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How to Make Your Own Yogurt

Updated on August 2, 2012

Why Make Homemade Yogurt?

Yogurt is a healthy addition to your diet. However, many of the yogurt containers stocked on the supermarket shelves are overloaded with unnecessary calories, fat, and sugar. By making your own yogurt, you control what it contains.

Homemade yogurt is delicious and incredibly simple to make. It is also very inexpensive to make at home. You actually do not even need a special appliance to make yogurt, but it is a very small initial investment and it makes the job much easier.

Now, first a little information about the health benefits of homemade yogurt, then information on how to make your own yogurt.

homemade yogurt
homemade yogurt

Benefits of Yogurt in the Diet

PROBIOTICS

Yogurt contains probiotics, which are the beneficial bacteria created from milk fermentation by active and live cultures. These friendly bacteria boost your immune system and add to the already existent good bacteria in your digestive system.

Even though dairy products are a digestive irritant to some people and on the "foods to avoid" list for IBS sufferers, yogurt is an exception and actually improves the digestion because of the probiotics it contains.

When you take antibiotics for an illness, they can destroy the good bacteria right along with the bad. Yogurt can help build the immune system back up quickly, building up the body's GOOD bacteria.

In order for a product to be labeled yogurt, the FDA requires that it contain the live cultures Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus. Other cultures can be included in yogurt, but to be called yogurt these two are required.

In addition to probiotics, yogurt also contains calcium and other nutrients.

Euro Cuisine Automatic Yogurt Maker

There are different yogurt makers in a variety of sizes, styles, and price ranges. I shop around a great deal when I purchase an appliance, including reading and weighing all reviews I can find.

Features and benefits are other considerations, and after a thorough research, I purchased the Euro Cuisine YM100 and I am extremely happy with it.

It comes complete with the jars, lids, and yogurt maker. It also has a timer, a pilot lamp, and an upper cover. The jars are dishwasher safe, but I prefer to wash mine by hand to prevent breakage.

A Note About Milk - That Stuff from Cows, Soy, Goats, Sheep, etc.

Lactose intolerance is a common problem for many individuals, but it does not have to stop you from enjoying delicious homemade yogurt! Any of the following may be used for making homemade yogurt.

  1. Whole, 2%, 1%, or fat free milk (pasteurized)
  2. Powdered Milk
  3. UHT Sterilized Milk (long-life); UHT stands for Ultra High Temperature processed
  4. Soy Milk (must contain fructose, malt, or honey in the ingredients or it will not ferment)
  5. Fresh or Store Bought Goat's Milk
  6. Sheep's Milk

how to make homemade yogurt
how to make homemade yogurt

A Picture of a Cow

Meet My Friend Patty

You can use milk other than from a cow, but I wanted to include a picture of my friend.

She is very excited about appearing on my lens! This is PATTY! Say Hello to Patty!

Ingredients You Should NOT Use to Make Homemade Yogurt

Above is a list of the milk you CAN use in yogurt. This is a list of milk and starter products you should NOT use in yogurt.

  1. Expired milk
  2. Expired yogurt (for starter)
  3. Flavored Yogurt or Yogurt containing fruit or other ingredients (for starter)

yogurt starter
yogurt starter

Using Yogurt as Your Yogurt Starter

You can use yogurt as a starter for your yogurt. This can be yogurt purchased from the supermarket or from a batch you recently made. If you do choose to use yogurt as your starter, it is recommended that you only repeat the one time.

In other words, if you use a container of yogurt from the store to start a batch of yogurt, you can then use some of that yogurt produced to make another batch. After that batch, you will need to use a new container of yogurt for the next one.

This is because continuing to use the same yogurt can produce some "off" bacteria strains that you do not want in your yogurt.

Remember NOT to use expired yogurt or yogurt that is flavored or contains fruit or other ingredients.

Using a Packaged Yogurt Starter

I have made yogurt using purchased yogurt starter and also using actual yogurt.

I prefer to use the purchased starter because I have more control over the probiotics going into my homemade yogurt.

You might think the price for a bottle of yogurt starter is high at first, but keep in mind a jar will last a long time. I buy mine in a 1.75 ounce jar but it makes up to 30 quarts of yogurt.

If you add up the cost of the yeast starter and the milk you use, you'll still find you can make delicious healthy yogurt at home very inexpensively, and you can control what your yogurt contains.

Be sure to store your yogurt starter in the refrigerator and do not expose to direct sunlight, heat, or moisture. You should not freeze it, either.

My Choice of Yogurt Starter

You can experiment with different yogurt starters if you like. I personally have used Natren Yogurt Starter for some time and I KNOW it works and that it is high quality.

I know my yogurt will turn out as I expect and how it will taste using Natren.

The other products listed have really good reviews, too, so you might want to consider giving them a try.

yogurt topped strawberries
yogurt topped strawberries

Making homemade yogurt is both fun and inexpensive. And it tastes great, too!

This recipe is designed for the Euro Cuisine YM100 Yogurt Maker.

Ingredients

  • Goat Cow Sheep Soy or Powdered Milk
  • Yogurt or Yeast Starter
  • Honey

Instructions

  1. 1. Heating the milk is optional, but it does need to be at room temperature. If you heat the milk, heat to 180F and cool to 110F.
  2. 2. All utensils and yogurt jars and lids must be clean.
  3. 3. The Euro Cuisine YM100 Yogurt Maker will require 42 oz of liquid to fill all 7 jars. Adjust quantity if you are making less.
  4. 4. When milk has cooled to 110F, add Natren Yeast Starter using quantities on the label directions.
  5. 5. If you are using yogurt instead, mix 6 oz of yogurt with 16 oz of milk in a separate bowl and then add to rest of milk. Add honey if you wish to sweeten your yogurt (1/4 cup).
  6. 6. Pour into your cleaned and dried yogurt jars.
  7. 7. Leave the jar lids OFF for processing. The lids are for refrigerator storage ONLY.
  8. 8. Place the jars in the Euro Cuisine YM100 Yogurt Maker.
  9. 9. Place the clear cover on top of the appliance.
  10. 10. Plug unit into wall outlet.
  11. 11. Set the timer; 7 hours is for whole milk yogurt, 10 hours for skim milk yogurt.
  12. 12. Press the RED pilot lamp.
  13. 13. When the time is reached, the timer will switch off along with the RED lamp.
  14. 14. Place lids on the yogurt jars and refrigerate at least three hours before eating.
  15. I will be writing a separate lens on how to make yogurt containing flavoring and fruit. Be sure to check back and see my lensroll for those recipes.
Cast your vote for Homemade Yogurt - The Recipe
homemade yogurt
homemade yogurt

Heat KILLS Yeast!

Temperature is Important

Whether you are using yeast to make bread, yogurt, or wine, it is IMPERATIVE to understand that heat KILLS yeast.

Get yourself a cheap thermometer and check temperatures. You don't want to spend money on ingredients and your valuable time making yogurt only to end up sorely disappointed because your yogurt (or wine or bread) does not turn out right.

Natren Yeast Starter recommends 108F to 112F (42C to 44C) as your liquid temperature when you add the yeast.

A Thermometer is a Valuable Kitchen Tool

Your efforts might well be for naught if you add the yeast before the liquid is at the proper temperature.

If the temperature is too cool, it won't kill the yeast but it won't ferment either. The liquid would have to come to the proper temperature to allow the yeast to do its job. This will be taken care of in your Euro Cuisine yogurt maker, but if the liquid is chilled rather than at room temperature it will require time in the yogurt maker to warm back up, and that is not recommended.

I usually set my milk out several hours before I'm going to make yogurt so it reaches room temperature before I begin if I don't plan to heat it on the stove.

Heat, however, is another matter. It KILLS yeast as noted above. So save yourself time, money, and disappointment. Thermometers are cheap and you will find they are very handy to have in the kitchen!

how to make homemade yogurt
how to make homemade yogurt

Cleanliness is Next to Godliness

Good versus Bad Bacteria

The nutritional value of the yogurt as mentioned in the introduction of this lens is in the probiotics (GOOD BACTERIA) it contains.

I guess that's why they call them PRObiotics instead of CONbiotics (a little biotic humor there).

BAD BACTERIA (off culture) will spoil the entire product and you'll end up with unsatisfactory yogurt that tastes awful.

Make certain you use clean equipment when you make yogurt. You don't have to bleach it in Clorox or anything as drastic as that, but do be certain to use clean jars and lids, pans, pots, utensils, etc.

To Boil or Not To Boil

That is the Question!

To boil or not to boil the milk for yogurt making is a personal preference.

Boiling results in a product with a consistency that most Americans are familiar with.

You can make a softer yogurt without boiling the milk by increasing the whole milk process time to 8 hours; the 2% milk process time to 10 hours; and the skim milk process time to 12 hours.

If you want firm yogurt without boiling the milk, add 10 tablespoons of powdered milk to the room temperature milk before adding it to the glass jars.

Thanks for the memories!

ZigPop Loves Hearing from Adoring Fans!

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Homemade food is the best. I'm making kefir for a couple of years now and we still love it, besides it is much healthier. I have to try making yogurt too, great lens, thank you for sharing.

    • MizzMary profile image

      MizzMary 5 years ago

      Homemade stuff is always the best. Great lens by the way.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I make yogurt with half and half, yes I know the fat, but it taste like heaven. I don't boil, bring it almost to a boil. I use a small container off the shelf of my favorite yogurt for the starter. Nice lense.

    • CuAllaidh profile image

      Jeff Johnston 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Making yogurt has been on my list of things to do for a while. I brew my own mead and much of the same processes are involved, the micorbiology involved is similar. Thanks for a great lens.

    • gigiee profile image

      gigiee 5 years ago

      Loved and learnt alot from your lens.

    • Mark Shirbroun profile image

      Mark Shirbroun 5 years ago

      Didn't even realize this was possible - looks like a lot of fun. Thanks for the great lenses!

    • pinkrenegade lm profile image

      pinkrenegade lm 5 years ago

      Thanks for the useful information. I would also love to make my own yogurt.

    • LynetteBell profile image

      LynetteBell 5 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      I have made yoghurt before but not for a long time. You have inspired me to start again!

    • piedromolinero profile image

      piedromolinero 5 years ago

      We all love yoghurt, but I never thought about making it myself. I will try it as it actually sounds easy.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 5 years ago

      Great info, useful as well. Thanks and Angel Blessings!

    • zigpop lm profile image
      Author

      zigpop lm 5 years ago

      @joannalynn lm: I thought about chickens, too, but we have to watch out for coyotes and I know someone else with chickens and they deal with lice which can cause hens not to lay. I am considering a cow or goat, though. Sounds like your son is inquisitive; I like seeing that in kids.

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 5 years ago from Topeka, KS

      I made my own yogurt for awhile and absolutely loved it! I bought the YoGourmet starter in a local grocery and got Raw Cow's Milk for the base. It was so awesome. Great job on this article. Blessings!

    • IMKZRNU2 profile image

      IMKZRNU2 5 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Very interesting. I may have to try this since my family loves yogurt. Thanks for sharing it!

    • profile image

      sandi_x 5 years ago

      Interesting. Thanks for this lens

    • Mariajomith profile image

      maria 5 years ago

      i have been dying to try this, thanks for the reminder

    • GeekGirl1 profile image

      GeekGirl1 5 years ago

      I love yogurt. Thanks for writing about it. I'll try to follow your instruction on how to make yogurt. Hopefully it turns out right.

    • karlawhitmore profile image

      Karla Whitmore 5 years ago from Arizona

      I never thought about making my own yogurt. I guess I assumed a long process in a basement somewhere... but this is great! We love yogurt in this house and the flavor combinations are endless. Thanks for an interesting, helpful lens.

    • Nanciajohnson profile image

      Nancy Johnson 5 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      I love to make my own homemade yogurt too. I enjoyed your lens and learned a few good tips. Tell Patty hello, she is so cute.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image

      Heidi Vincent 5 years ago from GRENADA

      Lovely lens. I had a chuckle at your header "Cleanliness is next to godliness" and your PRObiotic joke.

    • Natalie W Schorr profile image

      Natalie W Schorr 5 years ago

      Way cool lens!

    • SquidooMBA profile image

      SquidooMBA 5 years ago

      This is an excellent lens and I am glad I read it. We eat a ton of yogurt and I knew it was easy to make but I didn't know the process at all. Thanks for the education!

    • profile image

      RuralFloridaLiving 5 years ago

      Good lens - I had no idea how to make my own yogurt - I eat a lot of it, but never thought about making it myself. Thanks for all the info! You did a really nice job here.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 5 years ago from San Francisco

      I am always delighted to see another yogurt maker extolling the virtues and simplicity of making our own. We even recommended the same yogurt maker on our lenses! Very nice job.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      As I buy yogurt every week, I really should try to make my own.

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      I used to make my own yogurt but got away from doing it. Thanks for writing about this .. I'll get my equipment out of storage and try a batch again. It is good! Angel dusted!

    • joannalynn lm profile image

      joannalynn lm 5 years ago

      When I taught introductory biology for non-majors, I had the students make yoghurt, sauerkraut, and apple cider vinegar as fermentation exercises. I told the students to bring jams if they wanted to sweeten the yoghurts when they were completed. It can be very tart (or we didn't get it quite right). One semester we made white and red wine, but on the sly (dry campus). That really had the students engaged. Once something like that gets around, students want to do it every semester! Hands on practical applications are always best to illustrate biological processes, even for majors :). My youngest son wants a milk cow or goat, but I'll be the one doing all the milking, and it is a big commitment. He also wants chickens, but we have wolves in our canyon, and chickens attract wolves to yards. You have some keen yoghurt making equipment here I didn't know existed.