I’ve always been a huge fan of yoghurt. However, my relationship with it evolved throughout the years. I started off eating store-bought fruity yoghurt with lots of sugar. Then slowly I acquired the taste for plain unsweetened yoghurt. The next step was Greek yoghurt – that delicious thickness was repulsive to me at the beginning, but slowly I taught myself how to love it. Just like I taught myself to love butter. The low-fat mantra had been too deeply ingrained in my brain since childhood.
I was happily eating my store-bought Greek yoghurt until one day I spotted a yoghurt maker in Lidl. I’d been eyeing them for a while, but I was always conscious of spending 30 euros on it, so when I found it for 15 euros, I had to get it! That’s how I started making yoghurt at home.
Later on, I learned that a yoghurt maker isn’t really a necessity, there are ways to make it with things that everybody has in the kitchen. So with this blogpost, I’d like to share everything I’ve learned.
I’ll show you how to make delicious plain or fruity yoghurt, as well as the Greek yoghurt. So let’s get started!
Watch a video of me in action!
Here’s what you’ll need to make your own delicious yoghurt:
- 4 cups of full-fat milk
- 2 Tbsp. of live culture yoghurt or a packet of live yoghurt culture
- One large 1-litre jar (approx. 1 quart) or a few smaller ones (as long as they sum up to 1 litre, it’ll do)
- Saucepan or pot of around a litre (1 quart)
- Whisk ( a fork will do if you don’t have it)
- A piece of an old t-shirt, a cheesecloth or a kitchen towel (as long as it’s not made of terry cloth)
- You can add some fresh cream if you’d like to make your yoghurt thicker (that’s totally optional)
Note: if you’re going to use a live yoghurt culture packet, save 2 Tbsp. of milk – you’ll need them to stir the live culture in later on.
What kind of milk can be used to make yoghurt at home?
Raw milk is best. Both cow milk and goat milk can be used. However, yoghurt made with goat milk will be runnier than that made with cow milk.
If you aren’t able to get hold of raw milk, store-bought pasteurized milk will also work well. Yoghurt made with pasteurized milk will be thicker than that made with raw milk.
So, based on thickness, this is how different types of milk would rank (from thickest to runniest):
pasteurized cow milk → pasteurized goat milk → raw cow milk → raw goat milk
Beware of using the highly processed UHT milk – in most cases, you won’t manage to make yoghurt out of it.
Step-by-step guide to making delicious yoghurt at home
Step 1. Warm up the milk gently
Pour the milk into a pot and heat it gently until it reaches 108°F (42°C). The milk is still considered raw if heated to this temperature. I enjoy consuming my milk raw but, if for some reason, you prefer to pasteurize it, continue heating it until bubbles start forming around the sides of the pot.
If you heat it up that much, wait until the temperature drops to 108°F (42°C) before moving on to the next step – when you can comfortably touch the side of the pot for a while without burning, the temperature should be about right.
Step 2. Add the bacteria
It’s time to add the bacteria. If you’re using yoghurt as a starter, simply spoon it into the milk and whisk it. If you’re using a packet of live yoghurt culture, take the 2tbsp. of milk you kept aside earlier on and mix them together. Then add it to the rest of the milk and whisk.
Caution: make sure your milk has cooled down enough. If the temperature is above 115°F (46°C), it will kill the yoghurt cultures.
Step 3. Put it in the jar
Transfer the now cultured milk to the jar(s) that you’re going to use. Close the lid.
Step 4. Keep the mixture at 108°F (42°C) for 4-12 hours.
The longer you keep it in, the more sour the yoghurt is going to be. I can be pretty absent-minded, so occasionally I forget my yoghurt for up to 24 hours, and it still works! It might be a little more sour than most people would prefer, but it’s still pretty nice. So don’t stress too much if you forget it in.
Now you might be wondering: “How do I keep the milk at this temperature for so many hours?”. Well, it’s really easy. There are two ways (actually, there are more, but we’ll focus on two).
Firstly, if you own a yoghurt maker, simply put the jars in, close the lid, switch it on and forget about it for 10-12 hours. Easy, isn’t?
However, having a yoghurt maker isn’t necessary. You can simply use your oven. I guess most houses have an oven, right?
You’ll need to turn on the oven light and turn the oven on for around 2-4 minutes at around 300°F (150°C). Switch the oven off but leave the light on. You’re now ready to put the cultured milk in the oven. You can also wrap it in a few towels to preserve the heat better. The oven light will help keep it warm. Plus, you’ll be able to take a peek at your wonderful creation whenever you want. ☺
Leave it in for 4-12 hours – depending on your taste. After 4 hours, you can test it out – if it moves in one mass when you tilt it, it’s ready. Taste it to make sure it’s sour enough for you. If it isn’t, put it in for longer.
Once it’s ready, take it out of the oven and switch off the oven light.
Now this is where the instructions will differ depending on what kind of yoghurt you’re making, so let’s go ahead and split them.
How to make yoghurt with fruit
Step 5. Add the fruit
Right after you take the yoghurt out of the oven or out of the yoghurt maker is the time when you can add whichever fruit that your heart desires. Some people like adding some honey, too. My husband and I love adding bananas to some of your yoghurt. The choice is yours! Once you’re done, pop the yoghurt into the fridge for 4-6 hours, and then enjoy!
Note: you shouldn’t add fruit before the fermentation because the acids in the fruit can interfere with the yoghurt cultures and interrupt the fermentation. You might end up with regular milk instead of yoghurt.
How to make regular plain yoghurt
Step 5. Put it in the fridge for 4-6 hours to cool down and settle.
When you finally take it out of the fridge, there might be some clear liquid at the top – that’s whey! It’s super nutritious, so don’t discard it. Just stir it back in and enjoy your lovely homemade yoghurt!
How to make Greek yoghurt
Step 5. Strain it
Grab the cloth or towel that you’re going to use and place it over a bowl. Then secure the sides of the cloth to the sides of the bowl with laundry hanging clips. Make sure you leave space between the bottom of the bowl and the bottom of the cloth for the whey to drain. Pour yoghurt into your DIY strainer and place the bowl in the fridge. Let it drain for at least a couple of hours. The longer you leave it to drain, the thicker the yoghurt is going to be.
Once it’s done, remove the clips, gather the sides of the cloth and remove it from the bowl. Transfer your now thick yoghurt to a jar or bowl of your choice, and you’re done!
The liquid that remains is whey. Don’t throw it away! It’s super healthy and can be used in a lot of different ways. Check this blogpost for some ideas on how you could use it.
One last tip for yoghurt making
You don’t need to always have a store-bought yoghurt or a packet of live yoghurt culture at hand. You can simply preserve 2 Tbsp. of the yoghurt that you’ve just made. In this way, you can re-use the same cultures for around 10 times. I think that’s pretty cool. Once the yoghurt starts becoming too thin, you’ll know it’s time to get a fresh one.
That’s it, guys! Super easy, isn’t it? Delicious, super healthy and money-saving. I think I’m going to go and have some now.
How about you? Are you ready to make it? Let me know if you do! Do you know of any other ways to make it using things that everyone has at home? Let me know in the comments.
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