Lately I’ve been obsessed with making my own yogurt!Here’s how it all started: I love eating yogurt and have it for breakfast almost every day. Recently, Anthony started eating it, too! Of course I’m a huge yogurt snob and only prefer Noosa and Fage yogurts — two of the most expensive brands out there.A 24-ounce tub of plain Noosa yogurt costs about $7 at Publix — and we were going through about 1.5 tubs a week. I quickly realized that we were spending $35+ dollars a month on yogurt!
So I thought I’d try making my own. I’ve always wanted to dabble in dairy and here was my opportunity! I started with this basic recipe from the New York Times and have made about seven batches of yogurt since. Each batch gets better!
Here’s how I’m making yogurt at home these days. Similar to bread making, it doesn’t take a lot of hands-on time — but it does require a lot of hands-off time. All you have to do is plan ahead.
Step 1. Heat your milk. Pour your milk into a sauce pan and bring it to a sllloooow warm with the burner on medium-low. Using a thermometer, bring the temperature up to 195 degrees.
A quick note about milk: I’ve read that it matters what type of milk you use. Some people say that fresher milk = creamier yogurt. However, I’ve tried three types of whole, organic milk (local milk from a farmers’ market, Organic Valley milk, and Aldi organic milk) and have found no difference in results. Given that the local farmers’ market milk cost $6, Organic Valley cost $4.50, and Aldi costs $2.75, I’ve been sticking with Aldi for my milk
Step 2: Cool your milk. Once your milk reaches 195, take the saucepan off the burner and let the milk slowly cool to 140 (this will take about 20 minutes). If you’re in a hurry you can put the saucepan in an ice bath to bring the temp down faster!
Step 3: Add yogurt. Next, add a heaping spoonful of yogurt to your milk (one spoonful per quart of milk) and stir or whisk well.
A note on yogurt: I’ve also heard that different yogurt starters will yield different results in texture and flavor, because every yogurt carriers different types and quantities of bacteria. I used Organic Valley plain Greek yogurt as my original starter (and have been using its “children yogurts” as starters ever since) and we’ve been happy with it so far! In the future I’d like to test other yogurt starters just for fun, though.
Step 4: Cover and let rest in a warm, humid place. Similar to how the yeast in bread dough like warm, humid places, so do yogurt bacteria. I put a lid on the saucepan and let it sit in the oven (turned off) for 8-10 hours.
Two tips/tales: Once I accidentally left the yogurt in the oven for about 20 hours, and basically made ricotta cheese. So, I would not recommend leaving your yogurt out at room temp for more than 12 hours or so. Secondly, you obviously don’t want to turn the oven on while the yogurt is in there. Nor should you turn on the stove! One time I started cooking on the stove (multiple burners going at once) and also used my top oven (we have a double oven) which indirectly brought up the temperature of the lower oven. The yogurt got too hot and separated more than usual. So, if you are going to be cooking on the stove and have yogurt in the oven, move your yogurt away from the heat (I put mine in a closet). It’s very sensitive!
Step 5: Chill and strain. If you like thick, Greek-style yogurt like me, then you’ll need to strain the whey from your yogurt using a very fine strainer like cheesecloth. At first I used a bowl, strainer, and cheese cloth to strain my yogurt, but found it very messy and time-consuming.
And then I found THIS YOGURT STRAINER which has been a lifesaver. Best $19 I ever spent!Strain your yogurt in the fridge for 8-12 hours. I typically make my yogurt in the morning, let it sit until I come home from work, and then strain it overnight. By the morning it’s ready to go!
And that’s it! Once your yogurt is strained, put it in a container (I like old Talenti containers because they give me an excuse to keep buying and eating gelato) and enjoy.
We like to eat ours with jam or honey for a bit of sweetness. Plus toppings!Not only is homemade yogurt really yummy, but it’s also a huge money saver. One two-quart container of Aldi milk ($2.75) yields one quart (about 32 oz) of yogurt. So, homemade Greek yogurt costs about 9 cents/ounce. In comparison, Noosa yogurt costs about 27 cents/ounce. Instead of spending $35 per month on yogurt, now we’re spending $12! I’m putting all the extra money toward my next race registration 😉Hope this post has inspired you to find your inner microbiologist and make some yogurt!