Yogurt has many health benefits. It’s good for your gut, provides a daily source of calcium, and is often better tolerated than milk. Plus, you can easily make yogurt right from your very kitchen without having to pay for unnecessary (and wasteful) packaging at the store. You’ll also avoid all the added sugar, artificial colors, and artificial flavors often present in commercial yogurt products.
If you’ve been wondering how to make homemade yogurt for yourself, here’s an easy step-by-step guide you can use today.
5 Quick Steps How to Make Homemade Yogurt
You might assume making your own yogurt is complicated or too time-consuming to do yourself. Thankfully, the opposite is actually true. It saves you time, money, and once you learn how to make homemade yogurt, you’ll be able to do it anytime without thinking twice about it.
And now, let’s get into the exact steps that can create delicious, creamy homemade yogurt. Note that the method can vary slightly depending on your preferences. Use this as a guide and make adjustments along the way, if you need to.
1. Heat the Milk
To start with, you’ll need to kill any bacteria, spores, mold, or pathogens that may be in your milk before making yogurt.
Keep in mind bacteria is not always bad—in fact, yogurt is so beneficial because it contains the good bacteria also known as probiotics. But heating the milk slightly helps get rid of any “bad guys” that could be lurking. It also alerts the protein structure of the milk, giving your yogurt that wonderful thicker texture.
To do this, you’ll need to heat the milk to 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
Note: Your milk can be whatever variety you prefer—skin milk, two percent, whole, goat’s milk, etc. Just know that the more fat the milk contains, the thicker your yogurt will be.
2. Cool the Milk
Once the milk has reached 180 degrees, it’s time to cool it down again! The bad bacteria has been killed at this point.
Cool your milk to around 115 degrees Fahrenheit. When you’re both heating and cooling the milk, use an instant cooking thermometer to watch the temperatures closely.
3. Add the Starter
Yogurt starter is the “secret sauce” to how to make homemade yogurt. It’s the good bacteria your yummy loves. Yogurt starter is typically added to every one cup of milk. If you’re using a premade yogurt instead, about three tablespoons is generally best.
The type of good bacteria matters here too. Some of the best to make sure your starter contains include:
- Streptococcus thermophilus
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Bifidobacterium lactis
- Lactobacillus bulgaricus
Also, make sure your starter is all-natural and doesn’t contain added sugars, artifical flavors, preservatives, gluten, or GMOs.
Once you’ve added the yogurt starter, stir it gently until it’s been distributed throughout the milk. Now, it can start doing its work creating yogurt for you.
4. Wait About 8 Hours
Your soon-to-be yogurt now needs a lukewarm environment and incubation time.
Pour your mixture into jars (mason jars work great) and wait for around 7-9 hours, depending on your preference. (Yogurt gets thicker and tangier the longer it’s incubating.) Check on it periodically and you'll see creamy, thick, nutritious yogurt take form before your eyes.
If you’re used to commercial yogurt brands, you might notice the yogurt tastes extra tangy the first few times you make homemade yogurt. That’s because it doesn’t contain tons and tons of added sugars or other ingredients that ultimately take away from its taste and nutrition.
You can make the transition easier by adding all-natural ingredients (to the finished product) like fruit, maple syrup, or pure vanilla extract.
5. Chill in the Fridge
After the yogurt has formed, it will need to cool down more. A couple of hours in your fridge will do just that—plus make the yogurt even thicker and creamier.
And voila! You know have really delicious and healthy yogurt of your very own creation.
Precautions With Yogurt Starters
This process is so simple that we believe everyone should be able to easily make yogurt—and save time and money—in their own homes. However, be sure to choose brands that are transparent about their products.
Many supermarket brands of yogurt starts use flavorings, fillers, and other junk to bulk up their products with providing much, if any, actual benefit at the end of the day. We encourage you to use brands like Belle and Bella Yogostarter that contain live, active cultures and list them out clearly. Yogogourmet is another great option.
At Nature’s Ideal, we believe in products that are natural and convenient for you and your family. Learning how to make homemade yogurt (with a healthy yogurt starter) is a great way boost your family’s nutrition, get everyone more involved in the kitchen, and promote an overall healthier lifestyle!
Shop all our yogurt starters here.