Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Homemade Yogurt

Strawberry season is just about here, so I want to be armed with some tasty yogurt to make yummy strawberry smoothies. Therefore, I just made a big batch of yogurt, which is something that I love doing. It's actually very easy and economical. All you need is milk (I used a gallon of whole milk) and a small amount of high quality plain yogurt. When picking out a yogurt it's important to get one that has live cultures. I look for a yogurt that lists a lot of different pro-biotics but still has a small number of added ingredients. This time I picked Stonyfield's plain organic yogurt and it turned out very well.

Here's an outline of how I make my yogurt.

1.) Place your milk in a pot and bring it almost to a boil. I like to get mine just hot enough to start seeing a little steam. This will help kill off any bacteria that might be in your milk to begin with.

2.) Let your milk cool down so that it is warm but not hot. If the side of the pot is a comfortable temperature on your wrist then it's probably fine. Some people use thermometers to make sure it's just the right temperature, so you can definitely do that. However, my yogurt has turned out just fine without it.

3.) Mix in your yogurt. I use a whisk to make sure it gets mixed well and any clumps are broken up. For a whole gallon of milk I'll use an entire 6 oz container of yogurt although you could probably get away with using less.

4.) Transfer the yogurt to a clean storage container. I used two large plastic containers this time.

5.) Place your yogurt mixture in a warm place overnight. I simply use my oven; it has a pilot light so it stays warm all the time. I've also heard of people warming up the oven just a bit, then turning it off. With the door shut it should retain a good amount of heat over night. Another option is to turn on your oven light. That should warm up the oven just enough to make it a happy place for your yogurt to develop.

6.) Take out your yogurt in the morning and place it in the refrigerator. It is now ready to eat.

At some point I typically remove about 1/2 a cup of yogurt and place it in a separate container. When I am ready to make more yogurt I will take out this reserved container to start my new batch. This way I don't have to go out and buy any more yogurt. New batches made this way will thus only cost the price of the milk.

One cool thing about yogurt is that once the active cultures are established they are very good at out-competing other bacteria. This means that your yogurt will not spoil easily. Over time however the yogurt will get even more sour and tangy, so it might not be as tasty to eat. I typically won't keep mine for longer than a month.

I have found a few differences between homemade yogurt and store bought. My yogurt tends to be a bit thinner. It works great for smoothies and it doesn't bother me one bit. Typically an additive such as gelatin or pectin is added to the store bought yogurt to make it thicker, so don't feel bad if your yogurt doesn't turn out the same. My yogurt also tends to taste a little different than what I am used to getting at the store. It can be fairly sour and tangy, whereas I'm used to thinking of yogurt as being more sweet tasting. That's mostly because a lot of what you can buy in the store has so much added sugar and flavorings that you can hardly taste the actual yogurt in there. Just be open minded with homemade yogurt if you're not used to un-flavored and un-sweetened yogurts. Sometimes the natural tanginess of the yogurt can be a little much for me so I often add a little sugar and/or fruit. I also love mixing in some vanilla extract.

Running today: 1.5 miles.


  1. Hahaha Vickie-- you're awesome. Did you do a final edit of this post? I see some comments you left for yourself. Also.... yougurt? LOL! I think the title is the only time you spelled yogurt right. Someone typing too fast? lol! That was awesome.

  2. I've been meaning to try this. Maybe your post will be the last bit of motivation I need. I had some kefir grains, but that didn't turn out as nicely as I'd hoped.

  3. Ahhhhhhhhhhh!!! I'm so embarrassed! It wasn't supposed to go up until tonight after I had a chance to do lots of editing and put up pictures as well. That was my super quick rough draft, so please forget you saw that.

    Leah, I've heard of kefir grains but haven't tried them- I probably won't now since you didn't have much luck with them. But you should really try making yogurt and let me know how it goes.

  4. This is so cool, Vickie! I'll definitely be trying this soon.

  5. Ha, that is funny. The world of blogging can be confusing.

    I was just not good at straining everyday & wasn't uber impressed w/ the results. Will def. be trying the yogurt, though.

  6. I'm excited that you'll be trying this Britt!

    Kefir sounds like a lot of work if you have to strain it everyday.