Homemade Yogurt

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If you’ve never made homemade yogurt before, you’re going to be astounded at how easy it is……really. It’s super easy. You might have tried the recipe I have on here for Crock Pot Yogurt from Heartland Renaissance. I thought it was pretty awesome……until I made this. Now I won’t look back. The thickness and creaminess of this recipe is GREAT! The crock pot is nice if you need to make yogurt and you won’t be able to stick around, but this has become my method of choice. It’s a lot thicker than the version in the crock pot. I looked around at several recipes and finally settled on this one, also from Heartland Renaissance. It’s very easy and makes some really great yogurt. I’m still astonished that I’m making yogurt.Me. I’m making yogurt. At home. Boo yah (do people still say that?).

You really need a thermometer for this. If you don’t have one, go out and buy one. You won’t be sorry. I use mine all the time for testing meat in the crock pot and for testing meat in general. Red meat gives me the freak out. These thermometers keep Stacy from freaking out in the kitchen. Buy one. Thank you. I used my regular meat thermometer for this, but a candy thermometer would work just as well.

You can make however much you want. I think that making it ½ gallon at a time seems to work best for us and it insures that it gets eaten before things start to turn green. Funny how food in my fridge turns green but all my plants turn black and die. Maybe I should put them in the fridge too. Add ½ gallon milk to a big pot and turn your heat to medium-low.

Turn your oven to 200 degrees and put two quart-sized jars in there. See that I have three? That’s because I lack the ability to do math. That’s why I married Barry, the math whiz. Heartland Renaissance suggests that you put a stone in the oven to help with keeping the temperature higher later. I’ve been doing that and it work great. A piece of stoneware works great – I use my pizza pan from Pampered Chef. We’re doing this to sterilize the jars. Thirty minutes in the 200 degree oven will accomplish the task.

You’re going to need a starter with active live cultures. I’m using part of my last batch of Crock Pot Yogurt but you could just as easily use yogurt from the store – just make sure it says active live cultures. You need ¼ cup……but I’ve used ½ cup too. It turns out great with ¼ cup, but sometimes I just plunk some in there and don’t measure. Don’t call the measuring police. Let your starter sit out to warm to room temperature while you fiddle with the milk.

Heat your milk slowly (do not boil) until it gets to 180 degrees. It will take about 30 minutes. Oh and the bottom of the pot might get milk brown stuff cooked on it. No worries…..it scrapes off when you wash it.

When you get your temp to 180 degrees, turn the stove eye off and let the pot sit there. She says not to remove it from the eye and let it sit 30 minutes. Apparently my eye stays hotter than a regular stove and if I don’t remove my pot, 30 minutes turns into 1 ½ hours. So, I slide mine over to another eye to let it cool. I’m a rebel like that. Also, now is the time when you turn off the oven.

You want to let the milk cool until it’s about 110. For me, that takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour. The recipe states 30 minutes…..maybe in the winter time, but not in hot August.

There’s going to be this film that is on top. Don’t wig out…..it’s just milk stuff. Go ahead and skim that off. It’s actually pretty cool. But then again, I like peeling stuff off.

Remove 1-2 cups of the warm milk and stir them into your yogurt culture. Make sure you get it totally combined and leave no lumps. A whisk works great. I love whisks.

Return the yogurt-milk mixture back to the warm milk and whisk until combined. Don’t scrape the bottom of the pan or you might get brown stuff that cooked on all in your yogurt. Or so I hear from OTHER PEOPLE.

Pull your warm jars out of the oven and fill them with the warm milk. Use an oven mitt because even though the oven is off, those things are still stinking hot and can burn……not that I’d do that or anything.

Now, here’s the cool part. You need to wrap your jars with a big towel….or diaper. Heartland Renaissance says to use a new diaper. I just pulled out some cloth diapers and wrapped them up. It worked like a charm…..and plus, it made me giggle.

Return the jars back to the warm oven and close the door. Leave it to culture for 6-8 hours. I have only been doing it for 6 hours with great results, but the recipe states that you can leave them up to 24 hours with no ill effects.

See how nice and thick?! I love it! I make sure that mine gets at least 8 hours in the fridge to thoroughly chill and get thicker. Make sure to save a bit of the yogurt back to act as the culture for your next batch.

I used some of this to make a PB Smoothie for a snack (used yogurt in place of kefir). Yum! You might have noticed I didn’t sweeten this batch. Instead of sweetening the whole recipe, I have been sweetening our bowls as we eat them. I might add a bit of honey or a bit of maple syrup. That allows me to have plain yogurt in the fridge if I should need it for something…..and it also allows me to get the full benefit of my local, raw honey since it doesn’t get heated.See, I wasn’t lying. It really IS easy. You should try it. Don’t be scared.

 



Comment Policy: I love hearing your thoughts and input on what I write. Since I write about what works at my house, what pleases my handsome hubby and darling children; I'm sure we'll disagree sometimes. In those cases, do what's right for you and yours. As with any form of communication, please only post comments that move the discussion in a positive direction.

About Stacy

Stacy is the author of Crock On: A Semi-Whole Foods Slow Cooker Cookbook and Keep Crockin': A Poorganic Slow Cooker Cookbook, and a stay-at-home and homeschooling mom to her two children, Annie (June 2009) and Andy (August 2012). After an “awakening” in March 2011, her family switched to a more natural, whole foods diet. She likes to blog about how to live on less than you make and how to eat good food while doing it. Her passion is teaching others how to save money and she tag teams with her husband in this endeavor. At Stacy Makes Cents you’ll find information on how to save money in the kitchen, how to have fun with your kids, and how to be thrifty in all areas of life. Her passion is teaching others how to live debt free. Make sure to follow her on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and more to keep up with her daily antics.

  • http://impossibleway.livejournal.com Brandy

    Never thought I’d see yogurt in diapers, but if anyone would do it, you would. I’ll have to try this!

    • Stacy

      :-) I’ll take that compliment!

  • Cynthia

    Do you know is the milk HAS to be whole??? Still not able to get hubby to drink the whole, or even 2%!

    • Stacy

      Cynthia, I would think it would work on any type of milk…….it might be a thinner consistency though. If that happens, you can just strain it like forGreek yogurt. (http://www.stacymakescents.com/homemade-greek-yogurt)

      • Cynthia

        Thank you. I bought my “starter” yogurt today…..I’ll have to try it now!

  • http://www.novicelife.blogspot.com Allison

    I am still trying to find the time to do the crock pot yogurt!

    I like to use my homemade fruit butters (and some granola) to sweeten up my plain yogurts! I throw it all in a canning jar and take it to work for breakfast!

  • http://thepurposedheart.com Mindy @ The Purposed Heart

    I used to use Heartland Renaissance’s crockpot method also, but when she posted her new method and I tried it, there was no going back for me either! This seriously makes the best, easiest homemade yogurt EVER doesn’t it?! I usually make a gallon a week.

    Oh and I wrap mine up in a clean cloth diaper also! I usually get a strange look from my husband when I wrap up a big jar of yogurt with a diaper and stick it in the oven overnight! haha! :-)

    • Stacy

      Thanks for the comment Mindy! :-) My husband always looks at me strange. Ha, ha! “The Strange Wives Club.”

  • Angela

    I really want to try this with coconut milk, coconut yogurt is around $2 a serving so a rare treat for us. I don’t have a pizza stone or any stoneware though, any suggestions of something else to use? A couple small bricks??

    • Stacy

      A tile like you use for the floor would work. And you can pick those up for really cheap at Lowes. :-) Good luck!

  • http://www.thehumbledhomemaker.com Erin@TheHumbledHomemaker

    This looks super yummy! Yogurt is on my list of things to make!!

    • Stacy

      I put it off a long time because I had no idea it was so easy. :-)

  • Katherine

    I basically use this method except that I put the milk in the jars to start and heat the jars on a cloth in a pan of water with the lids in the water next to the jars. That way everything sterilizes at once. I use tongs to put the lids on the jars lightly when I turn the heat off and let the whole pan cool together. It takes a little longer so I start the process at dinner time and it is ready to add the starter by bedtime. I usually culture my yogurt for 24 hours so that all the lactose is gone. I use a cooler with a can of boiling water (on a cloth to protect the cooler) standing next to the pot of warm water with the jars in it to culture the yogurt. This procedure sounds a little complicated but it minimizes extra washing and once you know how long each step takes, you can set a timer and ignore it between times.

    • Stacy

      Thanks for posting your method!

  • http://www.frugalmdmom.wordpress.com Ayana

    I am going to try this today. It seems doable for me. We will see….

    • Stacy

      I hope it works out great! Please keep me posted. :-)

  • http://www.frugalmdmom.wordpress.com Ayana

    WOW!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m a believer, this is so easy to do. I’m so glad I found your website. I will post pictures of my finished project tomorrow (if I remember)on my website.

    • Stacy

      I”m so glad it worked out! Fun, isn’t it? :-)

  • pak

    I tried this for the first time last night…perfection! My diaper days are long gone (sorta sad about that) so I used thick hand towels instead. I am so excited to be able to make a big batch of yogurt all at once. Thank you for posting this method, I will forever make my yogurt this way!

    • Stacy

      I’m so glad it worked out for you!!! :-) Isn’t it awesome when you come back and find YOGURT?! It’s like a miracle! :-)

  • Terri Suggs

    Just perusing your site, Stacy, and thought I’d put in my 2-cents on yogurt. I have used non-fat, 1%, 2% and whole – all work fine, but being a Don’t-Fear-the-Fat kind of girl that I am, I am partial to the whole milk… yummmmm! I haven’t tried coconut milk as Angela asked about, but that sounds good so I will give it a go!

    I have never wrapped my jars. I just put them in the oven overnight with the light on….. comes out great.

    Just an interesting tidbit for those of you who live where it gets really hot…. My mom-in-law told me when she and her husband lived in the Marquesas Islands (a loooong time ago), the “natives” taught her to make yogurt by just leaving it out in the sun. Sounds scary, I know. But a few years ago, we were in the Caribbean for a length of time and EVERYTHING is expensive there. Plus, I could rarely find plain yogurt – it was always that flavored, sugary stuff. So, I decided to make some, however, I my oven wasn’t big enough to fit the glass jar….. so, yep, I left it out in the sun…. It worked great! I have to admit, no one would taste it until I had eaten some and kept it down for 4 hours, and even then I only ate a very little bit – yes, even I was a little skeptical. But it all worked out fine, it was delicious, and I’m alive to tell about it! :)

    • Stacy

      How very interesting! :-) Thanks so much for sharing…..I love stories like that. I’m so glad you didn’t kick the bucket from your sun-yogurt. ;-)

  • http://yourthrivingfamily.blogspot.com/ Sara Shay

    YUM! I have seen the crock pot and stove top yogurts recently, but they all said that they weren’t very thick. I LOVE THICK. Many years ago I would only bye the yoplait custard style. Now I have found fresh & easy’s greek style. But I have been wanting to make it myself.

    • Stacy

      This isn’t as thick as store bought yogurt….but it’s WAY thicker than the crock pot version. We eat most of our yogurt over Cinnamon PB Granola, so we don’t mind it being a tad thin. I’ve had friends who use this recipe successfully and then strain it for Greek Yogurt . Good luck! This is the best version I’ve ever tried.

  • http://cheaperandfresher.blogspot.com Charlie

    Can you put a lid or a cheesecloth on top of this when it is in the oven, or would that ruin the results?

    • Stacy

      Charlie, I’m not sure. But I don’t think you need a lid since it’s in an enclosed oven. I’ve never had anything “weird” get in mine. :-)

    • Betty

      I follow pretty much the same method as this one – passed down from my grandmother – and I leave the yogurt mixture in the pan to cool to body temp on the counter. Once it’s at that point, I put it in the oven with the light on and the lid on overnight. (No preheating and no stone) It makes yogurt, but I’m not sure how the thickness compares. I find that the longer I leave it in the fridge the next day, the thicker it is.

      • Stacy

        Yes, it does get much thicker the longer it stays in the fridge. And, when the whey comes to the top, I just pour that off and it continues to get thicker. I know a few friends use cheesecloth to make Greek yogurt, but I’ve never done that – we don’t like the thickness of that since we usually just use the yogurt on granola. :-)

  • http://www.lexienaturals.com Lexie

    Ok, I have my second batch in the oven. As we know, my first batch was good but runny. We shall see how this one turns out. I read elsewhere though that you should not whisk the starter in but should just stir it to incorporate it (leaving lumps). Do you know anything about this? I will let you know. :)

    • Stacy

      I always stir mine until the lumps are gone? Let me know how it goes!

  • ashley

    So I’ve made the crockpot version and this stove top version and both have turned out super runny. Basically no different from milk. What am I doing wrong?

    • Stacy

      Hmmmm. This has only happened to me when I accidentally added the culture at the wrong time. Here’s a great post about troubleshooting yogurt problems. Do you think any of these might have been the culprit? http://www.yogurt-everyday.com/yogurt-making-troubleshooting.html

      • Ashley

        Thanks Stacy! I had done a little bit of research on my own but still can’t figure it out. I had the temps correct. The only thing we found was that I was using organic yogurt to start the culture and one site said that organic was usually on the shelf longer so the culture wasn’t as strong. The dates weren’t expired so I’m still at a loss.

        • Stacy

          Ugh. That’s terrible. I remember the pit in my stomach after ruining all that milk (twice). If it helps, I always use Dannon – it has live active cultures.

  • eskmom

    First off, you crack me up! I enjoyed reading the blog, just for your comments. Your tutorial is fabulous and clear as well. I am going to attempt this, as we go thru SOOOO much yogurt in our house bt smoothies for the kids and protein shakes for me, tho I am going to try the straining for it bc I use Greek yogurt so I can eat my shakes like an ice cream treat.

    Thanks for sharing and I am off to search the rest of your blog for fun and helpful hints.

    Hope you have a great day!

    • Stacy

      Thanks a bunch! And you just let me know if I can ever do anything to help ya. :-)

  • Kelly

    Hey, Stacy! I know this post was ages ago, but now that I’m going THM along with you, I’m wondering if my homemade yogurt fits within the guidelines . . . and if so, whether it’s an E or S! Ack! I usually use whole milk and plain Chobani greek yogurt as a starter (if I don’t have any left from a previous batch) since it’s just milk and cultures – no added sugar, thickener, etc. I thought it would be the full-fat, and therefore an S, but just wanted to see what your thoughts were . . . you’re so wise! :)

    • Stacy

      Yes – that would be an S because of the whole milk….but, they really prefer Greek style on the plan to get rid of the whey where a lot of the carbs reside. If you were to strain your yogurt, then it would be an S but with less carbs. :-)
      I skim all the cream off the top of mine, make butter, then make FP Greek yogurt. Hope that helps!

      • Kelly

        I will skim away! I just couldn’t bear the idea of going back to store-bought yogurt…! Thanks so much!

        • Kelly

          (I mean strain…early morning!)

        • Stacy

          Homemade is so much better. :-) I still buy store bought sometimes…depending on my level of sleep. lol

  • http://ladykatie86.wordpress.com Katie

    Great recipe! I’m looking forward to trying it!

    One question: how do you store your yogurt culture? Do you just make sure to not use all the yogurt, or do you actually take a bit out at the beginning and put it into another container? Do you freeze it so it doesn’t get pink or green? :) Thanks again for this recipe! I am excited to make some for myself sometime!

    • Stacy

      When I’m getting low, I notice so I just don’t use it all in the jar I’m eating out of…but I’m making it weekly now, so I rarely run out. When I have taken breaks, I always just get fresh yogurt from the store. :-)

  • FidoGwen

    I tried making this and it came out with a phlegm-like consistency. I’d like to try again but I’m wondering if you have any tips for me. I made about 6 cups divided into two jars and used about 1/4 cup store bought yogurt as the culture. I cooked the (whole) milk using a thermometer, baked the jars, had stoneware in the oven, let the milk cool, added the culture carefully, diapered the jars (yes, I giggled and took pictures), let them sit in the oven for 8-10 hours, capped the jars and let them sit in the fridge overnight before I messed with them.

    Now, the phlegm-like yogurt makes some really amazing biscuits, so it’s not a total loss, but I would like to make actual yogurt. Any ideas?
    Thanks!

    • Stacy

      Hmmmmm. I’ve been making this for several years now and I’m not sure what you mean by phlegm? Mine is always yogurt-like. Did you try to strain it and see if that helped? I strain mine for about 8-12 hours to make Greek yogurt.

      • FidoGwen

        I usually strain my store bought yogurt so I’m familiar with the process and the yogurt I made isn’t strain-able. It’s kind of like a raw scrambled egg… maybe more watery.

        What I plan on trying is leaving the oven on just barely because my oven gets cold FAST. Or maybe turn it on just barely for about twenty minutes then leave it off for about an hour. I’ll let you know what was wrong once I figure it out. :-)

        • Stacy

          You might try leaving the light on inside while it’s culturing. That’s what I have to do in this new oven. :-)

  • Elizabeth Kegans

    A friend taught me to make yogurt. I never sterilize the containers; never had a problem not doing it. My friend has another way of incubating it. After pouring the cooled down yogurt into the jars, she puts the jars into a cooler to incubate. She puts a warm towel and closes the lid. After leaving it overnight, she awakens to find the yogurt is ready. She uses the beverage cooler (like for punch or Gatorade…not that I have put Gatorade in it, lol) which is upright, but I use a flat rectangular Igloo cooler. I have been known to leave it for a longer period of time…it just gets more sour if you wait longer. In the winter when the kitchen is colder, I prewarm the cooler by putting a steaming pot of water on a towel in the cooler, closing the lid, removing the pot when I put the jars in, and then covering that with another warm towel.

    • Stacy

      I just like socking it in the oven. It’s nice. :-) Most of the time I leave the oven light on.

  • Stacy

    Yes…I make sure it’s 100% milk and no cream. I keep the cream for ice cream and coffee. :-)

  • Stacy

    I’ve been working on updating some of them. All my THM recipes are here: http://www.stacymakescents.com/trim-healthy
    And yes, I love PTE!!! You can see my video tutorial here and holler if I can help with anything. :-)
    http://www.stacymakescents.com/meal-planning-a-video-tutorial

  • Stacy

    :-)