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Food Matters

All about fresh, flavorful food

How to Make Homemade Yogurt

Summer is just around the corner and what better pairing than yogurt and berries? June will ripen the season’s first strawberries, raspberries and cherries; when summer is in full swing you will want to fill your basket with huckleberries, blueberries, marionberries and perhaps even a few gooseberries.

Homemade yogurt is a cinch! You may be under the misconception that you need a yogurt maker to create fresh yogurt, but although these machines are helpful and create the ideal environment for fermentation, they are completely unnecessary!

Homemade Yogurt

Most of the tools needed you probably have around your house:

• quart canning jar
• fluffy kitchen towel
• kitchen twine or rubber bands
• an instant-read thermometer
• spoon or whisk
• oven or a warm area in your home

You’ll start with a scoop of store-bought yogurt (you can eventually use your homemade yogurt as a culture starter). Something to pay attention to when purchasing store-bought yogurt is that the ingredient list includes, “Live Active Yogurt Cultures.”  The live cultures are necessary for turning the milk into yogurt.

How to Make Victoria’s Homemade Yogurt

• 3 3/4 cups whole milk
• 1/3 cup plain whole milk yogurt

1. Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium to medium-high heat until an instant-read thermometer reaches 180 degrees F.  Pour into a heatproof the quart canning jar or a heat-proof glass bowl and allow the milk to cool until the thermometer reaches 115 degrees F.

2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

3. Once the milk reaches 115 degrees F, stir in the yogurt and cover with plastic wrap or the canning jar lid. 

4. Wrap the bowl or jar in a large, thick dish towel and secure with string or rubber bands.  Put into the oven and immediately turn off the heat.  Let the yogurt sit until slightly thickened, 10-20 hours.*

5. Remove the towels and chill the yogurt for at least 2 hours before serving. Yields: 1 quart

*This is the fermentation stage; the longer the yogurt sits the more tart it will become.

Victoria Greenstreet is inspired by seasonal ingredients.  Her focus is whole foods and gluten-free cookery.  She is a classically trained chef, freelance food writer, stylist and photographer. She is currently working on her first cookbook. Visit her blog Honey Dumplings for more recipes and culinary adventures.