How to make yogurt at home? If you think that making yogurt at home is difficult, then you should read this page. It’s so easy to make, healthy and cheaper too, and you don’t need any special equipment to make it.
We've been making yogurt for many years now and will never go back to store bought again. This homemade yogurt tastes really good and is without that mouth puckering sour taste you get from the ones you buy. It is milky in flavour with just a hint of sourness.
Below you will find instructions that go into detail on how to make yogurt at home. If this is your first time making yogurt please read the entire page before starting.
How To Make Yogurt At Home
To make yogurt you need two ingredients milk and a yogurt starter, plus some basic kitchen equipment and utensils.
1. Milk For Making Yogurt
Yogurt can be made with a number of different types of milk, but the best milk for making yogurt is milk that you like the flavor of. For example, if you don’t like the flavor of goat’s milk then don’t use it, as the flavor of the milk will still remain in the yogurt.
For a thick and creamy yogurt, the milk also needs to contain fat, so full cream milk is ideal.
We make a milk powder yogurt with a combination of full cream and skim milk powder.
2. Yogurt Culture (Starter)
In order for the milk to turn into yogurt you will need a yogurt starter, the starter can either be a store-bought yogurt or, you can make your own yogurt culture or, buy a yogurt starter powder.
Using store-bought yogurt is the most convenient method. You just need to buy a single-serve container as you will only use 2 tablespoons of yogurt.
If you already enjoy a particular brand of yogurt that doesn’t have flavorings and stabilizers in it, purchase that for your starter.
If you don’t have a favorite store-bought yogurt experiment with different brands until you get a flavor that you like. It’s important that you enjoy the flavor of the starter yogurt, as the tartness and texture of the starter will have an effect on the yogurt you make.
When you have made your first batch of homemade yogurt put some aside as the yogurt starter for the next batch, and you can repeat this every time you make a batch of yogurt.
However, there will come a time when you notice the flavor of the yogurt is changing and becoming sourer, this is a good indication that you will need to buy a store-bought starter yogurt for the next batch.
The starter that we use is a lot less sour than most brands we have tasted. It’s a brand that we have been buying for years with consistent results. Our homemade yogurt is always milky with only a hint of sourness.
3. Yogurt Making Equipment
You’ll be happy to know you don’t need to buy that fancy electronic yogurt maker or that “special” yogurt strainer everyone is telling you that you need.
All you need is:
- a large container to make the yogurt in, it could even double up as the storage container
- a metal spoon
- a large saucepan
- a measuring jug or cups
- stove for heating the milk
- several clean tea towels for wrapping
- and an oven (optional)
Yes, that’s it, that's all you need to make yogurt at home.
About the Container
Yogurt can be made in any container glass or plastic just as long as it is large enough to hold all the milk.
We use a large ceramic bowl to make the yogurt in, and later transfer the yogurt to a plastic storage container.
This recipe makes about 1.4 kg of yogurt
As mentioned earlier we use milk powder to make yogurt and here are the quantities that we use to make the milk:
- 100 grams full cream milk powder
- 100 grams skim milk powder
- 1.4 litres of water
Mix the milk powder and water then proceed to make the yogurt.
You will also need 2 tablespoons of natural yogurt which will be used as the starter.
Note: If you don’t want to use milk powder use 1.4 litres of full cream milk instead.
Step 1 - Heating The Milk
Place the milk into a large saucepan and bring to a boil. I recommend that you stir the bottom of the saucepan as the milk heats up, to stop the milk from sticking to the bottom of the pot and prevent burning. Once boiled remove from the heat.
Step 2 - Cool The Milk
Allow the milk to cool to a lukewarm temperature. The yogurt culture thrives when it is warm but will die when the temperature is too hot. The correct temperature of the milk can be determined by two methods.
The first way is by touching the outside of the pot at milk level with the palm of your hand for a few seconds. If the pot feels slightly warm to the touch, this is ideal. If the pot feels hot to touch it needs to be cooled longer.
The second method is to take a spoonful of the milk and pour it into the palm of your hand. The milk should feel just warm, about as warm as your breath feels when exhaled onto the palm of your hand.
Step 3 - Warm Oven
The oven will be used as an incubator for the yogurt and can be warmed while you are preparing Step 4. Warm the oven on a very low temperature for 2 – 3 minutes, to just barely warm it, then turn the oven off. Be careful not to overheat the oven. The air inside the oven needs to feel warm and comfortable when you place your hand inside.
Tip: Using an oven for incubation is optional. Any area that is warm will do, just as long as the yogurt can left undisturbed while it is being made.
Step 4 - Warm and Sterilize Container
Pour boiling water into the container the yogurt will be made in and over the stirring spoon. Drain the water from the container - there is no need to wipe it dry. While the container is still warm move onto Step 5.
Step 5 - Mix the Milk And Stater
Place 2 tablespoons of starter yogurt into the bowl. Remove the milk skin that has formed on top of the milk, then slowly pour the milk into the container. Use the sterilized spoon to gently stir the starter yogurt into the milk as it is poured.
Tip: Don’t use too much of the starter yogurt as it will make the yogurt sourer.
Step 6 - Cover and Wrap
Tightly seal the container with plastic food wrap. Then wrap the bowl in several layers of clean tea towels, and carefully place the container into the warm oven.
We wrap the bowl when it’s inside the oven. To do this lay several tea towels out on an oven rack, then carefully move the plastic-covered bowl on top of the tea towels and completely wrap the bowl.
Step 7 - Incubate
Once the yogurt is in the oven, leave it there undisturbed for 5 hours. After five hours, check to see if the yogurt has set while the bowl is still in the oven.
Uncover a small section of the bowl, if the yogurt looks thick and set it’s ready if not, give it another hour or longer if necessary.
Note: If the conditions are right the yogurt should be made in around 5 – 6 hours. The longer you leave the yogurt out the sourer it will be.
Once made you will notice a little or a lot of water on top of the yogurt this is whey, and it’s normal. The whey can either be mixed back into the yogurt, making the yogurt thinner or, spooned off keeping the yogurt thick and creamy.
Note: The amount of whey that separates from the yogurt, is determined by the warmth of the milk and the incubation environment. More warmth equals more whey.
Once made transfer the yogurt to a container that can be sealed.
Step 8 - Storage
The yogurt needs to be stored in the fridge and as it chills it will thicken some more. Consume within one and half weeks. Remember to put some aside as the starter for the next batch.
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How to Make Yogurt
- 2 litre bowl
- Mixing spoon
- tea towels or towels for wrapping
- 100 grams full cream milk powder
- 100 grams skim milk powder
- 1.4 litres of water
- 2 tablespoons natural plain yogurt
- Place the milk powder and water into a large saucepan, stir and mix well.
- Bring the milk to the boil, stir occasionally. Turn off the heat.
- Allow the milk to cool to lukewarm.
- Pour some boiling water into the 2 litre bowl, this will heat and sterilize it. Tip out the hot water. Add 2 tablespoons of natural plain yogurt to the warmed bowl.
- Remove the milk skin from the milk, then pour the milk into the bowl, while stirring in the yogurt.
- Tightly cover the bowl with plastic food wrap and wrap the bowl in several tea towels or towels.
- Place the bowl into a pre-warmed oven. To warm the oven turn it on low heat for 3 minutes, then turn it off. Alternatively, you can just place the bowl in a warm area.
- Leave the yogurt undisturbed for 5 hours.
- After 5 hours the yogurt should be thick and ready.
- If a liquid has formed on top of the yogurt this is whey, it can either be mixed back into the yogurt or spooned off.
- Transfer the yogurt to a storage container and refrigerate.
- All full cream milk power could be used instead for a thicker creamier yogurt.
- If you don’t want to use milk powder, use 1.4 litres of full cream milk.
- Reserve 2 tablespoons of your homemade yogurt as a starter for your next batch
This blog post for How to Make Yogurt at Home was first published 1 March 2019. Updated with new images on 15 July 2020.