Thursday, March 4, 2010

Homemade Yogurt (…sigh of ecstasy)


I haven’t made any yogurt for awhile, and now, sitting with this luscious bowl in front of me, savoring the thick, silken, creamy goodness on my tongue, I’m cursing my own name and saying, “What was I thinking!” It’s incomparable. It’s not that I’ve been buying store bought yogurt instead—which is too sweet, too runny, and too full of mysterious starches and gelatins for me—it’s that I’ve been missing out on this glorious staff of life that brims over with healthful bacteria and is as close to paradisiacal as earth foods come. And it’s SO damn easy to make. Here’s how you do it:

Simmer 8 cups (1/2 gallon) of (ideally whole, ideally organic) milk on your stove top with your cooking thermometer inserted. When it reaches 180 degrees, turn off the heat and let it cool until it reaches about 115 degrees. Remove about a half cup of milk and mix it with three tablespoons of plain yogurt (I bought stoneyfield farms greek yogurt—doesn’t matter, just make sure it has live cultures). Return this mixture to the pot, stir it all together, and pour it into your receptacle: I used an old milk jug that I’d washed well. Some people like to use jars or a thermos. Just make sure it’s clean. Put said receptacle inside a cooler and pack towels around it tightly. Here’s my set-up.


Now leave this undisturbed for 5-7 hours, or longer if you like your yogurt very tangy.It’s completely brilliant when you open up your receptacle and discover…yogurt!

Since I’m obsessed with really thick yogurt, I always strain mine. Line a strainer with cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel, and set it over a bowl in the fridge (my strainer doesn’t have much of a foot so I elevated it in the bowl with some mason jar rings—this is important because your yogurt will probably bleed about 1 1/2 cups liquid, and you want it to be able to drain properly, as opposed to sitting in a lake of whey). I put some wax paper over the top to keep out any floating bits of whatever.


About three hours later I was able to spoon this miraculous, creamy goodness into a container, later to be enjoyed with fruits, granola, in shakes, or just in giant, lovely globs on a spoon…


Update, March 15: I've now made three batches of this yogurt in the past two weeks, and have found that putting the warm milk either in mason jars or in old 32 oz yogurt containers works better than the milk jug, which, because it was big and had a lot of air in it, caused the yogurt to cool faster and therefore grow fewer cultures and end up less tangy. I've also been adding more like 4-5 Tbs of yogurt for the starter, to increase the tang factor. Additionally: I've used 1 1/2% percent organic milk for the last two batches, and it's ALMOST as satisfying as whole milk. I know lots of people out there will only want to indulge in whole milk yogurt every once in awhile, so I wanted to make sure that a lower fat yogurt would pass the test. And it did! I always strain it, as I've said, and it makes 32 oz. of creamy lusciousness--it's just not QUITE as creamy.


  1. Oh my gosh. I want it. I need to buy a cooking thermometer right now so I can make it.

  2. Looks delicious! How tangy was it? Mine is always tangy, even when I don't let it sit too long. Michael does not like tangy and I don't like to add too much sugar...

  3. This looks a-mazing! I'm going to try it asap! :) Thanks for sharing!