Simple DIY Yogurt Recipe

Save money and reduce your single-use plastics with this easy recipe for homemade yogurt.

Yogurt is one of the easiest things you can make at home. Just mix milk with some good bacteria and let it ferment. With only a few minutes of active cooking time, you can create an entire pot of delicious, tangy yogurt with no additives, and you can easily customize the recipe to fit your tastes.

While the recipe is simple, there is plenty of non-active cooking time. I recommend starting a pot when you're cooking dinner or cleaning up the kitchen, and letting it ferment overnight.

  • A Dutch oven ceramic pot, or another type of heavy saucepan or pot with a lid.
  • A digital instant-read thermometer
  • Whisk or wooden spoon for stirring
  • Containers or jars with lids. Mason jars and empty peanut butter/olive/jam jars work well.
  • 1 gallon good quality milk 
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt. Look for one with different strains of live bacteria.

1. Heat milk on medium-high until it reaches 185°-195° 

Heating helps kill any unwanted bacteria and unravel the milk's protein structure to ensure it thickens when the good bacteria is introduced. Heat for 20-30 minutes or just before the milk starts to boil. Whisk occasionally to keep bottom from burning. Don't worry if a skin forms, you won't notice it later.

2. Cool it down

Remove the milk from heat and let it cool for about an hour, until it reaches about 115°. Note: Be patient, the new bacteria will not survive temperatures above 120.° Set an alarm on your phone so you remember to check the temperature an hour after you remove from heat.

3. Whisk in the yogurt

You can use homemade yogurt after your first batch. Keep in mind that any flavors will come through, so I recommend using plain yogurt.

4. Cover and place in oven for 6-12 hours

Now comes the fermentation. Turn the light on in your oven (but leave the heat off) so your yogurt stays warm all night. The longer you leave the pot, the more sugars will be eaten and the tangier the yogurt. 

5. Jar and refrigerate

You've made yogurt! Put in jars and refrigerate to stop the fermentation and thicken.

Experiment with flavoring, non-dairy products, and straining to get the perfect yogurt for your family.

More great tips and non-dairy suggestions here.

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