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I have always wanted to learn how to make yogurt, but I put it off until I started the GAPS diet. I thought it would be too much work, and I didn’t have a yogurt maker or a fancy dehydrator. However, I quickly learned that making yogurt at home is an incredibly easy and frugal way to get your dairy in!
Why make your own yogurt?
- It is super easy and requires no special equipment
- You can ferment it for 24 hours or more to ensure all the lactose is consumed
- You know it has live probiotics in it!
- You can pick your quality of milk, rather than searching the shelves and multiple stores for a yogurt that will work.
- There are no funky added ingredients
- You can flavor each batch or bowl however you want
- It is super frugal! I get the highest quality of milk legally available for sale in my state, and I still only pay $1.90 for a QUART of yogurt
A note on quality
All traditional food diets recommend using raw milk. If you have that option, definitely go for it! You can learn how to make raw milk yogurt here. However, many people do not have access to raw milk. I’m hear to tell you that that is okay! In fact, this tutorial is for milk that has been pasteurized. Just try to use the highest quality milk possible. I get grass-fed, organic, non-homogenized, and batch-pasteurized milk from my local co-op. This is literally the highest quality of milk that can be purchased legally in my state, and it is only pasteurized at a temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenehit. (I use Kalona Supernatural, if you are curious) I have no qualms about using it to make yogurt. To learn more about milk quality, read this article by Food Renegade. Only you can decide what kind of milk to feed your family, but if you do not have access to high quality milk, for whatever reason, consider whether you need it or not.
Tools for yogurt making:
Like I mentioned, you don’t need fancy equipment to make yogurt. In fact, I make my yogurt in a thermos! That’s the technique I’ll be sharing today. For other yogurt making techniques, scroll to the bottom of this post. To get started you’ll need:
- A 32oz or larger thermos that can maintain a temperature of 105-113 degrees for 24 hours (do a test run with water to make sure your thermos can do this)
- A thermometer (not required, but it makes the process much easier)
- A saucepan
- A liquid measuring cup
- Whole milk – use the size of you thermos less 1/4 cup
- 1/4 cup yogurt with live active cultures, at room temperature (or a yogurt starter)
How to Make Yogurt (without a yogurt maker)
Heat milk to almost boiling, about 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep covered and stir occasionally. This will kill off any bad bacteria that could interfere with the culture.
Cool milk to 113 degrees Fahrenheit. Yogurt should be cultured at 105-113. With the amount of transferring required, I recommend only reducing the temp to 113 or so to allow enough “cushion heat.”
I cool my milk in a cold water bath in the sink – it cools very fast this way so keep an eye on it!
Add yogurt starter to milk and stir well. If your yogurt didn’t quite get to room temp, check the temperature to make sure it didn’t drop too low. If it did, feel free to heat it a bit more – just don’t go over 113 and your bacteria will be fine.
Transfer to your (almost!) yogurt to your thermos. I find this is easiest if I put it in a liquid measuring cup first.
Check that temperature is still high enough.
Cover and let sit for 24 hours. Put it in a warm spot if you can. I put my next to my Crock Pot that is not well insulated and constantly running to make me broth.
Boom. Yogurt. And it’s still within the culturing temp range. Transfer into jars, refrigerate, and enjoy!
How to Make Yogurt – other methods
- With raw milk
- With coconut milk
- In a dehydrator
- In a slow cooker
- In a cooler
- With a heating pad
- At room temperature
- Troubleshooting your yogurt making
Have you made your own yogurt before? Will you try now? Let me know in the comments!
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