How to Make Yogurt

Making yogurt is easy. Now that we have that out of the way, we can tell you why. First off, you need very little to get started. The only ingredients you need are milk and a little bit of live-culture yogurt as a starter, and you end up with a whole new batch of yogurt in the end. Learning this was great news for us because we go through a ton of yogurt. In a bowl topped with fruit and granola, yogurt is one of our absolute breakfast staples. 

We can’t live without good yogurt, and when you’re making yogurt yourself, it’s really good. It’s often creamier than store-bought, and it’s the exact consistency you like it to be because you control the process and can tweak the steps from batch to batch to really dial in exactly what you want. So if you’re looking for a more Greek-style yogurt, just strain it a little longer. If you want Icelandic, start with a little bit of Icelandic yogurt (with a little funk) as your starter and also let it strain longer so that it thickens. If you want it softer and a little runnier, culture it a bit less. When making yogurt, you’re in control.

We make so many fermented foods, that we sometimes take making yogurt for granted. But if we had to rank our homemade ferments on just how often we make them, yogurt would be at the top of the list. We make it every week as part of our normal weekend routine. Turning a half-gallon of milk into yogurt usually gets us through the week. (That is unless we’re making labneh, raita, or another yogurt-intensive savory dish). 

So give yogurt a shot, and it’s bound to become a part of your routine as well.

How to Make Yogurt: Yogurt in Pot
How to Make Yogurt: Checking for Curd Formation
How to Make Yogurt: Yogurt Straining
How to Make Yogurt: Yogurt Wrapped in Cheesecloth

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 gallon milk

  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt (with live cultures)

Directions: 

  1. Heat milk on medium-low to 180° F (82° C), stirring occasionally to prevent the bottom from scorching.

  2. Remove from heat and let cool to 110° F (43° C). If the milk forms a skin at the top, carefully remove once cool with a slotted spoon for best consistency.

  3. In a small bowl add yogurt and 1/2 cup of the milk to the yogurt to temper and dilute, then add this mixture to the milk. Stir to combine.

  4. Cover and let culture for 6 to 8 hours in a warm place (ideally around 110° F - check out the video for recommendations). The longer the culturing time, the more tart your yogurt will be. Use a knife to check if your yogurt has set.

  5. Line a strainer with a finely-knit cheese cloth (known as butter muslin) and pour in your yogurt. Cover with the sides of the cheese cloth and let strain for 4 hours (for a runnier yogurt) and up to 12 hours (for a thicker, greek-style yogurt). Store in the fridge and reserve 1/4 cup for your next batch.