This basic recipe is made with fresh milk before the cream has been separated and does not require equipment like an Instant Pot, yogurt maker or a heating pad. Follow this simple tutorial, and you will never want to find yourself without homemade yogurt again!
Why We Make Yogurt at Home
Even with a large family, we often have extra milk. One of our favorite ways to use extra milk is to make homemade yogurt. It’s quick and easy to do, and you can make it at home too!
When you make yogurt at home, you’ll have a healthier and more nutritious product. The yogurt you purchase in grocery stores contains sugar, preservatives, additives and artificial flavors.
Making your yogurt guarantees that you control what goes into it. It also makes it easier to adjust for diet preferences, tastes, and allergies.
The Science of Yogurt
Yogurt is simply cultured milk. When you combine heated milk with the active cultures lactobacillus bulgaricus and streptococcus thermophilus, the perfect environment is created for yogurt to form.
This reaction causes the thickening of the milk, which forms the creamy texture of yogurt.
Yogurt is high in protein, vitamins, and calcium and is full of probiotics. Probiotics can boost the immune system by enhancing the good bacteria in your gut.
While plain yogurt is delicious all on its own, there are so many fun ways to add to the flavor of a homemade yogurt recipe. Try some of these:
- Fresh Herbs – Try adding fresh mint, ginger or clove.
- Extracts – Add vanilla, almond or lemon extract to your yogurt. It’s very potent so just use a tiny amount.
- Cocoa – A dash of cocoa powder or some cocoa nibs make a wonderful chocolatey dessert in yogurt.
- Seeds – Add flaxseed, hemp or chia seeds for a touch of crunch and some added nutrients.
- Nuts – Slivered almonds, chopped walnuts or pistachios are delicious in homemade yogurt.
- Granola and Fruit – We grow strawberries (along with asparagus) in our perennial garden, and the flavor of fresh berries with yogurt is a popular combination. Add homemade granola, and it’s a tried and true complete meal.
Yogurt Shelf Life
Once you’ve activated the yogurt starter culture, you can safely store it in your refrigerator for up to two weeks. Pro-Tip: Use the freshly made yogurt within seven days to re-culture new batches of yogurt.
- A Big Pot – To make two gallons of yogurt, you’ll need an 8.5″ to 10″ pot.
- Clean Jars w/Lids – We will be using four half-gallon jars.
- Food Thermometer – Getting the milk heated to just the right temperature is essential.
- Towel – You will need a towel (or towels) large enough to cover your jars to block out light completely.
- Oven – This recipe uses the primary oven method, but you can use an Instant Pot, yogurt maker or Beth uses a good quality cooler filled with hot water.
- 2 Gallons Fresh Milk – If you have access to fresh raw milk, you’ll never have better homemade yogurt. If you don’t have access to raw milk, any milk will do as long as it’s not pasteurized. Full-fat milk will always give you the best yogurt. We are making 2 gallons of yogurt, so you’ll use 2 gallons of milk. Whole milk makes the creamiest yogurt.
- ½ Cup Yogurt Cultures – Use ½ cup of yogurt starter for two gallons of yogurt.
How to Make Yogurt Step by Step
- Slowly heat the milk in your pot until it reaches 105°F-110°F. Check often with your thermometer so that you don’t scorch your milk.
- Add the yogurt starter and stir until completely dissolved.
- Pour the milk and yogurt starter into jars and put on the lids.
- Place the jars in your oven. Do not turn on the oven but leave the light on to create a slight heat.
- Cover the jars with a towel to block out the light.
- Leave your jars in the oven for 6 hours.
- Take jars out of the oven and put them into the refrigerator to cool the milk. Pro-Tip: It’s essential to refrigerate your yogurt for 3-12 hours to stop the fermentation process.
That’s it! You now have raw milk yogurt that doesn’t get any fresher. Be sure to check out Abundance+ (and get a FREE 7-day trial) for many more tutorials just like this.