Easy as Yogurt

I’m pretty sure I’m starting to sound like I live out in the middle of nowhere, with no access to delicious food or no means to purchase such things. I’ve got homemade bread, homemade granola, and homemade tortillas on this blog, and now I’m adding homemade yogurt. It’s a useful thing to have around and, if you make it yourself, you can have it for the price of milk.

All you need to make your own yogurt in your own home is a little foresight. And some yogurt. And a kitchen thermometer. You need the foresight because you have to let it sit for several hours, the yogurt as a starter culture, and the kitchen thermometer to bring the milk to the right temperature. So you need milk, too. And a pot with a lid. But that is all. Truly.

Take the milk (we usually do about 2 quarts at a time, and we always use whole milk) and pour it into a pot. Heat it over high heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 185 degrees and starts to get frothy. If it boils, you’ve gone too far. Oops. Better luck next time. Once it gets hot enough, turn off the heat, but keep the thermometer handy. Let it cool to 115 degrees, stirring occasionally. Scoop out some of the warm milk (about 1/4 cup) and mix it with an equal amount of plain yogurt (your starter culture). Then add the milk/yogurt mixture back to the warm milk. Put a lid on it and keep it somewhere slightly warm. We wrap ours in a blanket or towel and let it sit on our table. Other people put it in the oven with the light on. Then let it sit. And sit and sit and sit and sit. We generally warm our milk at night so the cultures do their magic while we are sleeping and we wake up to a pot of fresh yogurt. But you can let it sit all day if you like.

Now, if you’d like to make GREEK yogurt, there’s another step. It’s easier than the milk thing, but it also takes time. All you do is line a fine mesh sieve with cheesecloth, scoop your yogurt in, and put it over a bowl. You’ll want to strain about twice as much yogurt as you want Greek yogurt. So if you want 3 cups greeked, strain 6 cups. Then let it sit in the fridge for 6ish hours. You’ll have a cheesecloth full of Greek yogurt and a bowl full of whey. You can sprinkle some salt or sugar into the whey and drink it. It’s nothing amazing, but it’s supposed to be good for you.

And if you want to go one step further, you can freeze your Greek yogurt. The simplest thing to do is add 2/3-3/4 cup sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla to 3 cups Greek yogurt, refrigerate for 1 hour, and then freeze it in your ice cream maker (according to manufacturer directions). You can make additions to it as well (berries, peaches, cocoa powder, chocolate chunks, peanut butter), but it’s pretty awesome simply as is.

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  1. Sometimes it does feel like we live in the middle of nowhere when it can be so hard to get a semi-basic food staple (cream of tartar anyone). I’ve been meaning to make my own yogurt for years…you are inspiring me. Thanks!


    lizzie Reply:

    Cream of tartar . . . yes. We get that in Ohio. Go figure. I know that I can get just about anything in this City, which is both amazing and extremely frustrating. I’d love to have one grocery store to go to so I don’t have to wonder if I’m getting the best price or not . . . or about the time and train fare it takes to get where everything is. Sigh.


  2. I’ve tried yogurt before. Not as hard as it sounds. And I love greek yogurt too. I’ll have to try it again and freeze it. I hadn’t thought of that.


    lizzie Reply:

    This frozen yogurt is so simple and sooooo good. You’re going to love it.


  3. Ok, so I’m going to try this! I’m just waiting for my cheesecloth from amazon…can I borrow your thermometer by chance? I’ll email you when the cheesecloth comes. Hopefully early next week!


    lizzie Reply:

    Of course you can borrow my thermometer. We’re actually going out of town next week, so I’ll bring it by your place before we leave.


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