Don’t Fear the Homemade Yogurt

Amanda, my daughter-in-law, with her yogurt-loving husband, Brett

Are you intimidated by the idea of making your own yogurt? If so, you aren’t alone.  Perhaps you recognize some of these “reasons” for not trying it.

  • Too much trouble
  • Too much work
  • Skeptical about the taste compared to commercial yogurt with additives and sugar or sweetener
  • Nervous about working with live cultures
  • Worried about the possibility of failure and wasted milk (it happens sometimes on the road to success)

My daughter-in-law,  Amanda, was also hesitant despite watching me make and eat my own yogurt for several years. When she decided she wanted to try making it herself with her favorite milk, I offered to help if she would let me document the process.  I’ll share the results of our little adventure as soon as I finish up the details.

Meanwhile, I think you’ll find her thoughts on the subject interesting and encouraging. After her first attempt, she was hooked and was so excited, she wanted to tell you about it in her own words.

Kent going into weeds

The thought of making your own Greek yogurt can be just as intimidating.

Q: Why did you decide to make your own Greek yogurt?

A: It saves money. It’s fresher and healthier, and it’s better for the environment,

Initially, I was a little intimidated by the whole process.  It seemed to be a long, complicated process that would require advanced cooking skills.  Frankly, I wasn’t sure I could “flavor” the yogurt to be as tasty as the store bought organic Greek that I had become so accustomed to eating.

My husband and I are always looking for convenient, healthy, unprocessed, whole foods. Non-fat Greek yogurt is high on my list because it has a high ratio of protein to carbohydrates (even higher than a glass of milk), which is excellent for weight loss and non-milk drinkers like me.  One cup of the yogurt in the morning keeps my husband full until lunch.  We also love the way the homemade yogurt tastes when made with the raw milk (unless the cow’s been in an onion patch – kidding, of course).

Another one of the biggest reasons I decided to make my own Greek yogurt was to save money.  For example, we had been spending $1.99 per serving on organic Greek yogurt from the store, and when we make our own, we spend approx. $.58 per serving (and that’s using raw milk, which is quite a bit more expensive than pasteurized!)  This savings really adds up when you eat as much yogurt as we do (at least one a day).  Also, I reuse glass jars for our yogurt instead of the throw-away containers so it is definitely more “green.” (The jars fit easily into my lunch bag that I take to work).

Q: How long does it take you to make yogurt?

A: One thing I realized is there’s very little hands-on time involved when making yogurt. Although it takes a while to get to the finished product, I do not spend more than 10 minutes of my time making yogurt.  After I made my first batch I was kicking myself for not making it sooner.  If you follow Paula’s instructions it really is so easy!

Q: What are some things you have learned about the process since you started making yogurt?

A. I have only been making yogurt a few weeks but these are some things I’ve discovered for myself.

  •  I tried only heating the milk to 100 degrees in the microwave, just to see how it would turn out.  The flavor was good, but the texture was extremely gritty.  So, that was a bust in my opinion.  I always heat to the 175-degree temperature now.
  •  I started out using an old (but clean) T-Shirt on top of a strainer while straining my yogurt but I quickly became tired of the extra clean up.  So, I now only use a strainer and I actually like the creamier result I get.
  •  One of my biggest concerns was how to flavor the yogurt.  Once I whisk the final product, I add in milk to the whole batch.  How much depends on the batch.  Then, I place the individual servings into jars and put them into the fridge.  Once the yogurt cools, it thickens up even more.  So, when we take a jar out, we add a little more milk to make it creamy.  I am not a big fan of artificial sweeteners, so we like to use jelly and fresh fruit, or about ¼ teaspoon sugar and vanilla bean paste and homemade granola (which I keep in the freezer).  I am telling you, these two options are ten times better than the expensive store-bought yogurt, plus I feel like Martha Stewart (kitchen Martha…not prison Martha)!
Kent coming out of weeds

Now it's time to try making yogurt yourself. With any luck, it will turn out great!

Other posts you might find interesting:

Healthy Homemade Greek Yogurt (Fat-Free)

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

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Tiffany November 3, 2013 at 5:23 pm

I have a question. I made my yogurt last night and it turned out really great, thick and perfect in every way but 1. It tastes more like slightly sour milk with major milky undertones rather than good sourish yogurt. Can I rewarm the yogurt to have the cultures multiply again and have is set for a while at 100f to sour it up or is this batch stuck like this and I can try again next time and leave is for longer.

I left this one at 100F for 13 hours, I added 1/2c of live yogurt to my cooled (115f) milk, stirred once to distribute the yogurt then I let it sit untouched for the whole 13 hours, put it in the fridge still untouched and after it was cooled took it out and tasted it.

Thank you for any insight!

Reply

Paula November 4, 2013 at 9:26 am

Hi Tiffany,
I don’t think you will have good luck to rewarm the yogurt unless you add new cultures. In general, the longer you incubate, the more sour your yogurt will be but this can vary according to your starter. Some people incubate up to 24 hours. If you keep using your own homemade yogurt as starter, it may eventually become more sour as the months go by.

How much yogurt are you making at one time? 1/2 cup of starter (live yogurt as you called it) may be excessive. See this post. Of course, if you are satisfied with the way your yogurt turns out, keep doing it. Thanks for writing.

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Sandy October 31, 2011 at 5:32 pm

Great post!!!
Love the pictures of your grandson and the creative interview with Amanda. I am glad I looked back a few weeks. Now I am wondering what else I have been missing. This post is so inspiring. Amanda told me she had been making your Greek Yogurt and loves the tast and the ease of it not to mention the savings. I think this means I should try it too with confidence of course. Blessings to you all.

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Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen October 27, 2011 at 2:05 am

I think there are so many things that we just aren’t used to making from scratch that we don’t realize just how easy it is until we try.

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Connie October 25, 2011 at 10:41 am

I made your yogurt last weekend. This was my fourth time, but this time it made a small batch. Only 3 half pint jars. Any suggestions or tips what may have happened. I can’t remember how much it made last time but it seemed like it made more jars. Thanks for a great blog. I told my brother about your blog so he could make yogurt.

Reply

Paula October 25, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Connie,
It happens to me too sometimes. Whenever you are dealing with live cultures, the results can be a little unpredictable because there are so many variables, i.e. Age of milk, age of starter, temperatures all along the way, time of incubation, etc.

Considering all that, and the fact that I didn’t get to watch you make it, I don’t have a pat answer. Hopefully, it tasted great and you were able to enjoy the yogurt you got.

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Der October 24, 2011 at 9:38 am

Well, my second batch was just like the first… not thick enough after incubating in the oven overnight. I am thinking I will try again next week with a different starter yogurt after all the Halloween festivities are over!
Thanks so much for all your help!!!!!!!

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Betty @ scrambled hen fruit October 22, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Okay, now I just HAVE to try it. I’ve been meaning to do it for ages, ever since I first read your tutorial, but haven’t gotten around to it. What a great interview with your daughter in law- I love the Martha reference. 🙂

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Der October 22, 2011 at 1:57 pm

I have never made yogurt but have been thinking I would try after talking to a friend about it this week. Funny, that you posted about it this week:+)
I love the interview with Amanda… maybe because I like Amanda so much!
Der:+)

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Paula October 24, 2011 at 7:24 am

Derinda, I am so glad you are trying it again. It’s worth the trouble if you really love yogurt. Let me know how it turns out.

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Vicki V October 20, 2011 at 11:42 pm

I have been wanting to try to make your yogurt and will definitely give this a try one of these days! My mom made homemade yogurt back in the 70’s, but it was thinner. than Greek yogurt, more like Dannon.

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Suzanne October 20, 2011 at 10:50 pm

Nice nudge Paula! I like it 🙂 Darling little guy you all have too.

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Paula October 20, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Great interview, pictures and post. Looking forward to seeing the rest of Amanda’s adventure with home-made yogurt.

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Sue October 20, 2011 at 11:38 am

Just wanted to drop you a note. I found your site looking for recipes to use with my new Zo’ bread machine…..awesome recipes! I made the soft garlic sticks last night and while not nearly as pretty as yours (practice, practice), they were a hit with me and my husband and I’ll definitely make again. Looking forward to trying some other recipes – going to try the crusty french bread with homemade cioppino for dinner this Sunday night.

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The Café Sucré Farine October 20, 2011 at 7:13 am

Paula, what a wonderful post! I love the way you included your daughter-in-law and her observations! I’ve made yogurt in the past but you make it so much easier – I’m going to try it your way now!

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TheKitchenWitch October 20, 2011 at 5:51 am

“Kitchen Martha, not Prison Martha”…that made me laugh out loud. I am proud of her for getting over her fear and giving it a go!

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