Saturday, January 2, 2010

Homemade Yogurt is Easy

I started my first batch of homemade yogurt last night before I went to bed. I followed Sally Fallon's super easy directions in Nourishing Traditions.Instead of obsessing about keeping the temperate at an even 110 degrees Fahrenheit, you just leave it comfortably warm and forget about it. It worked. I left it overnight in the oven (I had initially preheated it to warm, then turned the oven off before adding the yogurt mixture). By morning it was fairly well set but still a little too watery so I turned the oven back on for about five minutes (I didn't even bother to take the yogurt out), then off again, and in a few more hours the yogurt was ready.

Lately I've been eating tons of yogurt, in the form of yogurt cheese drizzled with a little honey and topped with some crumbled walnuts. It's my latest favorite snack, but I've been going through a lot of yogurt. This is great now to know how easily I can make my own. And all the whey left over from turning the yogurt into yogurt cheese can be used for more experiments with lacto-fermentation. Another win-win situation.

To make homemade yogurt:

Heat a quart of whole milk slowly on the stove until it reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from the heat and cool to 110 degrees. Stir in 1/2 cup live-culture yogurt. Preheat your oven to warm, then turn off. Pour yogurt mixture into a shallow baking dish, cover, place in oven and leave over night. In the morning you should have yogurt (or, in my case, in a few more hours with a little more heat added).

To make yogurt cheese:

Line a strainer with dampened cheesecloth, and place over a bowl. Add yogurt. Fold excess cheesecloth over the top of the yogurt, then place a weight on top (I usually just stick the quart-sized honey jar on top, precariously balanced). Wait about an hour for the whey to drip out, then fold the yogurt cheese into a bowl and eat. I add honey and walnuts, but it can be used for savory things as well (i.e., adding minced garlic to create a soft cheese spread for veggies or crackers). Save the whey for other uses--it should keep in the fridge for about 6 months.


  1. Hello Melanie,
    I make goat yogurt because I can't take cow's milk. The goat yogurt in the stores is very expensive so I buy goat milk, the smallest container of goat yogurt I can find and make my own.
    I usually make two quarts at a time. I sterilize two quart jars and pour the goat milk in.
    Then I stand them up in a pot of water and bring to a boil. The milk in the quart jars reaches 180 F but does not scald. I turn off the heat lift the jars our of the hot water and wait for the milk to come back down to 110 F.
    At 110 F I mix in only one table spoon of the yogurt per quart.
    I prepare a small insulated cooler, place a quart of hot water in the cooler with the two seeded quarts of yogurt mixture, pack with towels and cover for eight to twelve hours. I know the temperature drops below 110 in the cooler but I think it holds around 100F for many hours. At the end of the eight hours I have a nice batch of yogurt. I can use this batch to seed succeeding batchs for months for less than half the price of commercial goat yougert.

  2. Sandor Ellix Katz, in his book Wild Fermentation, also says to use only one tablespoon of yogurt as the starter--that it actually works better that way. So next time I will listen to you both and do just that.

    Figuring out you could easily make your own goat milk yogurt must have been a cool revelation. What a great idea!