Instructions for preparing homemade yoghurt

by Josh
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 Homemade yoghurt: I’ve been making my yoghurt for a few years now, and I don’t think I’ll ever go back. Not only does it actually save me some money on groceries, but this homemade yoghurt is seriously good. I eat more yoghurt now than ever before.

The method I adopted is very basic – no special heirloom yoghurt cultures or fancy incubation equipment is required. You can even make a batch tonight and have homemade yoghurt for breakfast tomorrow morning!

What ingredients do I need to make yoghurt?

All you need to make homemade yoghurt is:

  • half a gallon of milk
  • about half a cup of yoghurt.

Whole or 2% milk will make the thickest, creamiest yoghurt, but you can use skim milk if you prefer. For yoghurt, either Greek or regular yoghurt is fine, but avoid any flavourings; stick to plain, unflavored yoghurts.

Also, when you buy yoghurt, check that it contains “live active yogurt cultures” in the ingredients – we need those! Live cultures are what really turn milk into yoghurt.

homemade yoghurt

The number of cultures doesn’t really matter; as long as there is at least one, you can make yoghurt. That said, different strains of bacteria have different health benefits, so I look for yoghurt with the most cultures listed.

What equipment do I need to make yoghurt?

All you need to make yoghurt is a heavy pot with a lid. I like to use a three-quart Dutch oven. Once the lid is on, a heavy pot like this one does an admirable job of keeping the milk cosy and at a fairly steady temperature (ideally around 110°F) while the bacteria get to work turning the milk into yoghurt. It also helps to place the pot somewhere insulated and warm while this is happening, such as an oven with the light on or a picnic cooler with a hot water bottle.

You can certainly use a yoghurt maker or even a dehydrator if you have one – these are great for keeping the yoghurt at a very stable temperature while incubating – but you can make great yoghurt without them.

What can I do next with my yoghurt?

Once you have this basic method of making yoghurt, you can make all sorts of tweaks and changes. Some people like to add milk powder or gelatin for extra thickness, and others like to strain liquid whey to create thick Greek yoghurt. Using different brands of commercial yoghurt to culture your milk can also give you subtly different flavours and nutritional benefits.

You can also try buying a speciality starter at a health food store, food co-op, or online. My favourite resource for an interesting start is Cultures for Health.

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