making great yogurt at home

Day 6 of NaBloPoMo challenge for daily November blogging.

Have you ever noticed how many choices for yogurt you have in the dairy section of the grocery store? I haven’t bothered to count, but there are fruit additives up the gazoo. I personally think they taste too sweet, and I feel like I’m not getting very much real fruit for my money anyhow, and how much trouble could it be to add your own fruit to plain yogurt anyhow. Except it’s really hard to find a plain yogurt unless you buy huge containers. For just the two of us, we prefer to buy smaller containers.

So sometime this summer, when we were yet again looking in vain for plain yogurt, Hubby and I decided we would start making our own as our SIL Frank does. Frank has a special yogurt machine and the yogurt he produces tastes much better than those commercial ones anyway. If Frank does it, on his busy schedule, then two old retired geezers should be able to make our own, too.

We decided to experiment and make our own without a special machine though. For one thing I have too many rarely used appliances in my own “kitchen appliance graveyard” as Bill Cosby called it on his family TV show in the 1980’s. For his part, Hubby had grown up in India where the women think nothing of making yogurt every day. Where do you go to learn specialty cooking? The Internet of course! That great recipe outlet that streams out around the world in little tubes according to Republican Senator Ted Stevens.

After a couple of less than perfect attempts, we found a method of perfection and simplicity requiring only things found on any given day in most kitchens. You can make it easily in as small a batch as you want. Come along as I showcase Hubby making a new batch yesterday.

IMG_0009Here’s all the equipment you’ll need. That’s a simple plastic thermos on the left and an immersible candy thermometer, the thermos inner seal and lid, 2 cups of whole milk although you could make as large an amount as the size of your thermos would determine. We use whole milk, 1% or 2% is fine too for a lower fat yogurt. The smaller measure cup (which holds 4 tablespoons) contains the “culture” brought to room temperature from our previous batch, or could come from a commercial yogurt as long as it contains “active” cultures. The amount is not critical, about 3 teaspoons but if you added a little more or less it will be okay. This is all you’ll need to produce your own plain yogurt.

IMG_0011Except a spoon (we use this wooden one) which will come in handy to stir the milk once it’s in the pot on the stove set at medium heat. The milk should be stirred often to keep it from scorching while you bring it to a boil. When it does (approximately 10 minutes) immediately remove from heat.  Set aside and let it cool in the pot to about 105 to 110 degrees F.  If you don’t have a thermometer, a good rule of thumb is that you should be  able to touch the bottom of the  pot with your bare finger for 10 seconds or so.

After the milk is cooled to 105 to 110°F (this part is critical), add the yogurt culture you’ve set aside and mix well, pour it all into the thermos (that you’ve remembered to preheat with hot water) and close lid tightly.  Let it sit for 6 to 8 hours on the counter (or even overnight is okay) and voila, you have your home made yogurt.


“Pour” the yogurt into a container of your choice. If everything went right, the yogurt coming out of the thermos will be a little thicker and sort of “plop” out in clumps instead of flowing like a liquid. Now put it in the refrigerator where it will continue to set up.  Here is what our yogurt Hubby made last night looked like this morning. Doesn’t it look yummy?

Now! In case that crummy counter (see photo above) makes you wonder about my housekeeping skills, I should explain that those are crumbs from the Pumpkin Bread I made last night to have with our coffee this morning. I’ll publish that recipe next Friday on the 13th. Be sure to check it out.

Note: A special thank you to Hubby, not just for making all our yogurt and taking over several times a week in the kitchen leaving me free to blog and sew and play electronic forty-thieve card games, but for co-writing this post today.

6 thoughts on “making great yogurt at home

  1. This is VERY similar to how I make sour cream. I take single cream, bring the temperature up to “tepid” (without boiling first) and then add a tablespoon or two of buttermilk. Then I put it in a jar, cover the top with a piece of muslin and let it sit out overnight.

    I will definitely try this next (I better make some labels to make sure I can tell them apart, though!)

  2. (Sorry, I should say – single cream is just whipping cream, but half-and-half won’t do! Real cream is needed for this recipe.)

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