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Yogurt: How to make it at home

Apr 30th, 2015 | Category: Cooking

by Kate Ferry

Yogurt is a popular part of most diets and a good source for numerous health benefits. Making yogurt a part of your regular diet is a great way to get the abundance of probiotics, “friendly bacteria”, that help keep digestive tracts healthy. This tasty treat is loaded with calcium and, if made from animal milk, is full of animal protein with about 9 grams per 6-ounce serving. The same live cultures that make yogurt what it is also help discourage candida overgrowth and work to keep your body’s pH level in the normal range.

Grocery store shelves are full of different yogurt options varying with the type of milk used, the fat-content, sweetness level and flavor additions like whole fruit. A bowl of yogurt can be livened up with crunchy granola or used in a variety of recipes as called for or to replace higher-fat options like sour cream or mayonnaise.

Finished yogurt, topped with granola and fruit. PHOTO BY KATE FERRY

Finished yogurt, topped with granola and fruit. PHOTO BY KATE FERRY

The prospect of “Homemade Yogurt” is not something that should induce apprehension or avoidance. It’s easy. Really. By choosing to make your own yogurt, you are choosing to control every aspect of the process and the end result.

The sweetness level can be incorporated into the culturing process or added when it is ready to enjoy. My two young daughters prefer a sweeter yogurt that has visual evidence of sweetening – honey drizzled on top in the bowl.

The quality and fat-content of the milk is at your discretion. I personally opted for my favorite local brand, Twin Brook Creamery’s full-fat non-homogenized cream on top cow milk and grass-fed organic full-fat yogurt as my starter. Both are readily available at the Community Food Co-op. I have found that raw milk is a bit unpredictable and ultra pasteurized milk doesn’t thicken up or perform as well as pasteurized.

There is also the price consideration for homemade yogurt. A gallon of cow milk cost me $5.78 and yielded 128 ounces of yogurt. The same quantity of yogurt, local and organic, would be $19.96 if purchased as individual 32-ounce containers. I purchased a single starter of yogurt for $2.49, but will be able to use my own yogurt, thus saving this expense, for future batches.

Yogurt making requires a crockpot, food thermometer, sterilized jars and lids, milk, and yogurt with live cultures. PHOTO BY KATE FERRY

Yogurt making requires a crockpot, food thermometer, sterilized jars and lids, milk, and yogurt with live cultures. PHOTO BY KATE FERRY

Here is my recipe for homemade yogurt. It’s adapted from numerous sources and adjusted to our tastes.

Homemade yogurt


Yields: 128 ounces

Active Time: 30 minutes

Inactive Time: 18-24 hours


1 gallon milkIMG_4404

1 6-ounce yogurt (must have *live cultures* clearly labeled on the store bought container or you may use your own homemade yogurt if you have some leftover)


Place yogurt starter on the counter to bring to close to room temperature.

Heat milk in stockpot over medium heat until it reaches 180-degrees.

Remove stockpot from heat and place in a large ice bath. Pay close attention that none of the water from the ice bath gets into the heated milk.

Cool to between 95 degrees and 115 degrees.

Temper the starter by stirring a small amount of the heated milk into a bowl with the yogurt.IMG_4417

Stir the tempered yogurt into the cooled milk.

Pour the entire mixture into the crockpot insert (not the base that plugs in). Place a lid on the crockpot.

Wrap the crockpot in towels and place in the oven.

Turn the oven light on and close the door. Set a timer for 8-12 hours for the yogurt to culture. Do not disturb during culturing. The longer it cultures, the tangier the flavor.

Remove from oven. Pour into prepared jars or leave in the crockpot.  Refrigerate for 6-8 hours.  Enjoy!



The yogurt can be strained through a cheesecloth after refrigeration if a thicker consistency is desired.

Expires in approximately 10-14 days.

During the cooling process, a slight skin will form on the milk mixture if a lid is off.  Stir occasionally to discourage skin from forming.


Supplies needed

Large stockpot (6-10 quart is ideal)

Crockpot insert with lid (5 quart minimum)

Food thermometer

Sterilized jars & lids

Sterilization can be done one of two ways; placing jars and lids in 350-degree oven for 15 minutes or placing in boiling water for 20 minutes

Large heavy towels


*For more photos of the yogurt making process, see the online article at

Published in the May 2015 issue of Grow Northwest

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