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We love yogurt in our house.  The toddler eats it plain, I eat it with fruit, and the dog eats whatever gets splattered on the floor.

I’ve been planning on making homemade yogurt after reading this book… approximately 2 years ago:

make bread book_Fotor


The book is a fun read, but I disagree with some things.  Obviously, you should make the butter. :)

Making yogurt was simple.  The process takes some time, so I recommend doing it on a day you’ll be puttering around the house.  Start to finish my Greek-style yogurt took 5 hours.  Active time appoximately 45 minutes, not including washing dishes. *bleh*


  1. Pot for heating the milk.
  2. Optional larger pot or double boiler.
  3. Candy thermometer
  4. Ball mason jars (I think of Laura every time I use one.  What’up, Muncie!)
  5. Ladle.
  6. Optional funnel (for the neatnicks out there.)
  7. Optional cheesecloth (to drain whey if making thick, greek-style yogurt.)


  1. Whole milk
  2. Yogurt.

Do you have all your goodies?  Ready, set, go!

yogurt recipe 2

Simple, very good, and might even be perfect except for the lack of a magical kitchen fairy to clean up my mess.

Still not convinced you should try?  Let’s do the numbers.

  • Store-bought Greek yogurt = $4.49 / 24 oz.  

                       $ 0.19 / oz

  • Homemade Greek yogurt    = $2.48 / 36 oz.

                       $ 0.07 / oz

(calculated homemade price of 1/2 gallon of whole milk + 1/2 cup of plain yogurt)

For those of you concerned about additives,”chemicals” etc., the homemade version has none of that.  Just milk and microbes.

Ok, recipe details.

  1. Heat milk in a double boiler to 190 F.  (No double boiler?  Stir frequently during heating to avoid burning any milk.)  Heating changes some of the milk protein structures to give your yogurt a creamier texture.  I’ve seen recipes recommend heating to 180F up to 195 F.  A couple recommend keeping the temp at the elevated point for 10-30 minutes.  I only briefly held the high temp and all is well.
  2. If you are pressed for time, you can cool the milk to 115 F by making an ice water bath. Otherwise, countertop cooling is much simpler.  It took about 1 hour.
  3. Mix in 1/2 cup yogurt.  You are innoculating the milk with microbes to create a culture.  Most commercial yogurts have the same microbes.  S. thermophilus is one of the common strains.  “Heat loving” means it appreciates staying warm.  Don’t cook it though.  Cooking kills them.
  4. Ladle the mixture into your Ball jars.  Do not seal them yet, the microbes need air.  Keep the jars warm at ~ 115 F for 3-4 hours.  Placing them in the oven with the light on (not the heat, just the light) will keep them above room temperature.  Your microbes will eat the lactose, creating lactic acid.  The acidity prevents other, spoiling bacteria from growing in your yogurt.
  5. You have made yogurt, thick and creamy, after several hours.  If you want a more sour yogurt, allow it to ferment longer.
  6. To make Greek-style yogurt, drain off some of the whey.  Pour the yogurt into a strainer lined with 2 layers of cheesecloth.  Allow to drain until you have the thickness you desire. (I tied the cheesecloth in a knot around the yogurt, placed it in the lettuce spinner, and took it for a ride.  Very entertaining.)


Emily sig



4 Comments on Eating Microbes – Homemade Yogurt

  1. Ok one question – how many times did it take you to get this right? It seems daunting to me. Also, how long will it keep (refrigerated) after you make it? :)

    • It worked on the first try! If you follow the instructions, you should have no problem (I’ve heard that even experienced yogurt makers have the rare failed batch…) The initial heating step is just to make the end product creamier. The microbes need milk and warmth to reproduce and create yogurt. So long as you give them what they need, you should be good! Just make sure the yogurt you use to inoculate has “active culture” which most do (if they killed the microbes, you can’t make yogurt.)

      It should keep in the fridge for a long time. Yogurt was developed as a way to preserve milk in a warm environment, so in the cold environment of the fridge it’ll last a good while. :) The acids produced by the “good” microbes makes it hard for “bad” microbes to grow.

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