Homemade yogurt is easier to make than you may think. It is fresher, tastier and cheaper than store-bought.
In our family, we started making our own yogurt a few years ago when we couldn’t find store-bought yogurt made with fresh, non-homogenized whole milk. Many store-bought yogurts contain added fillers, stabilizers and sugars that I’d rather not eat. Making our own yogurt has also cut down on the amount of plastic containers in our recycling bin every week.
The only ingredients you need to make yogurt at home is milk and a small amount of yogurt.
Milk: You can use any milk (any fat content) you like but whole milk will result in creamiest, thickest yogurt. The only type of milk that will not work is ultra-pasteurized. We look for fresh, whole milk that comes from grass-fed cows.
Why milk from grass-fed cows? It is better for the environment and growing evidence indicates that milk from grass-fed cows has a healthier mix of fatty acids and higher levels of vitamin E, selenium and beta-carotene – antioxidants that protect cells from free-radical damage. Check out this Globe and Mail article “Is it healthier to drink grass-fed or organic milk?”
Yogurt: Start with your favourite store-bought yogurt. Experiment with different brands and see which one gives you the best results.
Do I need a thermometer? Yes. You will need to heat the milk to 185F/85C and then cool to 110F/43C.
How do I make flavoured yogurt? Simply combine plain yogurt and your favourite ingredients (see below for some ideas) in a blender and mix on high until combined (30 seconds to 1 minute). Consume within 2-3 days.
These are some of our family’s favourite flavoured yogurt combinations – for 1 cup / 250 ml of yogurt:
Blueberry: 1-2 tbsp of homemade blueberry jam.
Lemon: 1/2 tsp of lemon extract and honey to taste. Start with 1-2 tbsp and adjust as needed.
Vanilla: 1/2-1 tsp of vanilla extract and honey or maple syrup to taste.
Chocolate: 1 tbsp of cacao powder and 1-2 tbsp of maple syrup.
Note: The recipe below assumes that all your cooking tools and equipment are clean; and that you are using pasteurized milk (if you are using raw milk, you will have to pasteurize it before you start).
- 2 litres of milk, 2% or whole milk
- 3 tablespoons/46 grams of plain yogurt
Heat the milk to 185 F/85 C in a double boiler or a heavy bottom pan. A double boiler is preferable as it prevents the milk from scorching.
Place the top of the double boiler in cold water to cool milk rapidly to 112-115 F/ 46 C. Tip: We usually achieve this by placing the top of the double boiler in the sink filled with cold water.
Remove one cup of the warm milk and blend it in a separate bowl with the yogurt. Whisk into remaining milk. The temperature of the mixture should now be 110-112 F/43 C.
Pour the mixture into clean containers, cover and place in a warm place for 4 - 7 hours. The mixture inside needs to stay at about 110 F/43 C. Tip: Wrap containers in a blanket and place inside an insulated cooler. Other methods include using a yogurt maker, a crock pot or a dehydrator to keep jars warm.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before eating. Homemade yogurt will keep in the refrigerator for 10-21 days.
Enjoy and feel proud!