Making yogurt at home is EASY! There are many methods out there. I’ve tried most of them and settled on six steps to fantastic thick creamy yogurt.
The Cliff Notes: Heat milk to 180°F. Cool milk down to 110°F. Add culture and wait 2 hours. Jar milk. Incubate milk at 110°F for 6 to 24 hours. Cool completely in refrigerator and enjoy! This yogurt will last one month in the refrigerator! 🙂
The devil’s in the details, watch the below video and print off these directions. I’ve included all my tricks for delicious thick and creamy yogurt!
- WHOLE MILK (cow, goat or sheep) – 1 Gallon Milk can be store-bought, but NOT ultra pasteurized. Click here for more on milk quality.
- CULTURE – 1/16 teaspoons ABY-2C (mail order culture from Glengarry Cheesemaking) OR 4 tablespoons of whole plain yogurt (previous batch or brand such as Dannon, Stoneyfield, etc.)
- Stock pot, made from solid stainless steel. I use this 20 QT stock pot, since I make 3-4 gallons at a time
- Water-bath canner w/ rack. To make a double boiler system. Nothing fancy, just a 21.5 Quart canner
- Thermometer. This is your most important tool. You want an accurate one with a long stem, hook on the side and the degrees need to be 0 to 220°F.
- Glass Mason Jars – available here
- A skimmer or long spoon. Here’s the one I use, Stainless Steel Skimmer
- Mini measuring spoons.
- An oven or an Excalibur dehydrator
Step one: Clean and sterilize equipment. Gradually heat milk to 180°F in a water-bath double boiler. Put milk pot in a canner with the rack upside down. Make sure to use thermometer and stir every so often to distribute the heat evenly. Keep lid on as much as possible to avoid a skin forming on top of the milk. I love raw milk… but for yogurt you do need to scald the milk at 180°F if you want a thick creamy consistency.
“High-heat treatment (of yogurt) does two wonderful things: It clears it from all bacteria (normal pasteurization doesn’t), leaving a clan slate for the yogurt cultures to work on and provide their probiotic qualities, and it helps create a yogurt with a better texture and body by capturing the whey proteins in the coagulum.” ~ Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking by Ms. Caldwell
Step two: Cool milk down to 110°F in an icy bath. Stir occasionally to distribute the new temperature. Keep lid on as much as possible to avoid skin forming.
Step Three: Sprinkle dried culture OR mix in a previous batch of yogurt as your culture. Wait 3-5 minutes before stirring culture. Use 20 round top to bottom circle strokes.
My favorite starter is a dried powder from Glengarry Cheesemaking called ABY-2C. If you’re making one gallon you’ll need 1/16 tea. If you’re making 3-4 gallons, you’ll only need 1/4 teaspoon. The culture is very inexpensive comes in a tiny pouch to store in the freezer (see picture below) it makes 60 gallons.You can also use store bought whole plain yogurt, you’ll need 4 tablespoons of yogurt per gallon of milk.
“Yogurt can be re-cultured for several batches however, the acidity level will increase from one batch to the next. Yoghurt made from goat’s milk has the tendency to be less thick than cow’s milk yoghurt. You can either drain the yoghurt to make it thicker.”The Cheesemaker’s Manual by Ms. Morris
Step Four: Wait 1-2 hours. Cover and do nothing.
Step Five: Stir milk really well, use the 20 top bottom strokes then pour milk into glass jars.
Step Six: Incubate jars at 110°F for 6 to 24 hours in an Excalibur dehydrator or until the yogurt sets up like thick cream. Six hours for a mild yogurt and 12-24 hours for a stronger tart flavor. Refrigerate for several hours before consuming. The cold will help the yogurt finish setting up.
If you don’t have an Excalibur dehydrator, you can use an oven. Wrap jars in several towels, turn the oven on the lowest setting, STANDING THERE THE WHOLE TIME, wait until temperature gets to 120 and turn the oven OFF. You’ll need to do this a few times to keep the temperature between 100 – 110°F.
OPTIONAL: If you want a thicker yogurt, pour your finished yogurt into a clean kitchen towel and let it drip for 2 – 5 hours, until desire consistence is reached. Then you can call it “Greek Yogurt”.
Use the whey for culture veggies, smoothies, soaking liver, whatever… whey is powerful stuff, don’t throw it out 🙂
STEPS IN PICTURE: