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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Homemade Yogurt- Easy Shmeasy

I admit, I was a little bit..... okay, a lot bit naive when it came to yogurt making.  I had these dreamy ideas of making my own yogurt that was just as creamy and delicious as the Dannon vanilla yogurt I buy at the store. Talk about major disappointment after taking my first bite of my homemade yogurt!!! Because it isn't full of sugars- natural and artificial, preservatives, gelatin, or artificial colors.... it tastes nothing like Dannon. BUT, don't let that deter you from making it because let me tell you a few of the health benefits of yogurt.  Then, I will tell you a few ways you can enjoy it.

  • Yogurt is full of helpful bacteria (probiotics) that help kill harmful viruses
  • The longer the yogurt sits on a store shelf, the less probiotics it has
  • It is a good source of protein, B complex, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and folic acid
  • Yogurt can help with all sorts of stomach issues-bloating, diarrhea, and constipation
  • You get to control what is in it, no need to worry about additives,  preservatives, or....corn syrup!
With the health benefits, I have peaked your interested and you are saying, "okay Marisa, I'm convinced, now how do I make myself some yogurt?" Funny that you would ask because I'm going to tell you.

Don't make the mistake I did when I first ordered my yogurt starter. I tend to get excited and just jump right into things without reading instructions thoroughly. So my first yogurt starter required a yogurt maker, which I don't have. It required the temperature to stay consistent for hours and hours. I tried using my crockpot, but failed big time. So, Read the requirements before ordering!

I ordered my yogurt starter from Cultures for Health.  On the second try I bought the Viili starter because there is no need for the yogurt maker, and it is the closest thing to my dearly beloved Dannon yogurt.

It is really quite simple to make.

First Batch:

The first time you make it, you will mix your dry yogurt starter with 1/2 cup of milk. Cover it with a coffee filter or napkin. Set it on your counter for about 24-48 hours until it is thick (it won't run up the sides of the jar when tipped). Place it in your fridge for 6-8 more hours to finish culturing.

Subsequent Batches:

After the first batch, you will then take 1 TBS  of your already made yogurt, add it to one cup of milk and stir. You can make larger batches as long as you keep the same ratio, I like to make a quart of yogurt at a time, so I use 4 cups of milk and 4 TBS of yogurt.  Then you will let it sit, covered, on your counter for about 12 hours (until it doesn't run up the sides of the jar). 

You just need to make sure that you start making your next batch of yogurt before everyone eats the last batch!!!

And for those of you that are bad at reading directions (like me). Here is a picture tutorial:

Like I said, it isn't going to come out tasting like your store bought yogurt, but that is good because that yogurt isn't good for you, and this yogurt actually is!!!

So here are a few ideas of how to use it.

  • We LOVE to add it to our fruit smoothies
  • Add a touch of honey or stevia to sweeten it up a bit
  • Sweeten with honey or stevia and add fruit or granola (or both)
  • Use in place of sour cream
Now it is your turn, tell us how you use your yogurt!!!



Hostetters said...

YEA!! Thank you! I'm excited to try it!!

Rachel said...

I started mine from commercial greek yogurt that didn't contain any additives. I also use my oven to incubate the yogurt in 8-oz jars because it has a pilot light and stays a consistent temp. I have also used an ice chest with enough warm water to reach the bottom of the lids on the jars. If you have a good ice chest, it will stay warm long enough to work. The reason you want to keep it between 90-130 deg is so bad bacteria doesn't overtake the culture. Once the culture is established, the milk will be too acidic for bad bacteria, but until it takes over you want it warm enough that the bad stuff can't get established.

You will also find that if you heat the milk to 85-90 deg C first, you will end up with a thicker more "carveable" yogurt. The heat changes the proteins making them more available to the culture.

marisa said...

Great tips, thanks Rachel!

JesR said...

Okay, so yeah plain yogurt is kinda gross and sour.....buuuuuut, if you add some jam (as in basically pureed fruit) you get "flavored yogurt"!! I used to do this with mine because my hubby would always buy plain.

marisa said...

Great idea to add jam, I can't wait to try it.

Dree said...

I started mine from live culture, additive-free, plain yogurt. I do mine by heating the milk, stirring in 1/4 cup yogurt per quart of milk, putting it into mason jars, and then putting them into a cooler that has been pre-heated with near-boiling water sitting in it (actually, in those same mason jars!). Then I put the jars of yogurt in, cover with a towel, and let sit all day. I do a gallon at a time.

We eat it plain around here--YUM!

Bethany said...

I made yogurt not long ago, and it was awesome! This is a super easy recipe. It uses a slow cooker, which most people have anyway, so it uses less energy than an oven and you don't have to buy a yogurt maker. Plus I ended up with awesome tasting yogurt (just don't use ultra-pasteurized milk)


Hollow Bone Dream said...


That's exactly how I make mine!

YUM Good!!

Its even better made w/ Raw Milk

Denise in TN

Jennifer said...

Did I read this right -- no heating involved? Wow. Sign me up.

I second the comment about adding jam -- isn't that just what store-bought fruit in the bottom yogurt is anyway?

m. said...

i love you! i was just thinking how badly i wanted you to post on this after seeing you the other night. i often save my yogurt containers planning to make my own the next time, but i always chicken out. i am doing it this time. thanks so much!

-Sydney- said...

I heat the milk and start mine with commercial yogurt too :) And I do find that mine has a similar consistency to store-bought. Dannon plain yogurt actually has live cultures and no additives.

Hollow Bone Dream said...

Jennifer.. yeppers.. well the when you heat up the cooler w/ the hot the cooler stays warm for a long time.
Plus now I warm up my jars before I put the yogurt mixture in.. and also put a canning jar full of warm water in w/ the cooler before I put the other jars full of warm yogurt mixture ..
Using a towel in the cooler also helps keep in the heat..

I read some where Dannon's Plain yogurt was THE best for yogurt starters because out of the other commercial yogurts out there in the super markets it had the most live cultures.. even more than the fancy yogurts..

And on another note I've found a recipe for making your own Sour Cream.. and it's easy peasy!!!
You just need Cream,buttermilk and a glass jar .. that's it!

Vanina said...

Do you know about kefir? It's like a less viscous, drinkable yogurt. Same tang and when mixed with fruit, it's super deeelish!

It doesn't need heat to ferment, though. So once you've got the live culture, all you need is the sterile jar and your countertop.

Vanina said...

Obvs, I don't read very closely. Sorry.

But I'm shocked by the fact that your yogurt culture doesn't need heat. I was pretty convinced (and happy about it) that kefir was better b'c of this unique trait. Now that I read that your viili stuff - like kefir - also feeds off of lactose, I'm wondering...
Are viili and kefir the same thing, just from different parts of the world (hence the diff names)? Any idea?

marisa said...


I'm not sure if Viili and kefir are the same thing. I have been wanting to try it though. Maybe that will be my next venture.

Hollow Bone Dream said...

I think the heated up cooler and the warm jars is what keeps things going.

I've tried viili and we didn't like it at all.. not sure what I was doing wrong :(

Also I know when I use raw milk my yogurt is better than if I use other milk I buy at the Farmer's Mkt,
We've just about stopped buying "store" bought milk..
My Daughter is still hooked on the 2% milk from Krogers lol

Robin Marie said...

My mother's technical rule is to heat the milk until you can "hold your pinky in it for 10 seconds" no longer, no shorter. Yep. It works every time!

She likes to incubate the jars in a Playmate cooler wrapped in an old down vest.

Also, I like to add maple syrup and a splash of vanilla extract. Mmm. (obviously all my experience with yogurt is from the eating side :) She does the cooking)

Tamara said...

I recently posted about this as well... http://lostsurprise.blogspot.com/2010/09/tutorial-yogurt.html

Quick summary:

I use a dehydrator to culture the yogurt. Stoneyfield yogurt is great for culturing (it has 5 strains..more then any other storebought yogurt I've seen). Less time culturing = sweeter yogurt, but less solid yogurt too. So far 4 hours seems to be the sweet spot for me.

There's a great thread on Chowhound about this too: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/567084
They have other great threads on this as well but that got me started.

oak dining room table said...

I just made some and I hope it will turn out successfully. I am really prone to kitchen disasters.

Ken D Berry MD said...

Homemade is the way to go!
Great job; keep sharing the wealth of info.