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Although other cultures (no pun intended) use yogurt as an ingredient this recipe is listed in the "Mediterranean" (Greek) section of the YaleCooks recipe collection.  This recipe is also listed in the "Dairy" (yogurt) section of the YaleCooks recipe collection.

Google search: homemade yogurt (click on the three icons to see photos-videos and links to internet recipes)

Homemade Yogurt:

First added: 2012-10-22; Last edited: 2012-11-11

Author: Stephen Chin-Bow (Yale College).  This recipe is dedicate to Dr. Viney Pande and his wife Mona who showed me how to make yogurt using a light bulb.


If I remember I will take photos the next time I prepare this recipe.

Yogurt prepared using this recipe was shared during a YaleCooks potluck in New Haven (2012-10-11).

If your diet includes a lot of yogurt (eg. for breakfast or if you prepare Indian recipes) you can save a lot of money by making your own yogurt.  The regular (non-sale) price for 32 oz of yogurt ranges between $2.50 - $7.00 (depending on where you live, the brand, and other characteristics, such as type of milk, organic source, etc.).  When on sale you may be able to purchase 32 oz of low-fat yogurt for $2 ($2.50 if you prefer whole milk yogurt).  If a gallon of whole milk costs $4.00 then you can make a quart of yogurt for just $1.00 (plus the cost of the energy to heat the milk and "hot water").  A $1 savings, may not seem a lot, but if you eat a quart a yogurt each week over a year the savings may add up to at least $50.

Green Mountain Creamery (0% Fat Greek Yogurt): Used 2012-10-06 and 2012-10-22 with an expiration date of 2012-10-20 (a 6 oz container costs $1.30, which is okay, because you only buy it once).

Essential Supplies & Ingredients: (32 oz = 2 quarts ≈ 2 liters)

• one clean pot (about 2 quarts for heating the milk; a clean lid is needed during the cooling)
• one large pot (about 6 quarts for the incubation; preferably one with a cover to reduce the cooling rate)
a clean 2 quart plastic or glass container and lid (tall polypro "Chinese soup" containers and wide mouth canning jars work well)

• 32 oz (1 liter) whole milk (see below; ideally, from a container which has never been opened)

• 3 - 4 oz (90 - 125 ml) "yogurt starter", such as an unopened container of plain commercial yogurt (see below for a cheaper option)


Preparing the Milk: Rinse the 32 oz container with hot water.  Fill container with milk.  Transfer milk to 2 quart pot.  Wash-rinse the 32 oz container with hot water.  Heat milk over medium heat until it begins to boil (the goal is to use heat to reduce the amount of bacteria and yeast which may compete with Lactobacillus and other bacteria from the "starter").  Watch carefully, because boiling milk will quickly create a lot of froth.  You will have a big mess to clean up if it boils over.  Turn off the heat, cover the pot, and allow to cool.

Adding the "yogurt starter": When the pot of milk is cool enough to comfortably hold in your hands (for 30 seconds) you are ready for the next step.  Transfer about 3 - 4 tablespoons (3 - 4 oz, 125 ml) of the yogurt starter to the 32 oz container.  Pour in approximately 1/2 C (250 ml) of the warm milk.  Stir gently until no lumpgs of yogurt are present.  Pour in the remainder of the warm milk.  Stir for 20 - 30 seconds or until well mixed.  Cover container, pressing down if possible while sealing to remove as much air as posible.

Place the 32 oz yogurt container in the large 6 quart pot.  Carry the pot over to the sink.  Add "hot" water (temperature not recorded) until the container is almost covered.  Carry the large pot holding the yogurt culture and hot water to a counter space where it will not be disturbed for 9 - 12 hours.  Cover the pot and try to be patient.  Do not move the yogurt or peek!

Success?!: After 9 - 12 hours remove the yogurt culture from the "water bath".  You should be able to see if the milk has thickened by slowly tilting the container.  If you are not planning to use the yogurt immediately (eg. to make homemade naan bread) transfer the unopened container of yogur to the refrigerator and chill for a few hours.  Before you open the lid of your yogurt culture container for the first time remember to prepare a clean container to hold your next "yogurt starter" (see next section).

Here is a family tradition-trick which I learned from my friends Anjana and Piyali.  One of the best ways to use a freshly made batch of yogurt is to make Indian naan bread.  The active bacteria in the yogurt will provide the leavening actionn needed to make the naan rise (when baked).  If you use freshly made yogurt there is no need to add yeast to your naan!

Suggested Method for Saving a "Yogurt Starter": The first time you open your 32oz container of homemade yogurt you should transfer enough to completely fill a small 4 oz container with a lid which can be used to remove most of the air.  This becomes the source of your "yogurt starter" the next time you make yogurt.  You never need to buy commercial yogurt again!

Suggested Variations: If you want to reduce your fat or calorie intake this recipe also works well with milk.  This recipe was tested successfully using Trader Joe's brand organic nonfat skim milk (2012-11-12).

Suggested Serving Ideas: Serve yogurt with granola, homemade jams and jellies, fresh fruit, etc.

Annotated Internet Links:

1) The YaleSkillsShare group has a yogurt recipe (from 2012-02-16) on their website.  Thanks Shizue!

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