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Make your own yogurt. Easy homemade yogurt tastes better!

Updated on November 7, 2008

Thick and creamy homemade yogurt

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How to make yogurt

Make you own yogurt

Making your own yogurt is a very easy thing to do, and will save you money, as well as make a far superior product to commercially available yogurts. There is no need to pay extra for a live culture yogurt, make your own, and it will always be a live culture yogurt!

Yogurt is made simply be allowing natural and beneficial bacteria to sour and thicken milk. The process will is easily done in your kitchen, and you need no special equipment. Once you have made a batch of yoghurt, you can continue to make more yogurt, simply by using the last bit of a batch of yogurt to make your next batch. Homemade yogurt is the perfect accompaniment to summer fruit, and is a fun and easy thing to make.

The first thing that you will need when making a batch of yogurt, is a starter batch of yogurt that contains live and active cultures. These yogurts have recently become popular, are easy to find, and will be clearly labeled as having active cultures. As a general rule, the lower the proportion of a yogurt starter you add, the tarter the eventual yogurt will be.

I don't tend to worry very much about exact proportions, and the yogurt always turns out great. I use about 1 cup of live culture yogurt per 2 liters of milk. You can use any type of milk that you prefer, but for the richest yogurt, use homogenized milk (additionally, you can further enrich your yogurt by adding additional skim milk powder to your milk. This increases the proportion of milk solids, and will make a thicker yogurt. I generally don't bother to do this.).

Mix together your milk and your active culture yogurt. Use a clean bowl and spoon when mixing. Many people suggest steaming all instruments to touch the yogurt, as a way to prevent contamination, but I don't do this, and never have a problem.

The bacteria in yogurt are heat loving bacteria, and will multiply fastest, and work best at about 37 degrees Celsius. You should try to maintain an even temperature for the duration of your yogurt making. The way that I do this is by heating a very large pot of water to 37 degrees, and simply placing my yogurt pot to float and bob in this much larger pot of water. Water will retain its heat fairly well, so you as long as you check the temperature occasionally, and reheat as needed, it will say pretty close to the ideal temperature.

The yogurt will probably have thickened in 3 or 4 hours, but will remain relatively mild. If you prefer a very tart yogurt, let the yogurt culture remain incubating for as long as 8 to 12 hours. Keep tasting it, and when it tastes sour enough, it is done.

This yogurt will keep for a few days in the fridge. You can freeze a portion of the yogurt to act as a starter for your next batch, but you can't realty eat yogurt after it has been frozen.

Your own homemade yogurt will taste great, and is satisfying to make.

Try making yogurt cheese

Yogurt cheese

Making homemade yogurt cheese is a great way to use up extra yogurt, and makes a fantastic cheese spread. Simply line a couple of layers of cheesecloth over a colander, and place the colander in a bowl; and allow the yogurt to drain for 12 to 24 hours in the fridge. the yogurt will thicken appreciably, and when salted, will taste like a fresh cheese (which it actually is).

Try adding your favorite herbs for a great variation on delicious yogurt cheese.


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    • profile image

      Jo 5 years ago

      The whey, what you drain from the yogurt, is useful, high-nutrient, and will keep in the refrigerator for months. Drink it straight or make other drinks with it, use it in bread recipes for some of the liquid, cook your rice in it, use it to make lacto-fermented vegetables. Don't throw it away.

    • profile image

      dbee 6 years ago

      FAB!! I have been making this yogurt for a couple of years now. I was given the first starter batch so never needed to know how to start the whole process off. I am moving country so will have to start the process off myself and was panicking how to do it.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 6 years ago from Peru, South America

      Thanks for the easy to follow hub. Yogurt in Peru must have added stabilizers because it can't be drained and thus thickened. I'm going to give it a go and see if I can make yummy yogurt at home!

    • profile image

      ben 7 years ago

      Is there any problem with mixing active live cultures from different sources?

      I just bought a yogurt maker, and I'd like to make a very low-sugar SUPER yogurt by getting a wide variety of live cultures..

      Will different cultures work against each other if I mix for example, Stonyfield Yogurt's 6 cultures (Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Streptococcus thermophilus, Lactobacillus acidophilus,

      Bifidus, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus rhamnosus) with Acidophilus Pearls from Enzymatic Therapy capsules, with the L. yoghourtii from Nutrimax's Starter Kit at Amazon ?

      Also, according to this,

      Some cultures cannot be re-used.. i.e. yogurt from last batch can't be used for the culture starter of the next batch. Why?

    • John D Lee profile image

      John D Lee 7 years ago

      Hi Nikki - yes, at 200, you probably killed all the active culture. You can, however, just add in another cup of yogurt and start the timing again from ground zero, and you'll be fine!

    • profile image

      Nikki 7 years ago

      I wasn't paying attention and got my mixture up to almost 200 degrees F. Did I kill the active cultures?

    • profile image

      Amy Walker 7 years ago

      I love the bobbing bowl strategy! I'll have to try that!

    • profile image

      ShannanS 7 years ago

      This is the easiest no fuss recipe I have found. I love that you even have a cheese recipe for the leftover yogurt. I can't wait to try it. Thank you!

    • John D Lee profile image

      John D Lee 8 years ago

      Hi Magnolia,

      I prefer yogurt made from whole milk, but any type of milk (even whipping cream) should work equally well.

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      Magnolia 8 years ago

      I have a question... Do you make your yogurt from whole milk? I tried making some from skim milk the other day and it just separated and it turned "grainy" after straining it...

    • AletB profile image

      AletB 8 years ago

      Thanks John very informative & useful :)

    • Dink96 profile image

      Dink96 8 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

      I've got to try this. I go through copious amounts of yogurt in the summer, as I like to have it for breakfast with oatmeal that has been softened in milk or water overnight and fresh fruit. (Muesli)

    • John D Lee profile image

      John D Lee 10 years ago

      Hey thanks, Ryan

      You're right too - making yogurt is a cinch.

      Thanks for the comment.

    • profile image

      Ryan 10 years ago

      This was an awesome link. Thank you. Why must things always be so complicated in life?