Learn how to make homemade yogurt! This homemade natural yogurt recipe is creamy and tastes so good. You will never buy yogurt from the grocery store again, as this homemade yogurt is incredibly easy to make. My recipe will guide you through from start to end, whether you want to make plain or Greek-style yogurt.
The method I’ve adopted is very basic, no special yogurt cultures or fancy incubating equipment is required, and the result will blow your mind: incredibly thick, creamy, and delicious homemade yogurt!
Table of Contents
WHY MAKE NATURAL YOGURT AT HOME
Commercially-made quality yogurt can be expensive. Making homemade yogurt is cheaper option with the best quality, as you choose the ingredients and customize the flavors and sweetness. In addition, you can also adjust the acidity, thickness, fat content, and texture.
DO I NEED A YOGURT MAKER TO MAKE HOMEMADE YOGURT
The yogurt maker is easy and foolproof, but there are many ways to make homemade yogurt without a yogurt maker and keep your natural yogurt warm during the process.
Some people like to wrap the pot in a warm, damp towel and place it in the oven with the light on. The light will provide enough heat to ferment the homemade yogurt. However, I prefer to incubate the yogurt in a cooler.
Keep the yogurt between 40°C and 48°C while incubating. The easiest way is to place the glass jars in a small cooler and fill it with warm water. You may need to refill/reheat the water once or twice during the process, but most of the time it works just fine. Just keep the cooler in a location out of the wind’s path, and don’t move it.
HOMEMADE YOGURT RECIPE INGREDIENTS
To make homemade yogurt, you only need 2 ingredients:
- Yogurt: Use a good quality, fresh yogurt that contain “live” or “active” cultures. Look for natural yogurt without any additives or flavor. However, after you make this recipe, use a portion of the homemade yogurt to prepare a new batch. And buy a fresh yogurt from the market every 3-4 batches.
- Milk: Whole milk makes the thickest and creamiest homemade yogurt, but you can also use 2% or skim milk, but the best texture won’t be as creamy and thick.
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE YOGHURT – NATURAL AND GREEK STYLE
Step 1: Heat the Milk
Heat the milk to 82°C /180°F and hold it at that temperature for 15 minutes. Heating milk kills unwanted bacteria, pathogens, mold, or spores and creates a thick and creamy yogurt by changing the protein structure.
Step 2: Cool the Milk
After you’ve heated the milk, allow it to cool until lukewarm (about 45°C /115°F). This process can be sped up by using an ice water bath. Cooling milk will ensure not to kill the live culture in the yogurt that will be added to the milk.
Step 3: Add the Yogurt
When the milk has cooled, remove the skin that forms on top. Then pour out ½ cup of warm milk, and stir in ¼ cup of yogurt (yogurt should be at room temperature), pour the mixture back into the milk, and mix well. This spreads the good bacteria throughout the milk.
Step 4: Incubate
Fill the four jars with milk, leaving a small space at the top – (about 5cm/2in), and close with a lid. However, if you don’t have canning jars, you can use other repurposed glass jars. (It has to be glass – no plastic allowed!).
There are three methods to incubate homemade yogurt:
- Kitchen Oven – wrap the jars in a warm damp towel to keep them warm and place them in the oven with a light on.
- Cooler – place the jars in a cooler filled with warm water (45°C /115°F)
- Yogurt Maker
Let the bacteria make your homemade yogurt by incubating it for 6-12 hours.
You can let the homemade yogurt incubate longer if you like, but the longer it sits, the stronger and sourer it will become, and of course, more healthy bacteria will multiply. When the incubation process is complete, remove the jars and place them in the refrigerator. Let the homemade yogurt cool completely before eating (it will thicken a little more when it cools).
If you want to turn this plain yogurt into Greek-style yogurt, let’s go one step further and strain it.
Step 5: Strain
Place a strainer lined with cheesecloth (or kitchen towels) over a large bowl. Then pour homemade yogurt and put it back in the fridge. Check every few hours until the yogurt reaches the desired thickness.
The liquid that drains from homemade yogurt is whey! This is a great protein, and you can use it in smoothies or soups.
When the yogurt reaches the desired thickness consistency, transfer your fresh Greek-style yogurt to an airtight container!
Step 6: Add Flavors (optional)
Now is the appropriate time to add fruits, flavorings, or sweeteners to your homemade yogurt.
HOW TO FLAVOR HOMEMADE YOGURT
- Honey Yogurt – Add 1 tablespoon of honey to each cup of yogurt, and mix it.
- Vanilla Honey Yogurt – Add 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract to each cup of yogurt.
- Mango Yogurt – Add 2 tablespoons of mango puree to each cup of yogurt and add 1 teaspoon of honey, if desired.
- Banana Yogurt – Add ½ mashed banana pulp to each cup of yogurt and add 1 teaspoon of honey, if desired.
DELICIOUS WAYS TO ENJOY HOMEMADE YOGURT
The ideas are almost endless. Here are some:
- Add fresh fruit to enjoy with your homemade yogurt, with a dash of cinnamon, and pour in some honey for a healthy breakfast or snack.
- Make parfaits with fresh fruit, chia pudding and granola.
- Add oats to make overnight oats.
- Mix with fresh or frozen fruit or nuts to make smoothies.
- Use homemade yogurt to make tzatziki sauce.
- As a base for a tasty sauce like yogurt tahini sauce to pour over fries or roasted potatoes, raw vegetables, or zucchini fritters.
- Use it in creamy sauces like in healthy yogurt salad dressing.
- Use it to tenderize the meat in chicken gyros.
- Substitute sour cream for yogurt in baked goods such as cupcakes, pancakes, red velvet and chocolate cake, or use it to make naan bread.
- To prepare Indian dishes like Butter Chicken or Chicken Tikka Masala.
- Use it in place of heavy cream to accompany Mexican dishes like tacos, chili, and burritos.
- Use it in place of mayonnaise in salads, or use it in cucumber salad.
- Large Saucepan
- Glass jars with lids
- Cooler or yogurt maker
- 2l/2qt of milk
- ¼ cup natural store-bought yogurt, just make sure that on the pot of yogurt says: ACTIVE OR LIVING CULTURES.
- Place the milk in a large saucepan and heat to 82°C /180°F, stirring constantly to prevent skin from forming. Keep the milk at that temperatura for 15 min.
- Transfer the saucepan of milk to an ice bath (fill the sink with ice and water), to cool the milk to 45°C /115°F.
- Pour out ½ cup of milk into a clean bowl. Stir in ¼ cup of plain yogurt, and mix it well until the yogurt is well incorporated. Add the milk and yogurt mixture to the remaining milk and mix well.
- Pour the milk into glass jars and close with a lid, wrap in a warm damp towel to keep warm, and place in the oven with the light on OR place in a cooler with water heated to 40-48°C/104-118℉ OR use a yogurt maker. Let the bacteria make your yogurt by incubating it for 6 to 12 hours.When the incubation process is complete, remove the jars and place them in the refrigerator. Let the yogurt cool completely before eating.
- If you desire, you can go one step father and strain it to make Greek-style yogurt. To strain, line a mesh strainer with cheesecloth (or a kitchen towel, coffee filters, etc.) and pour in the yogurt. Place over a large bowl and let strain in the refrigerator for a few hours (or overnight) until desired consistency is reached.