Thursday, October 6, 2011


We love yogurt around here and for years we have been buying the large tubs of plain whole milk organic yogurt. I like plain  because there is nothing unneeded like colors, dyes, sugar, or flavorings in it, plus it is a lot less expensive. We love to make our own flavors with things like honey, vanilla, maple syrup, fruit preserves or homemade syrups. The kids love it with just a bit of honey but if you name the flavor we will come up with a way to make it. 

Recently though I started reading about making my own yogurt. This week I finally tried it and I was shocked at how easy it was and how much money I will save. I can make organic yogurt for 1/4 the cost of buying it!
Here is one of the best sites I found for detailed information on yogurt making.

Note: After 4 years of yogurt making I have added some extra notes and changes to this post from 2011. 
1/2 gallon whole milk*
2 tbs yogurt*

Crockpot Method:
Place the milk in a crock pot on low for 2 hours. You want the milk to reach 180-190º if you have a thermometer check the temperature. Unplug the crock pot and let cool slowly till 110º about 3 hrs. Again checking the temp is a good idea too hot and the cultures will die, too cold and they will not grow. 
Remove 1/2 cup of the milk and mix well with the yogurt. Then stir the milk yogurt mixture into the crockpot of milk, whisking helps to mix it in thoroughly. Wrap the crock pot insert in a thick towel and place in the oven with just the light on. The slight warmth from the light is suppose to help to keep the yogurt warm. Let the pot sit in the oven for about 8 hours (overnight is best).

Stove/Dehydrator Method:
Heat the yogurt on the stove using a thermometer to measure heat. Remove the milk from the stove when it reaches 180º. Let the milk cool until it reaches 110º. Be sure to use a thermometer to check the temp if it is too hot the cultures will die. Whisk the yogurt into the milk. Be sure to mix it well. 

Poor the milk into glass containers, quart size canning jars work well for this. Place lids on the jars and put them in a dehydrator set at 100-110º. Let it sit in the dehydrator for 12-24 hrs. 

When Finished the yogurt should be warm and thick. Eat it warm or pour into containers and refrigerate. It will keep for about 1-2 weeks in the fridge. I found it to be exactly the same as the store bought yogurt but some have said it seems slightly thinner. Be sure to save 2 tbs for your next batch. 
Over the years I have used many different yogurt starters and a few different types of milk. Both can make a difference in your final product. Using a really good pasture raised milk produces a better yogurt. You may need to experiment to find what you like best. 

I also froze some to see how it would defrost I will update with results when I defrost it. 
Update- It did not defrost well. The yogurt seemed to separate and was no longer creamy. I strained it through a cheese cloth though and made yogurt cheese which was very tangy and yummy!

* Be sure to use only milk that is not ultra-pasteurized and yogurt that contains live and active cultures.  If you are using Raw milk (the best) there is no need to preheat it. I find you get a thicker yogurt though if you heat raw milk to 110º before adding the yogurt culture. 

For a thicker yogurt
You can place the yogurt in a colander lined with cheese cloth to drain out some of the liquid for a thicker yogurt. Or drain out almost all of the liquid for a creamy yogurt cheese. 
Alternativly you can add extra cream to your milk when you are heating it for a thicker yogurt without straining.

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