How to Make Creamy Homemade Yogurt

Many years ago, a sweet older Assyrian lady taught me how to make homemade yogurt using a slightly warm oven.    

I made yogurt using her method for quite some time, then life happened and I didn't make yogurt for a couple of years.  When I began making yogurt again, I seemed to have forgotten her method, and she wasn't around to call for help... I miss her terribly.

Last year I began researching yogurt makers, and when I discovered how reasonably priced they were, we purchased one.  I have been so happy with the results!  

To get started, I purchase a good, quality Greek yogurt from the supermarket, about six ounces in size.  Look for one that:

  • does not have added pectin or thickeners
  • is not nearing the expiration date
  • has many active, live cultures (I look for at least five)

In a large stainless steel pot, I warm a half gallon of whole milk (sometimes I add a bit of cream, too).  Once the milk is warmed, I turn up the heat a bit and bring it just to a simmer, then I remove the pot from the heat and let cool.

Since I don't have a thermometer for checking the temperature of my yogurt, I let it cool just to the point where I can leave my finger in for five seconds without too much pain.  Don't let it cool much more than that.

Next, I add in the one small container of Greek yogurt, and stir well to dissolve into the milk.

Then I use a soup ladle to pour the milk mixture into glass jars and set them into my yogurt maker.  Mine is the Yolife Yogurt Maker, and it comes with several small glass jars, but we like to use larger mason jars, too.

Just put the lid on, plug the yogurt maker in, and the yogurt cultures go right to work in a perfect little environment just for them.

This creamy yogurt was ready in just eight hours!  One thing that I've noticed is that the longer it sits, the more sour it seems to taste.  Eight hours is about the minimum time to let it sit.  Once it's creamy, just put the lids on and store the yogurt in your refrigerator as usual.

You can keep six ounces or so aside and use it in your next batch of yogurt, too, and keep doing that the next couple of times you make yogurt.  After about three or four times, I usually start over with a small container of very fresh yogurt from the store again.

Do you make homemade yogurt?  What method do you like to use?

Warmly,

post signature

If you enjoyed this post, subscribe to Like a Bubbling Brook email updates - it's free and delivers new posts about faith, homemaking, and real foods right to your inbox.

Follow along on Facebook. | NEW! Now you can also join us on Twitter. | NEW! Join in the LABB community via our Facebook page.

*also shared at Homestead Barn HopPennywise Platter, Simple Lives Thursday, Ultimate Recipe SwapReal Food WednesdayWFMW, WLW WednesdayDomestically Divine, {Titus2}sdays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Monday Mania, and Tasty Tuesday

Comments

  1. I make yogurt in the crock pot. Just put some fresh raw milk in just a minute ago. I do strain the yogurt to thicken it. I am also going to try the cooler method soon. I want to use this batch today to make yogurt cheese.

  2. Holly says:

    Looks tasty! I heat my milk up in a large pot, let it cool, add fresh yogurt & some vanilla extract. Then I set the whole pot in the oven overnight with the pilot light on. It’s ready in the morning. Holly

  3. Moira says:

    I have tried all sorts of methods~
    using a cooler filled with warmed water,
    a heating pad under a box,
    a crock pot,
    but the one that works best for me is the oven method! To get ours started we use a really good quality organic yogurt.
    Shalom,
    Moira

    • Kathy Lamm says:

      Hi Moira! Can you tell me about the “oven” method for making yogurt. I have made 3 batches using a crock pot. The first batch I threw away as it was as thin as the milk I originally used, the second batch was perfect after I strained the whey but this last batch wasn’t thick enough for me even after I strained out the whey. Also, I’ve been using my oldest daughter’s crock pot that has a ceramic insert as the one I have is stainless steel (I think that’s what was wrong with my first batch)! Anyway she’d like her crock pot back!

      Thanks,

      Kathy in NC

  4. How funny! I have a batch on the stove top right now! I use a similar method to your own. I found my yogurt maker at the thrift shop- brand new in the box!

    • Jaime says:

      Mandi, that happened to me with my waffle maker – found it at the thrift store, brand new in the box. I love deals like that! :)

  5. kelly cooper says:

    I make it in a cooler! Works like a charm and it is thick like greek yogurt. =0)

    http://lovinglifeslittlemoments.blogspot.com/2010/04/homemade-yogurt.html

  6. Jasmine says:

    Jaime, this is wonderful. I’m going to give it a try. Sounds easy enough. Thank you. I like the added vanilla for taste.

    God bless,

    Jasmine

  7. Ann says:

    I have an Easiyo yogurt maker (you probably don’t have these in the US – they are made in NZ) which makes one kilo at a time (sorry I cannot think in imperial measurements now even though I grew up with them in England!). I do use their bases and cultures but more as an occasional treat as they do have sugar in the flavoured varieties – though no artificial ingredients are used which is better than store bought conventional yogurt. I should really consider making my own Greek yogurt on the stove top as this is one ingredient I am using more and more of in my cooking – it makes an amazing difference to cakes and banana breads.

    • Jaime says:

      Greek yogurt is wonderful – and it’s nice to hear from you, Ann. I was just thinking it had been awhile and I was wondering how you were!

  8. I, too, used to make my own yogurt and haven’t done it in quite a while, but just this week I bought a container of Greek yogurt in order to make up a batch. The way I make ours is similar to yours, except I make up small batches, and rather than using my oven or a yogurt maker, I “process” it overnight in a large thermos. We typically make it plain and stir in a little homemade vanilla syrup or any one of a variety of our homemade jams (strawberry, blueberry, raspberry…). So good and so good for you! Thanks for sharing! You’ve inspired me to put together a post about how we make our yogurt. Blessings!

  9. Don & Shelly says:

    Jaime, I’m a little behind in that I have a recipe but haven’t made it yet. Do you have your own cow or are you city-folk? We’re hoping to move to the country within the next year and have a small farm… that’s why I asked. Blessings!

  10. We just started making yogurt — our method is similar to yours. We also love making it into frozen yogurt!!

  11. Carrie says:

    I make yogurt in the crockpot…in fact I just made some yesterday. :-) I love how easy it is, how yummy it is and how cost effective it is. It’s so nice to have a big batch of homemade yogurt to use in baking and cooking. :-)

  12. Nina says:

    We eat at least a quart of yogurt every time I serve it. So, I like to make a gallon at a time . We incubate it in a cooler that fits 4 quart-sized jars of yogurt, filled 1/4 with 110 degree water. I put the lid on and leave for 8 hours and viola! Perfect yogurt. Hope this is helpful.
    Blessings to you all.

  13. Sara says:

    I make yogurt using the cooler method. I’ve been debating about getting a yogurt maker, but really don’t want one more small appliance. However, I would use it often, so I feel like it’d be worth it. And I’d get the big cooler out of the corner of my kitchen. :) I should try the oven method… maybe I will just do a quart this weekend to try it.

  14. Emily says:

    Just stumbled on your blog…how did I not see this sooner!? Love it!
    Anyway I make my yogurt with fresh raw milk from our organic herd share, about a half cup of leftover yogurt from the last batch (a packet of starter culture if I have run out before making more). Bring to a simmer, let it cool somewhat, and then I set the whole pot on the “warming” burner at the back of my stove, set to low. Cover, let sit about 6-8 hrs, strain, and portion into jars. And I never throw out the whey, it is sooo good for baking in place of milk, cooking in place of broth, stock, wine or water, and even drinking very cold!

    • Jaime says:

      I completely agree about the whey – I like to add it in with my liquid when I’m soaking my grains for breads!

  15. Denise says:

    I too use a yogurt maker, I make at least two batches per week. It is much less expensive and taste better and keeps really well. I bought my yogurt maker from a clearance rack. I love bargains !!!!

  16. yippiemom says:

    Do you know anything about adding acidophilus to yogurt? My husband is from Denmark and they have a sour yogurt that he loves and we cannot recreate it. It contains acidophilus and I’m wondering if I could just add that in some form to our yogurt to get the same zing.

    • Jaime says:

      Acidophilus is usually one of the basic cultures in yogurt; I know it’s in all the starters I’ve used. I do know that homemade yogurt tends to get more sour the longer it sits… I wonder if that is what he is looking for?

  17. Jaime, I’m going to start the Greek Yogurt part of Wardeh’s eCourse soon. I’ve been making more of a European yogurt for a while, but I’m anxious for the thicker yummy Greek kind. I love it drizzled with a bit of honey! I love that yogurt maker you found! I either use my oven, my dehydrator, or I have a yogurt maker that only does small jars, but that’s not very practical most of the time. I like how yours holds all sizes – I gotta check that out!

    Have you tried the Cultures For Health starters for yogurt? I’m loving the one’s I’ve tried so far and if you feed them once a week, they should continue to work. So far I’m on my third round of buttermilk – we’ll see how it does after a few more rounds. (You’ll find Cultures For Health on my sidebar with the advertisers).
    Thanks for linking up to the Barn Hop!

  18. Carolyn says:

    I make mine in the crock pot. I have used real milk and have started using powdered milk now.

  19. Corri says:

    I make mine in our cooler. We use raw milk and greek yogurt to start it: 4 1/2 c milk to 2 1/2 Tbsp yogurt. After its 175 F cool to 110 F then add the yogurt. I put them in mason jars cover them and put them into our cooler with towels around them and let them sit over night. They are creamy and yummy. If yours doesn’t turn out as thick and creamy (and this can be used with ANY yogurt you make) just strain it through a cheese cloth until it is the thickness you want then put it back in the jar and into the fridge. :)

  20. Lisa says:

    So I have a question for you. I have this yogurt maker and have tried various methods/ ingredients and mine either comes out runny (so I added gelatin much to my dismay) or it is grainy in the bottom. Have you had this happen at all? Maybe I just need to try the greek yogurt instead of Nancy’s. Thanks.

    • Jaime says:

      Ew! That has not happened to me – and it sure doesn’t seem appetizing! Are you following the instruction booklet that came with your machine? And yes, my best results, for some reason, have been when I use the greek yogurt as my starter.

  21. Kimberly says:

    Woo Hoo! I just shared my first jar of homemade yogurt with my boys. Yummy! I used our raw goats milk, and sweetened it with honey and vanilla. Perfect! It was thick, but thinned out some as I stirred it. I used a yogurt maker this time. I also picked up some agar agar to thicken, but chose to make this first batch without it. Don’t think I’ll need it after all!

  22. Tirzah says:

    My mom makes yogurt with our raw milk heated to 105 degrees then she puts it in a glass jar with 2 Tbls. of yogurt and shakes it up. Then she puts the quart jar in a thermos with hot water up to the rim of the jar and puts the cover on the thermos. She leaves for 12 hours and it turns out delicious. We make lots of things with it and one of my favorite is her yogurt smoothie:)

  23. Alaina says:

    I have a question I hope one of you can answer. I have a family of 5, we consume 5-6 cups of yogurt a day. It gets expensive and I figured I could make it a lot cheaper and healthier. I use a yogurt maker and have been following the recipie from the box. Basically bringing a quart of milk to 180 degrees …letting it cool to 110 ( I use a thermometer) … Adding the cultures and then pouring it into the jars. I warm it for 8-10 hours. I make several batches a week with fruit on the bottom. The yogurt solidifies nicely, it is delicious, but the texture is odd. A bit clumpy…. More like grainy. I don’t notice graininess in my mouth, only in appearance. My husband is a bit turned off by it… My girls devour it and could care less. Any suggestions? I use raw milk.