I’ve been making my own yogurt for several years now and I’m here to tell you: it’s easy. Homemade yogurt is tasty, MUCH cheaper than store bought, and it doesn’t come with any packaging. I make vanilla yogurt and top it with homemade jam or jelly for a variety of flavors.
Easy Homemade Yogurt
- Half-gallon milk. (I’ve used whole raw milk and low-fat local milk with success. Use milk that has not been ultra-pasteurized, if possible.)
- 6-oz container of yogurt with active, live cultures*
- Honey (about 1/4 cup)
- Vanilla (a splash)
Pour the entire carton of milk into a large pot. Heat to 180 degrees (F) over medium-high heat stirring occasionally. (This is the thermometer I use.) Once you’ve achieved that temperature, remove the milk from the heat and allow to cool for about half an hour, depending on your household temperature. (I set my kitchen timer in ten minute increments otherwise I will forget about it)
While your milk is cooling:
- Fill a container with hot water and place it inside a small ice chest. Close the ice chest, allowing the hot water to warm the inside so it’s all ready to incubate your milk.
- Prepare your jars. You’ll need two quart or four pint jars.
- Keep an eye on your thermometer.
At 125 degrees: add about a quarter cup of honey (don’t measure – just eyeball it and save yourself a sticky container to clean) and a splash of vanilla. Adding these ingredients now will help the honey to dissolve and will cool the mixture a bit more. If you like a sweeter yogurt, add a bit more honey.
At 110 degrees: Stir in the container of store bought yogurt. Use a whisk and make sure it’s really mixed in well. Do not get excited and add the yogurt before the milk cools to this stage or you will kill the live cultures.
Once the starter yogurt is well incorporated, pour the mixture into jars, seal, and place immediately into the pre-warmed cooler alongside the hot water bottle. Close the cooler securely and leave it for eight hours or overnight. When you open up the cooler, you’ll have lovely thick yogurt to enjoy. Store in the refrigerator.
*Note: Once you have created your first batch of yogurt, you can use it instead of the store bought yogurt to make your next batch.