This recipe has just 2 ingredients! Milk and yogurt.
I know you’re thinking, “wait why do I need yogurt if I’m making yogurt?”
Well, you need live active cultures, and the simplest way to get those is from yogurt. You could purchase yogurt starter in some specialty markets and online. I made mine with yogurt because it was easier to find. Use a good brand of plain yogurt with no additives in the ingredient list, just milk/cream and cultures.
In the United States, products labeled as yogurt must contain the cultures Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus (good bacteria). For the low down on that check out the US Code of Federal Regulations; it details what our government has decided constitutes the food product yogurt. It’s pretty eye opening to read what must be in the product and what can be in the product!
Why make yogurt? Well, when you make it and eat it you’ll know why. It tastes better and you can vary the flavor by adding whole fruits or homemade sauces/jams and your own choice of sweetener.
I decided to try making it after hearing my son rave about how good a national brand of yogurt looked in an advertising campaign aimed at children. We researched the ingredients and nutritional info for that national brand and didn’t like what we found. It started a good conversation about food labeling and marketing.
I used whole milk Greek yogurt and whole milk for my experiment because I like the flavor, I just eat a smaller portion since it’s higher in fat. My batch yielded 4 cups of yogurt at 37 grams of fat for the whole batch. So, one serving for me at 1/3 cup is really just a tad over 3 grams of fat per serving. You could use any fat combination of plain yogurt and milk you like, it won’t impact the culturing process.
If you like thick yogurt, try straining it through some layered cheesecloth or a coffee filter until you get the thickness you want. Straining your yogurt for 12 to 24 hours will give you a mixture similar to a lighter, moister cream cheese (yogurt cheese).
Homemade Yogurt Process
Gently heat 4 cups milk on stovetop or in the microwave to 180 degrees Fahrenheit
Let cool to a temperature of 115 degrees Fahrenheit
Stir in 4 ounces of room temperature yogurt
Keep mixture at a temperature of around 115 degrees Fahrenheit for 4 to 5 hours – Don’t stir it while it’s setting though, it needs calm
Transfer to the refrigerator for storage
Eat within 1 week
I used my crockpot preheated on low then turned off to keep my yogurt mixture warm. A food thermometer kept me informed of the temperature. When it fell below 115 degrees, I turned the crockpot back on low for 5 minutes, then turned it off again.
Eat and enjoy!