot with a thermometer (left). Once it reaches 185°, start cooling it down by stirring while in the sink with cold tap water pouring on the outside of the pot (right).

Once it cools down to 120°, it's time to add the active yogurt. I used Dannon's Oikos.

Whisk the yogurt in really well.
Pour the yogurt mix into quart jars, and keep around 110-120 for three hours. I use my oven on "proof".

After three hours, it is clearly thickened but pretty loose. Move to the fridge, and it will thicken when cool.

Homemade Whole Milk Yogurt

For vanilla yogurt, add the sugar and vanilla.
Makes 4 quarts


  • 1 gallon of whole milk
  • 1 cup plain yogurt with active cultures like Dannon, Oikos, or from the last batch
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of Sugar Dex+ (optional)
  • 1-2 tablespoons vanilla (optional)


  1. If using the oven, set it to “proof” 110°F.
  2. Pour one gallon of milk into a large, heavy bottomed stockpot, or Dutch oven. Over med to med hi, heat the milk to 185-190°F (90-90°C). Stir to prevent scorching. Do not boil.
  3. Add vanilla and sugar if making vanilla yogurt. Let the milk cool to 120°F (50-55°C). To speed up the process, place the pot in the sink and run water down the outside while stirring the milk. 
  4. Stir one cup of yogurt starter into the cooled milk, using a whisk. Stir well to ensure that the starter is thoroughly incorporated into the milk.
  5. Pour the milk into quart mason jars, and put the lids and bands on, but not tightly. 
  6. Choose one of these culture methods:
    1. Place in an oven set to “proof” 110°F.
    2. Place them into a cooler. Heat one gallon of water to 120°F (50-55°C) and pour into cooler. Shut cooler lid and leave in a warm place.
    3. Set the yogurt on a heating pad, either in jars or  in a lidded pot. If it’s the kind of pad that turns off automatically, set a timer and turn it back on until yogurt is done.
  7. After three hours, the milk will now be yogurt. Check by tilting the jar. Yogurt will thicken as it cools. Refrigerate.

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