Babyface and I eat a lot of yogurt. And when you eat organically, it can get mega expensive. Just do the basic math, in our area, you can pretty much always find organic Stonyfield yogurt, in the individual size tubs for about a $1 a piece. Seems economical enough. But what if I told you could get an entire half-gallon of organic yogurt for the same price you pay for three of those individual tubs? In fact, you can make organic yogurt for even cheaper than conventional store-bought yogurt.
Just make your own!
I know, yogurtmaking seems difficult and complicated, but I promise it is totally easy and only takes about 10 minutes of hands on time. Plus, it only requires two ingredients!
We make our own yogurt all the time. There is almost always a big, covered bowl in our fridge full of plain yogurt ready to eat or use in recipes.
So how do you do it? Let’s get started. First, your ingredients.
Milk: You want a half-gallon (or really, as much or as little as you want, but half-gallon is a good starting size) of organic milk in whatever milkfat percentage makes you happy. The higher the milkfat, the creamier your end-result yogurt will be. We drink skim milk but I use 2% for yogurt just because the little bit of fat is nice. Also, make sure you get PASTEURIZED milk. There are a lot of milks out there that are ultra pasteurized and those will NOT make yogurt. You’ll just end up with warm milk at the end of the process. It will say right on the container if it is pasteurized or ultra-pasteurized.
Yogurt: The first time you make yogurt, you’ll need to pick up a starter of plain, organic yogurt with live active cultures (make sure to the check the label). All you’ll need is an individual tub size. After this, you can use your own yogurt to make remaining batches.
And that’s all your ingredients! Next up, the process. Using a large soup pot and a stainless steel or glass bowl, make a double boiler by placing the bowl over simmering water in the soup pot.
Pour in your milk.
Keeping the heat on low, slowly warm the milk. You don’t want to boil the milk, but you do want the milk to get up to 185°. I don’t use a thermometer. So I just wait until it looks frothy and super hot (but not boiling, boiled milk won’t make yogurt).
Turn off heat, remove bowl from double boiled and set aside to cool. You want it to cool to about 110°, but, again, no thermometer. So I just let it cool until I can stick my finger in the milk, count to 10, and not feel like my finger is going to burn off. If it gets too cool, just heat it back up. If it is still too warm, wait for it to cool down. Too hot and the yogurt cultures will die. Too cool and the yogurt cultures won’t multiply.
Lukewarm milk looks like hot milk.
Next step, pitch in your yogurt. In a small bowl, take a little bit of the warm milk and whisk it with your starter yogurt.
Pour the yogurt/milk mixture into the milk and whisk well.
Put a lid (or an upside-down plate works, too) on the bowl. Wrap the bowl in a blanket. Sit it in a warm and non-drafty space. And wait. The longer you wait, the more yogurt cultures are created and the tangier the yogurt gets. I usually just let it sit out overnight—about 9-10 hours.
Unwrap it in the morning, cross your fingers and you should have yogurt! The yogurt will continue to thicken as it cools in the fridge.
- Flavored yogurt: you can flavor the yogurt at either the pitch stage (before you wrap it up and let it sit out) or before the yogurt goes in the fridge. Mix in honey, vanilla, jam, etc.
- Greek yogurt: strain the yogurt through cheesecloth after it has cooled in the fridge
- My yogurt just looks like hot milk: Make sure your milk was not ultra-pasteurized and that your yogurt had live active cultures.
- My yogurt is grainy: You probably overheated your milk (to boil) in the beginning stage or you pitched in your starter yogurt when the milk was still too hot