Being a homesteader, I am always looking for ways to shrink my grocery budget. Do you also prefer to make as many items from scratch as you can?
Making many of your own foods is not only cost effective but straightforward too.
For instance, if you’re someone who enjoys consuming yogurt on a regular basis, making it is a simple process which could save you money and make you aware of every ingredient going into your yogurt.
Interested in learning more on how to make yogurt? Great! I’ll walk you through each step of the process and give you a few variations as well.
Here’s what you need to know to make homemade yogurt:
- Half gallon of milk
- Half cup of yogurt
- Dish with a lid
Before We Get Started:
There’re no specifications as to what type of milk you can or cannot use to make yogurt. The general rule is the creamier texture you desire, the fattier the milk you should use.
Many people use whole milk or 2% milk, but you can also use skim milk. I like to find milk when it’s been discounted because it’s getting ready to go off. This is a great way to make yogurt much cheaper than buying it.
Also, you can use goat’s milk to make your homemade yogurt as well.
Plus, you can use any storebought yogurt you wish to make homemade yogurt. Greek yogurt or regular yogurt will work.
The only stipulation is you must use plain, unflavored yogurt. You can add flavor to your homemade yogurt when finished.
However, one vital ingredient should be found in the store bought yogurt: Live Active Cultures. These cultures are what will turn the milk into yogurt, and they’re healthy too.
It doesn’t matter if the ingredient contains only one live active culture or many. Keep in mind, the more active cultures, the healthier your yogurt will be.
Finally, you may use any heavy pot with a lid. The pot should be safe to use on a stove. You can also use a regular pot for stove use and transfer the ingredients into your Instapot, dehydrator, or yogurt maker to finish out the process.
However, if you’re going to make yogurt using your stove and oven, the pot should be safe for use on the stove.
With all of these pointers in mind, you’re ready to make homemade yogurt.
1. Throw the Heat to the Milk
Some say it’s best to use an instant read thermometer when making yogurt. If you feel comfortable with this method, I’m going to include temperatures to aim for.
However, when I make my homemade yogurt, I don’t bother with a thermometer because it’s easy to tell when the right things are happening in the process.
To begin, pour the half gallon of milk into a sturdy pot with a lid. Put the pot on the stove and turn the heat to medium. Be sure to stir the milk while heating to keep the bottom from scorching.
You’re trying to reach approximately 200°F when heating the milk. The idea is to get the milk right to the verge of boiling, without ever reaching the boiling point.
Once the milk has been stirred and heated (without boiling), turn off the stove.
2. Let it Chill Out
After the milk has been heated thoroughly, allow the milk time to cool. You can do this slowly by merely waiting for the milk to only be warm to the touch.
However, if you’re in a hurry to get the yogurt making process moving, place the pot in a larger pot filled with ice and cold water. This is known as a water bath.
During this process, stir the milk to help it cool down throughout. Once the milk is only warm to the touch, remove the pot from the water bath.
Remember to stir throughout the cooling process (regardless of which cooling method you use) because this will stop the milk skin from forming on the top. If it forms, be sure to use a fork to slide it off the top first before continuing.
3. Bring it All Together
Remove one cup of milk from the cooled milk. Place it in a bowl and add the half cup of store-bought yogurt to it.
Use a whisk to combine the two ingredients. It will give you thinner or borderline runny yogurt. When the ingredients are thoroughly combined and smooth, you’re ready to add to the party.
Take the thinner yogurt and whisk it into the rest of the cooled milk. Be sure everything has been combined thoroughly before moving forward.
By adding the store bought yogurt, you’re adding those live active cultures to the milk. This is what will turn the milk into yogurt.
Making sure those live active cultures are thoroughly mixed and introduced to the milk will impact how your yogurt turns out. When you feel confident you’ve integrated all ingredients together, you’re ready to move forward.
4. Time to Let the Yogurt Rest
Your milk should still be warm at this point, and you’d like to keep it this way. The idea is to keep the yogurt at around 110°F while making it.
You can do this using a few different methods. The first option is to place the lid on the heavy pot you’ve been using. Wrap the pot in multiple towels and put it in your oven which hasn’t been turned on. Also, turn on your oven light to provide added heat.
The second option is to place the yogurt inside your dehydrator. You can set the temperature to 110°F and make sure the temperature stays consistent.
The third option is to pour the ingredients into your yogurt maker. This will allow you to control the temperatures during this step.
Finally, you can pour the ingredients into your Instant Pot. It will also give you the luxury of controlling the temperature during this step in the process.
My preference is to wrap my dish and place it in my oven. I’m a minimalist, meaning I don’t have a ton of gadgets in my kitchen.
But in the event your temperature doesn’t stay exactly where you’d like it, it’s okay. It will only mean the yogurt will require a little longer to set-up.
5. Wait Patiently
The idea is the longer the yogurt sets, the thicker it becomes. However, you need to be aware, the longer it sets, the stronger flavor it develops also.
As a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to begin making yogurt at approximately four hours. As you continue to make yogurt, you can push the time back until you find which consistency and flavor you enjoy the most.
6. Time to Cool Off
Allow the yogurt to cool after it has set and reached the desired consistency. During this time, you may notice whey floating at the top of your yogurt.
You can either drain the whey off and repurpose it, or you can whisk it into the yogurt for a creamier texture.
Once the yogurt has cooled fully, divide it out into separate containers with a lid and place it in the refrigerator. The yogurt should last for approximately two weeks.
7. Save a Little for Next Time
If you plan on making more yogurt in the future, while putting the yogurt into storage cups, pull a half cup out of the batch to use for your next batch of yogurt.
As you make more yogurt and preserve a half cup for each batch, it may happen where the yogurt doesn’t set-up like you’d hoped it would, or it may have a different flavor to it.
When this happens, it means the live cultures have weakened. Be sure to go back to using store-bought yogurt to include live cultures in your next batch of homemade yogurt. It resets the process.
8. Operation: Greek Yogurt
Making homemade yogurt is easy, but what if you like Greek style yogurt? You can make it just as easy as well.
When your yogurt has finished cooling, you will see the whey floating on top. We want to strain as much of this liquid off, to have lovely thick Greek Yogurt.
To strain, you can run the yogurt through a colander to remove the whey, or even use a cheesecloth until it has reached the thicker consistency you desire.
Once the yogurt is thick, you’ve officially made Greek-style yogurt for little money and little effort.
Well, you now know what it takes to make homemade yogurt, how to make it, and also how to turn yogurt into Greek-style yogurt.
Hopefully, you’ll enjoy knowing how to make yogurt, find it easy to do, and also save money while doing it.