Making Homemade Yogurt

Making your own yogurt is so much fun, I hope you’ll give it a try. However, it’s not an exact science because it involves living organisms. Translation: things don’t always turn out like you hope. But once you get your system figured out, it’s fairly predictable. Just remember, “The yogurt gods can be fickle” (a quote from one of my readers who I cannot remember), so don’t get discouraged. Start with my video or check out the posts listed below for help.

Note: If you are looking for instructions to make regular yogurt or Greek yogurt, the post entitled Healthy Homemade Greek Yogurt will show you how to do both.

Still have a question?  Shoot me an e-mail. I’ll try to answer back quickly.

 

Greek Yogurt 101

5 Things You Should Not Do When Making Homemade Yogurt
A Cheap Way To Strain Yogurt Without Using Cheesecloth
Healthy Homemade Greek Yogurt (Fat-Free)
Can I Use Whey Left Over From Straining Yogurt to Make More Yogurt?
Cheat Sheet for Making Homemade Yogurt?
Don’t Fear the Homemade Yogurt
How Much Starter Do You Really Need to Make Yogurt
How to Strain Yogurt the Easy Way
Answers to Your Questions About Making Homemade Yogurt
More Than Six Ways to Incubate Yogurt Without a Yogurt Maker
A Discussion About Protein in Greek Yogurt
18 Ways to Use Whey–a By-Product of Greek Yogurt
Homemade Greek Yogurt: A Cheat Sheet
Why Is My Homemade Yogurt Grainy?

Recipes Containing Yogurt on Salad in a Jar

Email This Page Email This Page Share Follow me on Pinterest

{ 110 comments… read them below or add one }

Laurie November 7, 2011 at 7:23 pm

Despite my name being both male and female I am a male from the Gold Coast Australia and was interested in making yoghurt. I followed your instructions to the letter and it didnt set. I only used 1 litre of milk and added I heaped tablespoon of starter. I purchased a Avanti thermometer and made sure the temperatures were right. I added the starter adt the right temperature. I decided to check the accuracy of the thermometer. I boiled some water in a saucepan and when boiling I added the thermometer which has a connector which attaches to the side of the saucepan. The probe to stake was only touching the boiling water. I left it there for a few minutes and noted that it only went up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Oh by the way it was a candy/deep fry thermometer so I was capable of measuring up 400 degrees. I thought 212 degrees was the boiling point of water so the thermometer should have registered 212. So it appears it is 12 degrees out. So I am thinking that when I used the thermometer to check the cooled milk I got a wrong reading which may have eitehr been too hot or too cold and that was the cause of my failure. What do you think

Reply

Paula November 7, 2011 at 8:35 pm

Laurie, you may be right but whenever yogurt doesn’t get thick, I suspect two things. First–the starter. Was it fresh? Did it have live bacteria? If you used commercial yogurt, it’s hard to know for sure. Maybe try a different brand. Wish I could send you some of mine.

The other thing I always suspect is the incubation method. Did the temperature remain higher than 100 degrees F the entire time? Or is it possible it got too hot? Have you checked out my post about troubleshooting yogurt?

You reported using more starter than I recommend. I only use 1 teaspoon per quart but I honestly doubt if that was the problem.

Hope you’ll try it again. Just make a pint at a time until it works for you. It’s worth the trouble if you’re a yogurt lover. Once you get your system down, it will be a breeze. Promise! Paula

Reply

Laurie November 7, 2011 at 9:59 pm

Thanks Paula for the prompt reply. I used a commercial natural yogurt and the carton said it contained live culture. It also had plenty of use by date so I suspect it was ok. I am using a wide mouth 1.8 litre thermos flask as my incubator which I rinsed with hot water before I poured the milk into it. The temperature on the Gold Coast at the moment is quite warm. I noticed your instructions that it took about 17 minutes for your milk to cool at 115 degrees F. When my milk reached 180 degrees I turned it off and kept stirring whilst it was cooling but the temperature dropped to 115 degrees on the thermometer in about5-10 minutes and that is when I added the starter. As I said I suspect the thermometer was faulty and the milk was over 120 degrees and killed the starter. I have ordered a new thermometer which I will test before I use it. Now I know what a woman feels like when she loses a baby…..

Reply

Ivan Dachev June 7, 2014 at 11:43 pm

Hello I’m from Bulgaria from where the Lactobacillus Bulgaricus comes from :)

Laurie one tip for you how to find if the commercial yogurt have live culture: It is very simple put the yogurt outside of the fridge on home temperature. If after two days it taste the same then it probably does not have live bacterias.

The live culture outside of fridge starts to multiply them rapidly and the taste of the yogurt is getting sour for a day or two.

I too love to make homemade yogurt and it is really hard to find good live culture. Here in Bulgaria, Sofia where I live the 95% of the commercial yogurt did not pass my test :)

Reply

Margaret November 15, 2011 at 12:09 pm

I’m making this yogurt nearly every day now for my family of 10 — thanks to your great instructions. I own some plastic Ball brand freezer jam containers with twist on lids. I layer homemade blueberry sauce and greek yogurt in the cups and send them off to school with my kids. Also, I am so glad you suggested buying that strainer because it makes the whole process so easy to use.

Reply

b weaver December 1, 2011 at 8:07 am

hi! you wrote to me November 27, sorry for not getting back sooner! we had a small kitchen catastrophe! i’d written you about making yogurt that turned kind of into cheese, made from powdered milk (a bad experiment!). i’d made a half gallon of milk not realizing it only needed a quart, and the excess got put in a pitcher in the fridge (it wasn’t hot) and somehow the pitcher cracked clean down from the lip to its feet speading Thanksgiving cheer and that wonderful used-milk-smell to my fridge. It was days before realizing it’d cracked… anyway–i’d disposed of my yogurt creation and was about to make more when the sink backed up twice and by some miracle i was invited to Thanksgiving at the last moment so the food prep could wait til days later. The sink has stopped up again (no more home remedies or taking apart the pipes, m going to get Drano) so everything is still a mess from the last yogurt trial. interesting, yogurt left to itself on the counter turns a lovely shade of moldy gray! arraugh!!! i will try again, with a clean kitchen and paying extra strict attention. i do have a problem maintaining the 110 degree heat, but i’ve just found an old heating tray which will be experimented on before use, maybe that will help! Thank you for your site! it has been quite helpful! and p.s.: re: powdered milk– there’s a site called US emergency supply, which is where i got the idea to use powdered milk and to substitute butter. i’m big on trying the Other Way but really need to do it the CORRECT way first! Thanks for your help, and may you have blessed holidays!

Reply

Matthew Prempeh December 15, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Hi my name is Matthew Prempeh i am in 6th Grade andI am a student in St. Jeromes school. On May 30 my Grade is having international day and my teacher told me I had the country Greece. I have chosen to make Greek yogurt but i failed so i saw your website and you showed me how to make it the correct way. Now i know how to make it but i forgot the ingredients. can you please put the ingedients on your website TY. bye.

Reply

Staci January 2, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Hi Paula! I have successfully made my own greek yogurt on my first try, thanks to your instructions. My oven does not have a setting for 100 degrees, so I wanted to share what I did, in case it can help someone else. I cooled the milk just below 120 and stirred in the starter. Then I wrapped the entire bowl in foil, including the top, and put a plate on top it to act as a lid. Then I placed the foil wrapped bowl in a soft sided cooler, put towels around and on top of it and zipped it closed. I invested in one of the thermometers with a cord, so I was able to seal the prong part inside the bowl to monitor the temperature while it was in the “incubator”. I had preheated my oven for about a minute and turned on the light. When I put the milk inside it, the temp of the milk was at 114. I left it in there overnight and when I got up this morning, the temp was at 99. When I opened my little package, I couldn’t believe my eyes, I had yogurt! I strained it per your instructions and now have 2 large tubs of delicious greek yogurt. Thank you for sharing your secrets!

Staci

Reply

Tom Clark July 3, 2013 at 3:17 pm

My first try at Greek yogurt succeeded but only after I put the batch into our 100+ degree summertime garage for the last few hours. Prior to that it was very fluid.

Paula’s suggestion about leaving the oven light on is good, but I felt that little 40 watt bulb would never raise the temperature to 100 degrees much less 110. In fact I tested it for a few hours and the thermometer didn’t budge, so here is what I did to improve on Paula’s suggestion.

(I’m basically an electrician so if you don’t feel you are capable of doing this yourself, please get someone who is.)

At my local home improvement store I bought a porcelain light socket for heat resistance, and an octagonal METAL ceiling box to mount it. I wired that to an ordinary lamp dimmer that remains outside the oven for the entire incubation time. The dimmer plugs into an ordinary wall outlet.

I wasn’t sure what wattage bulb to get so I bought a 250 watt heat lamp at the same home improvement store. (It was just as cheap as a 4-pack of ordinary bulbs.) I figured 250 Watts would be more than sufficient – and it is. In fact an ordinary 100 Watt bulb would probably do the trick now that I see how low I have to dim that heat lamp.

In any case preheat the oven the normal way until the temperature starts to rise above 100 degrees. Then shut it off and turn on the lamp. Monitor the temperature and keep adjusting the lamp brightness in small increments until it stabilizes where you want it. Mine has been stable at 109 degrees for the past 6 hours. Use a piece of sticky tape to fix the dimmer knob in that position so you don’t ever have to hunt for it again. I have a remote reading digital thermometer that I believe is very accurate so I am fairly confident that 109 is close enough to the actual temperature.

Reply

Amanda January 10, 2012 at 3:44 pm

I am very excited to try this! Question: Can you use milk that is about to go off?

Reply

Traci January 19, 2012 at 10:58 am

Hello! I just made my first batch! Very excited! If I added the vanilla to it, can I still use a small portion of that to make my next batch? Or do I need to get a fresh starter? Thanks!

Reply

Paula January 19, 2012 at 11:35 am

Traci,
You can still use it, even with flavorings and sweeteners. I do it all the time. pr

Reply

cindee johnson February 4, 2012 at 8:01 am

Thank you so much for the wonderful directions for making greek yogurt. I just made my first batch over night, and thanks to your detailed instructions it turned out wonderfully. I sweetened it this morning with a little sugar and homemade vanilla extract and it is chilling now. My stove’s lowest setting is 170 so I read some of your comments and realized I have a presto fry and stew pot with a warm setting which worked great. I also improvised a little on the straining and used a reusable coffee filter, of course I cleaned it very very well first. Again thanks so much. And by the way I found you on pinterest and I can’t wait until amazon sends the attachment for my food sealer so I can try making salad in a jar. Happy superbowl weekend! Cindee Johnson

Reply

Paula February 6, 2012 at 10:11 am

Hi Cindee, Congratultions on your successful yogurt. I predict you’ll be looking for a bigger strainer soon. :-) pr

Reply

carrie February 6, 2012 at 6:05 am

Hi. I had a failed batch. I’m thinking my oven wasn’t hot enough. Can I just heat that same batch up again and start over or do I have to throw it out completely?
Thank you!

Reply

Barb Brader February 22, 2012 at 5:29 am

Good morning .. I’ve made yogurt from another recipe I found on the internet .. then I came upon yours and tried it last night .. looks great so far … but I do have a question. Must I refrigerate the yogurt and let it cool completely before I strain it for Greek Yogurt?

Reply

Paula February 22, 2012 at 6:01 am

Hi Barb,

I do not chill the yogurt before straining because it greatly prolongs the process. With a good strainer, you can strain in 45 minutes to an hour down to half the original volume. Another reason not to chill first is that your yogurt will be smoother and creamier when you whip it after straining. Many of the directions you see are for straining regular yogurt that has been purchased at the store which is already chilled so they put it back into the refrigerator where it came from. What a pain to find a space big enough to sit your strainer in the fridge inside another larger bowl.

The way I see it, what’s another hour at room temperature for straining. I have forgotten about my yogurt and left it to incubate for up to 24 hours with no harm done. I don’t recommend it but it was still fine to eat. So my usual routine is 4-8 hours to incubate with another hour to strain. Works fast.

Thanks for writing. Hope you enjoy it.

Reply

Connie January 5, 2013 at 10:05 am

I did the same thing. I found this site and I love it. Yogurt looks OK after being in incubator 15 1/2 hrs! Straining it now. I love this site!

Reply

granny February 26, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Hi Paula, Can you use the leftover whey to make riccota cheese? I used it in my “Artisan bread in 5 minutes a day” and it was really good. Wouldn’t it be fun to get 3 uses out of the same milk. Love saving money!!!!!

Reply

Amy February 27, 2012 at 12:09 am

I love the small jars you use to store and serve the yogurt in. What brand are they? I browsed through Amazon but was unable to find any like them. I’d love to pick some up and would appreciate your help. Thanks!

Reply

Paula February 27, 2012 at 8:09 am

Amy, those are Ball jars. I buy them at Target. Some people think I’m eating a candle when they see me eating out of one. :-) pr

Reply

Amy February 27, 2012 at 9:29 am

Thank you! Now I can go pick some up :-)

Reply

Trisa February 28, 2012 at 6:03 am

I halved the recipe, using 1 quart of skim milk. It produced about 2.5 to 3 cups of whey to 1 to 1.5 cups of yogurt.

I think I need to do this on a weekend when I can follow the directions 100%, I think I probably rushed it too much.

But I’m very excited to use my 25 cent Fage plain 0% fat yogurt (17 oz, Aldi) as a starter, and my $1.99/gal skim milk (aldi). I should be able to produce quite a bit of yogurt at a great price.

Reply

Susan March 13, 2012 at 4:28 pm

I made the yogurt and it turned out perfect. My only problem is flavoring. I want a nice vanilla flavor but it doesn’t seem strong enough. I added vanilla extract, soy vanilla milk, and some honey. Any suggestions?

Reply

Jocelyn March 15, 2012 at 7:17 pm

I had good success making this yogurt; the directions are excellent. However, I am supposed to be avoiding dairy products (bummer!). Does anyone know if this recipe can be made using almond milk? Thanks so much.

Reply

Paula March 16, 2012 at 6:10 am

Hi Jocelyn,
I have had no luck making yogurt with almond milk (or coconut milk, either)–at least not the brand I buy at the grocery store. Instructions I’ve seen on other websites use some kind of special almond milk I suppose is available at health-food stores but I haven’t tried it. I have made yogurt from Lite vanilla-flavored soy milk. Made it following the exact same process as regular milk. It was not quite as thick but when strained, was just about the same. You might try that if you like soy milk. Unfortunely, it can be kind of expensive. pr

Reply

Barrie March 17, 2012 at 4:51 am

Hi, came across this when I googled for failed yoghurt!!
I think I know where I went wrong (too high a temperature when adding the starter) but I did end up (after whisking) with a delightful creamy yoghurt drink.
My method is to use full cream UHT milk and heat on stove until just starts to bubble up. No burnt pan this way and any skin gets put back in as it seems to disappear.
Sometimes I add milk powder but if so only a few tablespoons. I wait until its cooled enough (test on back of hand). I never use a thermometer but I like your alarm one. I leave overnight in an oven heated to 100 with light left on. I use a big thermos flask as the container. However I never strain, thats just too messy for me. If there is any whey then I stir it in. The yoghurt gets eaten very quickly!

Reply

Paula March 18, 2012 at 6:38 am

Hi Barrie, Sounds like you’ve got the method that works best for you all figured out. I agree–straining can be messy when you do it like most people and use cheesecloth. That’s why I devised a method that is much easier so can have Greek yogurt which I prefer.

Thanks for writing.

Reply

Barrie March 18, 2012 at 8:35 am

Using UHT milk certainly gets over the problem of a burnt saucepan. I have now succumbed and ordered a thermometer with alarm. Will save me from sticking my finger into hot milk!
Quick question; what do you do with the whey?
Best wishes

Reply

Paula March 18, 2012 at 8:38 am

Hi Barrie,
See this post for several ideas. pr

Reply

Margaret March 27, 2012 at 4:11 pm

The numbers on my thermometer are wearing off. What brand do you like? I may want to purchase what you use. Thank you!

Reply

Paula March 27, 2012 at 5:33 pm
Parvs March 28, 2012 at 10:11 pm

It worked after the 3rd try! haha =) thank you!! =)

Reply

Melissa June 4, 2012 at 9:40 am

Hi! I woke up this morning excited to eat some yummy yogurt but realized that I forgot to mix in the yogurt starter last night. I make mine in a crock-pot so my milk sat out all night cooling. Can I still use that milk or do anything else with it or should I just toss it?

Reply

Jocelyn June 12, 2012 at 3:41 pm

I am so pleased with the yogurt I made yesterday using your directions. One thing that really helped was your tips on equipment. On your advice, I invested in a large glass mixing bowl and a 9″ mesh strainer by All-Clad (from Williams Sonoma, $50- a great find!). I used Fage yogurt as my starter, but my yogurt doesn’t taste quite as delectable as the Fage type. Would it help to add nonfat milk powder next time? I chose not to this time around, as per your recent cheat sheet post. I suppose straining the yogurt more might also help, as Fage yogurt is quite thick.

Thanks so much for your help, and your wonderful website.

Reply

Paula June 12, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Hi Jocelyn,
It will be very difficult to imitate precisely the taste of another brand of yogurt. I don’t think nonfat milk powder helps the taste, IMHO. I suspect straining your yogurt more will help. I strain a LOT, then add milk back in to get a consistency like Fage. Keep making your own yogurt, and eventually, you will think yours tastes the best. It will be fresh, with no additives or preservatives. I used to love Fage but no longer care for it so much. Guess it’s what you get used to.

On a different note, I am not familiar with the All-Clad strainer. Will look into it.

Thanks for writing.

Reply

Allyson Cain June 25, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Hi Paula,
I made my first batch of greek yogurt after investing in a pricey chinois strainer. I added about 1/4 cup of skim milk powder. I found that the consistency was very grainy …. not that pleasant to eat (as we compared to store bought). If I skip adding the milk powder, should this improve the texture? Also – what’s the best strategy you’ve heard for maintaining a constant 100 degree temp while incubating? My oven only goes to 170 degrees. I tested half my batch in a yogurt maker and the other half in the oven (bowl wrapped in towels, preheating for a minute). The oven yogurt was much worse in texture. Thanks for helping me learn how to improve my next effort!

Reply

Paula June 25, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Hi Allyson,

I have never had grainy yogurt but it sure doesn’t sound good. When did you add the dry milk? I personally don’t add it any more. Try it without. (Just to be clear, you are saying your yogurt is grainy even after you strain and whisk it? Right?)

Have you seen this post? Finding the best incubation method for your home may involve some trial and error. I recommend you make half-batches and try different things until you get it right.

Re: texture. There are so many variables. Length and temperature of incubation and starter can also make a difference. What kind of milk are you using?

Hang in there. We’ll have you making good yogurt in no time.

Reply

ben July 19, 2012 at 10:54 am

If the yogurt turns out runny, can a portion of it still be frozen to be used for the next batch? Or does the runniness mean that its void of active cultures?

Reply

Paula July 20, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Hi Ben,
It kind of depends on your definition of “runny.” If the yogurt is somewhat thick, just not as thick as you were hoping, try again. If it looks the very same as it did when you first put the starter in, I probably wouldn’t bother.

Reply

Kathy July 19, 2012 at 11:50 pm

Paula, can you please help me? I want to make yogurt out of rice milk, I can’t have any dairy. NO soy or gluten either. It would be great if you give me some ideas. Thanks!

Reply

Paula July 20, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Hi Kathy,
Oh dear, I’m not sure I can help you. I’ve never tried rice milk. I did try coconut milk–twice, but it was a fail both times. Did you google it?

Reply

Paula Reed July 22, 2012 at 6:17 am

Hi. I just happened on to your site yesterday when looking for directions to make homemade yogurt. I made a batch last night using just 2 cups of milk and IT WORKED!!! Tried to click the “subscribe” box for your site, but received a pop-up telling me I couldn’t subscribe by email.
Thanks! Not only for your yogurt making video, but also for the courage you show in acknowledging our Lord on your site :)

Reply

Paula July 22, 2012 at 6:40 am

Hi Paula (like your name),
So glad to hear about your success with the yogurt.

THANK-YOU so much for telling me about the e-mail box. I think I fixed it.

Also, thank-you for your encouragement to be brave. God and his son are definitely worth it.

Reply

Tong July 25, 2012 at 11:56 pm

Hi Paula,

This is Tong from http://www.easy-homemade-yogurt.com

I would like to do the link exchange with you on your this page to my homemade yogurt website.

I love your video, would love to embed it into my site Greek yogurt page.

Here is my link: http://www.easy-homemade-yogurt.com

please let me know if you are interest it, thank you very much.

Tong

Reply

Paula July 28, 2012 at 9:22 pm

Hi Tong, I don’t do link exchanges at this time but if I ever change my mind, I’ll let you know.

Reply

Tina August 6, 2012 at 7:51 am

First batch came out awesome!! I used powdered milk, and a nut bag as my strainer. Thank you for the simple instructions!!

Reply

Paula August 7, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Tina,
Isn’t it fun?! Glad it worked for you.

Reply

Susan August 10, 2012 at 11:54 pm

Hi Paula,
I just made my first batch of yogurt tonight and am incubating in a cooler with hot water and towels. I hope it works! I have been looking for a thermometer with an alarm that can detect when the milk has cooled to 120. It appears from reviews that most people who have purchased the alarm thermometers say they only detect the temp rising but not coming down. Is that the case with yours? Does yours detect when the milk has cooled and set off the alarm… or do you just use it to detect when the milk is heated to 180? If it is the previous, can you tell me which one you purchased? I also ordered the strainer and reynolds food saver with the jar lids to preserve lettuce. Thanks for your great video and tips! :)

Reply

Paula August 11, 2012 at 8:23 am

Hi Susan, Guess you know by now whether or not your yogurt worked. Hope so.

About the thermometer, mine DOES detect the temperature coming down. Got it at Target. But honestly, you don’t need it. After a few times, you will know how long it takes. I just use my cheapie quick-read thermometer to check for sure.

Good luck with your salad too. Of all the ways I’ve tried to seal the jars, I like the Reynolds along with the wide-mouth jar attachment the best.

Reply

Susan August 12, 2012 at 11:51 am

The first batch turned out great. I ordered a strainer off of Amazon (Winco brand extra fine chinois bouillon strainer) and it’s awesome! It was cheaper than most, I think I only paid just over $30 and got free shipping. My third batch came out like lumpy milk. I think my cooler was too warm. I added more starter to each jar and left it for another 4 hours. Still not super thick, but I’ll strain it anyway. My first batch I left for 8 hours. The second and 3rd were left for 12 hours (with the 3rd adding an additional 4 to get it to set up). Having fun and loving our results. THANKS for the video which inspired me to give this a try! :)

Reply

Paula August 14, 2012 at 5:03 am

Susan,
Congrats on your yogurt. Seems like you found a good strainer for a good price. I find that might yogurt gets better and better the more I make it as I tweek the process. Have fun!

Reply

Lisa August 13, 2012 at 8:23 pm

I’ve been trying for 8 months (and enjoying the dubious results!) But finally nailed it with a warm water bath. I did everything in the micro, and then transfered to 2 quart jars in my preheated electric pressure cooker. I covered with tin and then a towel and left it for 8 hours!! I’ve never had such good results, especially so quickly! What was interesting was I didn’t need to whip or stir to get smooth results! The kids liked it cause I didn’t tie up the microwave for 16 hours at a time! I heated the water to 115 prior to putting the 2 jars filled with 112 degree yogurt. Fastest and most set yogurt ever!! And I didn’t even need to strain!

Reply

Paula August 14, 2012 at 5:06 am

Hi Lisa,
Sounds like you’ve got your system figured out. Congratulations! One of the best things about making it yourself is customizing it to your family’s preferences. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Reply

Rhonda September 20, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Hi Paula! Great video on making the Greek yogurt! I started on my yogurt making journey because of a health concern. I started by making my yogurt in my crock pot that I incubated in a pre-warmed oven overnight. My results weren’t consistent, & I found the process tedious, butni LOVED the way the homemade yogurt tasted, somi kept trying!! I also tried the heating pad in a small cooler. Finally, I broke down and purchased a yogurt maker (EuroCuisine) that came with seven 6 ounce glass jars. LOVE IT, but hated the jars. I now use seven 8 ounce Ball plastic freezer jars. Like you, I use a 2 quart glass bowl & microwave my milk. I microwave to about 190 degrees after having read a blog that suggested heating that high breaks down the milk strands better, resulting in a creamier product. I cool mine on the counter to about 165-170, then place my bowl in a dishpan of cold water, cooling it to 110-115. I add my starter, pour into my Ball jars, set the timer on my maker, & go about my business. Start to finish in the kitchen, including clean up, about 30 minutes once a week. Originally, I started my yogurt with store-bought. Now I alternate between a direct set freeze dried “Traditional Flavor” starter from http://www.culturesforhealth.com, or their Bulgarian starter that is self-perpetuating. Of the two, I really think I prefer the direct set, though I do have to repurchase that every 6-8 weeks. I did try making Greek yogurt (using a coffee filter), but found it too dry for my liking. Perhaps using a stainer like yours would work better than the coffee filter!! I love making my own yogurt, & feel so much better when I have my nightly cup!!!

Thanks for a GREAT website!! I’m loving it!!

Reply

Paula September 23, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Hi Rhonda,
What fun to read about your yogurt-making adventures! Sounds like you have your system all figured out. A yogurt maker is foolproof when you have a good starter but not practical for those of us who want Greek yogurt. I’m curious why you buy starter instead of using your own yogurt. Maybe because you don’t make it very often? Anyway, that’s good information for anybody who wants to try with the freeze-dried culture.

Reply

Rhonda September 23, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Paula: I use both – the direct set starter sometimes (I like its flavor best), and my own yogurt (started from a Bulgarian freeze dried perpetuating culture). I make seven 8 ounce cups a week (hubby doesn’t eat it, so it is just for me!). I’ve been using the Bulgarian yogurt as my starter for a couple of months now. The package comes with 2 packets of starter, in case you take a break or something happens to your batch.

As I understand it, isn’t Greek yogurt simply regular yogurt that is strained further to get get that thicker style?? I would think that I could take my containers from my maker when finished and just strain them to get the Greek style??

Reply

Paula September 24, 2012 at 4:59 am

Rhonda,
Yes, you are right about the Greek style…and yes, you could strain each little container but that would not be very efficient. Better to make the yogurt in the large container and strain all at once for Greek yogurt. But if you like the more liquidy regular yogurt, then the small containers are perfect.

Reply

ken September 23, 2012 at 8:46 pm

Hi Paula, I love your website and video on making yogurt. I did not have good results, And i need help, My family eats a lot of yogurt. So here are my steps,
1. Add 4 cups cold milk to measuring cup.
2. Heated in microwave to 120 degrees.
3. Allowed to cool to 110 degrees
4. Added 2 teaspoons fage unflavored 0 fat Greek yogurt.
5. Placed in preheated 100 degree oven.
6. Allowed to incubate for 9 hours.
7. Results, Hot nasty runny stinky milk.

So in closing, I’m Reaching out to you for HELP.
Thank you so much, Hope to here from you soon. :)

Reply

Paula September 23, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Ken,

First off, step number two is not right. Perhaps it was a typo on your part. Either way, you need to heat the milk to 175-180 degrees in order to unravel the proteins. Then let it cool down to below 120 degrees. Even better to 110 degrees.

When you added the Greek yogurt, I’m assuming you whisked it in throughly.

On step 5, how did you keep the milk at 100 degrees? It’s not enough just to start at 100, it must continue at 100 the entire time of incubation.

This is just a suggestion. You might want to try using only 2 cups of milk and 1 teaspoon of starter until you have a success so you don’t waste so much product. If you are determined and stick with me, you will have success. Sometimes it just takes a little tweaking. Have you read this post about troubleshooting yogurt?

Reply

Jillian October 13, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Hi. I’ve attempted yogurt making several times over the last 4 months, with really only a few successes. But I am determined to “get it down!”
In my last two attempts, I had to use store-bought starter (Fage 2%, Trader Joes organic yogurt). Both times my batch turned out with almost no tang – basically tasted like milk. I always make about a half gallon, and normally add a couple of tablespoons starter – sometimes heaping tablespoons. Now, here are a couple of factors I’m not sure are affecting the results.
1. On previous batch using TJs yogurt as starter, I cooled the heated milk down too much, so reheated before adding. While incubating, the majority of the heating was sub-par. I use an electric roaster oven, and in the morning when I checked it after being on all night, it was at about 95 degrees instead of 105. :( Was that a culprit?
2. This time, I made it at a relatives home without some of my tools. Their microwave runs a lot hotter, and even though I heated it less time than normal as a precaution, I still went way over 180. Cooled it down to around 100 (thermometer was an old-school meat thermometer that only goes down to 140), then added Fage – 2 heaping tablespoons. This morning it wasn’t super set, and tastes like nothing. Was heating it too much the culprit?
It’s so disheartening to go to the effort with such high hopes (trying to convince my husband that this is as good or better than store bought – I achieved that one time so far!) and then it fails. I’ve had last night’s batch on for about 17 hours now. No bueno. :(
Any thoughts?
Thanks!

Reply

Paula October 13, 2012 at 8:38 pm

Jillian,
I don’t blame you for being discouraged. I do wonder if it has to do with temperatures. Seems like you haven’t quite found the perfect incubation method. Have you read this post?

If I were you, I would do a smaller batch, like 1 qt, until you get it figured out. 17 hours is too long. If it hasn’t set by 8-10 hours, it won’t get any better after 17–just more sour.

Have you tried a different kind of milk? Do you have a good thermometer? These are just a few ideas.

Reply

Dee Dee October 17, 2012 at 6:36 am

Hello, I just wanted to send a note to say thank you for sharing your knowledge!! I just tried my first batch of homemade yogurt last night and it worked beautifully!! I mixed in some coconut milk and vanilla and had a scoop with my breakfast – homemade whole wheast, sugar free pumpkin pie! Whoop! Delish!! Thank you, really, thank you!

Reply

Paula October 17, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Whole wheat sugar-free pumpkin pie? Sounds interesting. Glad your yogurt turned out good.

Reply

Bill October 25, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Sounds like I am going to have fun learning how to make my own yogurt. I am curious as to how to get the starter. You mentioned in the video using some you made earlier, but where would I get starter for the first try.

Reply

Paula October 26, 2012 at 9:23 am

Bill,
Buy fresh yogurt at the grocery store–preferably your favorite brand–and use a tablespoon or two of that. I did an experiment with 7-8 different brands one time and every single one of them worked. Good luck!

Reply

Becky October 29, 2012 at 8:23 pm

I came to your website while trying to troubleshoot why I get a buttery film on my yogurt after I make it. I think it’s just because it is made from raw whole milk with a boatload of cream on top. This time I skimmed the film off the top of the heated milk, we’ll see how it turns out tomorrow.

I make my yogurt the easy way using the yogourmet yogurt maker, which keeps the yogurt at the right temp while it sets. I do heat the milk on a gas stovetop and if you have a heavy duty pot, burning the pot is never a problem. I use an All Clad pot and there is just a slight film on the bottom when I go to clean it.

Apparently you can also add a package of plain gelatin to the milk as it is heating to help make a thinker product. I just tried this tonight so we will see how it goes.

I noticed in the posts there there have been questions about people culturing the yogurt longer and if it would be ok. I wanted to let you know that the longer you let it set, as long as the temp remains right, the better! The probiotic content will be much higher and there will be little lactose left as the probiotics feed off the milk sugar.

I always culture my yogurt 24hrs based on this concept. I found out about this process from the Specific Carbohydrate Diet website, see link below for reference to all their pages on making yogurt.

http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.info/knowledge_base/listing/Y/

This is a diet intended to heal intestinal issues such as celiac and colitic, and they get very particular about which types of starters to use (acidophilis ONLY), but overall it is a very useful site for various methods of yogurt making. Thought you might be interested in that tidbit about the extended culture time. More bang for your buck, as you will get better health benefits.

Becky W.

Reply

Andrea November 8, 2012 at 9:41 pm

I just wanted to thank you for such a great tutorial on making greek yogurt. I have made several batches and they are fantastic. So much better (and cheaper) than what I can buy at the store. My daughter loves vanilla yogurt so I added a little bit of sugar and some imitation vanilla. I didn’t think she would like it because it’s not as sweet as the store brand but she loves it…which says a lot for a 19 month old! Thank you again!

Reply

Paula November 9, 2012 at 9:46 pm

You’re welcome, Andrea. Give your baby girl a big hug for me!

Reply

jeannine November 30, 2012 at 4:33 pm

My yogurt did not set, can I redo it? Can I use it to make frozen yogurt?

Reply

fazy December 9, 2012 at 8:33 am

Hi

I love your tip about the strainer, i’ve never known the difference between normal yoghurt and greek yoghurt to be so simple.

I’ve made yoghurt a few times, and there are some significant differences in our ways. First, i never heat my milk at the start, i just add the culture direct to the milk. Second, i’ve been told to use an airtight container (whereas i noticed yours works even without sealing it first). Third, i let mine mature overnight in the fridge rather than in the oven.

Isnt that curious? :) Does heating make it taste better, or are the differences because of how airtight the containers are?

Reply

Paula December 9, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Fazy,
Heating the milk makes thicker yogurt because it rearranges the proteins. At least that’s what the food scientists say. Are far as the containers being airtight…I think the yogurt microbes like oxygen. At least that’s what they told me. :-)

Reply

fazy December 13, 2012 at 3:55 am

wow, thanks! i like my yoghurt thick. i wish i saw the reply earlier, i just made a batch this morning the old way, and am excited to try out yours :)

Reply

Nikki K. January 1, 2013 at 8:12 pm

Me again! So I got a yogurt maker for Christmas (asked for a strainer, but there was some confusion :) ) anyway, I used it and it worked great! Might wait until my bday for the strainer b/c I’m really liking the consistency of what I made! Am curious…approx. how long if the yogurt good for? And how long would you say it is “fresh enough” to be a starter for my next batch?

Reply

Paula January 2, 2013 at 9:56 am

Nikki,
Most yogurt should keep about 3 weeks if you haven’t added any fruit to it from the beginning. Can’t really give you a time on how fresh it needs to be for starter. Less than a week would be optimal. I’ve used starter older than that and it still worked. You can always freeze a couple of tablespoons when you first make your yogurt. Works just as well. I keep some in my freezer at all times. Have fun with your yogurt maker. They are especially nice for people just starting to make yogurt because they’re pretty much foolproof. Not great for Greek yogurt because it would be a pain to empty out each little jar, strain it, and refill the jar but if you like the texture, maybe you don’t need to strain it.

Reply

Natallia February 4, 2013 at 7:09 pm

I want to thank you for wonderful instructions on making Greek yogurt. I was looking for a good recipe for a long time. And only thanks to your video I learned how to make rich, silky smooth greek yogurt. I incubate mine in a dehydrator and it comes out great every time.

Reply

Bill March 17, 2013 at 3:46 pm

I’ve been making yogurt for a couple years, but tried your method of using a 2qt glass measuring cup and the microwave.

Thank you. You’re a genius!

By the way, have you ever experimented using pro-biotics (in pill form) to make yogurt? I’m wondering if I can introduce even more bacteria into my yogurt that way.

Reply

Paula March 18, 2013 at 7:25 am

Hi Bill,
I have not experimented with the pro-biotics in the way you describe. Let me know if you do and how it all turns out. Sounds interesting.

Reply

Bill March 19, 2013 at 9:12 pm

I tried it. Did not work. After 4 hours in the incubator (I use my oven), I had warm milk, with no indication it would ever set up.

Logically thinking, a pro-biotic in pill form should produce yogurt. In fact in another blog, one gentleman said that it is the way he “tests” his pro-biotic – by dissolving one in a cup of milk and letting it set-up overnight. So perhaps my failure to create yogurt with a pill is more a testament to a dud pro-biotic than anything else.

Reply

Murgatroyd November 14, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Not all lactic bacteria produce the long-chain polysaccharides which “thicken” milk similar to typical yogurt. Some types of bacteria, as in Viili, produce so much that it turns milk into a bouncy gelatin. Another like the lactobacteria in Piima produces a very mild buttermilk type product.

Reply

Cathy May 21, 2013 at 2:40 pm

I have made my own yogurt for years…and it is especially good at this time of year. I get a tray of fresh strawberries….smush them up and add a couple spoons of the strawberry mixture to the completed yogurt and ENJOY! (I would rather have the yogurt mixture than a dish of ice cream!)

Reply

Erin May 23, 2013 at 3:09 pm

I am excited to try making my own yogurt, but I do have one question before I begin. You said in one of your post not to disturb the yogurt while it’s incubating. But I wonder, as I am trying my first batch to see if my incubation method keeps an even temp, can I leave a digital thermometer probe in the bowl of yogurt while it’s incubating, so long as I don’t touch or move it? Or do I have to keep the bowl empty of anything but the milk?

Reply

Paula May 24, 2013 at 6:42 am

Erin,
I think it would be OK although I haven’t actually tried it. Or you could just leave an oven thermometer (if it goes as low as 100 degrees) beside your bowl to monitor the temperature. After a couple successes, you won’t need it any more.

Reply

Y'vonne July 29, 2013 at 8:30 am

Hi Paula,
I am wondering if the Greek yogurt can be made with almond milk. My daughter who is visiting soon, is allergic to milk products. Thank you for your time and answer to my question.
Y’vonne Meier

Reply

Claudia August 12, 2013 at 2:29 pm

I am wondering if altitude has anything to do with how well the yogurt sets or not. I make mine in the crock, and have used soy milk, whole milk, 2% milk, and even coconut milk. The first couples times I made it, I used soy milk and was at a lower (about 1300 feet) elevation. The thickness was amazing! Now I am at 4200 feet and although the yogurt is fantastic, it just doesn’t thicken up as well as I ‘d like it to, despite straining! Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Reply

nick rombotis September 14, 2013 at 2:13 pm

have you ever made your own soymilk? if not why , please? if you have, did you
ever put the okara in the yogart and when? your recipe for yogart is a snap.
make it twice a week at least! super! nick r. nrombotis@cfl.rr.com

Reply

Paula September 16, 2013 at 8:41 am

Nick,
I have not tried to make my own soymilk. What I can get at the store works great. Would rather spend my time making yogurt. Not familiar with okara, so no, I haven’t tried it either. Yes, making yogurt is a snap once you get your system down. Thanks for writing.

Reply

Murgatroyd November 14, 2013 at 1:48 pm

There are cool temperature cultures that don’t require heating such as Caspian Sea Yogurt and another called Viili. They are made on the countertop at room temperature and are wonderful alternatives to warm-cultured yogurt and are not as sour.

Reply

Bill November 14, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Very interesting. Thank you.

Reply

Chris November 23, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Made my first batch with success! I used my large crockpot crock that holds a gallon of milk. I filled the crock with Non-fat milk and placed it in the microwave. I heated on high for approximately 12 minutes, until the temperature reached 115 degrees. I then added four tablespoons of starter and whisked the starter into the milk. I preheated my oven for 1 minute and turned on the oven light. My crockpot came with an insulated carrier. I placed the crock pot into the carrier and set in the oven. I wrapped a large towel around the insulated carrier. 8 hours later – sweet magic! I drained the yogurt with a linen towel, colander and large bowel in the sink. Yogurt is creamy and sweet. No need for sugars or flavoring.

Next time, I’ll try heating the milk to a higher temperature and see if I notice a difference.

Now I have some homemade yogurt to make a pumpkin cheesecake for Thanksgiving!

Thanks for sharing,

Chris

Reply

Chris November 23, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Forgot to mention that my oven vents to the stove top. So, I pushed towels into the vents to prevent heat from escaping the oven. I don’t know if made a difference, but I thought I’d share.

Chris

Reply

Leave a Comment