Homemade yogurt is easy to make and can be mixed with any flavorings your family enjoys! It’s also perfect for marinades.
We eat a lot of yogurt, and I mean a lot. Probably around a gallon of it a week. How is that possible? No one’s taking shots of it, although that does sound intriguing, terrible but intriguing. Currently there are 4 of us in the house that eat it twice a day. Yours truly is one of them, and the three dogs currently residing with us are the other 3.
Due to my very inconvenient diagnosis of the autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, I’ve had to adjust a lot of what I eat. For a while I cut out dairy completely. That was so devastating! (But admittedly not as devastating as cutting out bread, that was hard!) The first step to healing me was healing my gut. One of the things I do is taking marshmallow root twice a day. It’s great at lining your gut, soothing it and helping it heal. A healthy gut allows more toxins to leave your body instead of allowing them to build up.
Have you ever tasted marshmallow root? Now, you may love it and kudos to you if you are one of those people. But I hate the taste. In comes yogurt to the rescue. I mix a teaspoon of marshmallow root in with some yogurt, granola and about a teaspoon or two of local raw honey and all of sudden it’s amazing. Can’t taste the marshmallow root at all. Plus I get a dose of good probiotics twice a day with the yogurt. A win win if you ask me!
How to Make Homemade Yogurt
So, how do you make yogurt at home, and why? Well, It can get quite expensive to buy a gallon of good quality yogurt every week. A good organic yogurt is about $5 per 32 oz (or a quart). That adds up fast and is not in our budget. Plus, I have to be careful about the ingredients that are in the foods I eat. I can’t have yogurt that has added ingredients, I need to to be strictly milk/cream and live cultures. The best way to control those ingredients is to make it yourself!
The easiest way to make homemade yogurt is by using an InstantPot with a yogurt setting. Mine doesn’t have that setting, so I’m going to show you how I do it. You’ll need yogurt culture, I just use some good quality yogurt from the store that is only milk/cream and active live cultures, milk, jars, a thermometer, and a pot big enough for your jars to sit in. I’m using quart jars here because I like making a larger batch at once, but you can easily use smaller or bigger ones as long as your pot will fit them. You also want to make sure that whatever you incubate the yogurt in is large enough for the jars you choose.
If you’re interested in the thermometer I’m using, you can purchase it from New England Cheese Supply linked here: (this is an affiliate link so I earn a small commission from purchases with no additional cost to you)
Heat the Milk
First step is to clean the jars and let them dry. You want them to dry completely, introducing water into the yogurt can cause it to mold. Once they are dry, add the milk so the jar is about 3/4 full. You don’t want to completely fill the jar because you need room to add the culture later.
Add water to the pot, only enough that the water will up to the milk line of the jars and not higher. Again, we want to make sure not to get water in the jars of milk. Once you have enough water (you can always take some out or carefully add a bit more if you need to) put the jars into the pot of water and turn the burner to medium heat. You don’t want to heat the milk up too quickly otherwise you risk scorching it. No one but the dogs will probably want to eat that! Mine would probably eat it anyway…
You’re heating the milk to 162 degrees F, 72 degrees C. Once you start seeing a film develop on the top of the milk, start taking the temperature. We’re bringing the milk up to this temperature to pasteurize it. Why would we need to pasteurize milk that’s already been pasteurized? It’s because between the time the milk is processed, packaged and gets to your home there’s chances of it being contaminated. Pasteurizing it again just ensures you’re starting with a completely clean slate. If you’re using raw milk you’ll still pasteurize it to get that clean slate for the yogurt cultures to work with.
Cool the Milk and Add Culture
Once you’ve reached temperature, carefully lift the jars out of the pot without splashing water into the other jars of milk (if you have more than one in the pot). You can put a lid or something on top of the jars if you’re worried about this, but I find it’s pretty easy to avoid. Place the jars to the side and allow them to cool to about 110-115 degrees F, 43-46 degrees C. Yogurt cultures are thermophilic, meaning they need heat in order to multiply.
When you’re jars have cooled, it’s time to add the yogurt culture. Add about a 1/4-1/3 cup of yogurt per quart jar. I just take 2 heaping tablespoon full and put that in each jar. Stir the yogurt culture in, making sure to not only stir side to side but up and down as well. We want those cultures completely mixed into all of the milk.
Incubate to Turn the Milk into Homemade Yogurt
Now your jars are ready to incubate. I use my dehydrator to incubate the yogurt, but if you don’t have one, or yours won’t fit jars, then using the oven will work fine. For the oven, put a pot of hot water at the bottom and turn the pilot light on. Place a lid on your jars and put them in the oven and close the door. The hot water combined with the heat of the pilot light should keep the oven at about the right temperature during the incubation period. If you find that it’s getting too cold, just replace the water and close the door again.
With the dehydrator, all I have to do is put a tight lid that does not leak on the jars. It’s important that it doesn’t leak because if air gets into the jars you’ll start to dehydrate the milk. Not quite what we’re going for here! Set the dehydrator to 115 F, 46 C, and set the time for anywhere between 12-24 hours. If you like your yogurt more tangy, go longer. I usually go about 14 hours or so and that gives me a nice tang without it being to much for me.
And there you have it, homemade yogurt!
Cool Your Homemade Yogurt to Thicken It Up
Take the yogurt out of the incubator once the time’s up and put it in the fridge. It will still be slightly runny when it’s warm and that’s okay, as it cools in the fridge it will really thicken up. If you want more of a greek yogurt consistency, strain the yogurt through a cheese cloth or butter muslin. That will take some of the whey out and make it a lot thicker. You can purchase good cheese cloth or butter muslin at New England Cheesemaking Supply Company (aff. link)
Easy right? It does take some time, but there’s very little hands on to making your own yogurt. Heat it up, cool it down, mix in cultures, and incubate. Done. Let me know if you try it or if you already make your own yogurt. I’d love to hear your stories!