Make your own yoghurt

It’s stupidly easy, laughably cheap, and takes next to no hands-on time.

  • 1 quart (946ml) milk (any kind but not “ultra-high pasteurised”/UHP or “ultra heat treated”/UHT)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup non-fat dry milk (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons existing yoghurt with live cultures
  • You can easily scale this up – I made a gallon batch, added 1 cup dried milk powder, and 1 cup of starter.

    Toss the milk into your slow cooker (crock-pot). Hit the setting that cooks hottest for the least time. Go to bed.

    Next day cool the milk to under 120ºF (49ºC). I just unplugged the slow cooker and wandered off for a couple of hours while it cooled down. Don’t do anything else until the milk is below 120ºF (49ºC)but keep it above 90ºF (32ºC) for happy bacteria.

    While you are waiting for the milk to cool you can bring the starter (live yoghurt or cultures) to room temperature.

    Add the dried milk if you’re using it – it increases the nutritional content of the yoghurt and allows it to thicken more easily.

    Add the 2 tablespoons of the existing yogurt, or add the freeze-dried bacteria. Stir it in.

    Cover the slow cooker with several towels and just walk away from it – leave the bacteria to do their job for 8 hours. Bingo, you have rich, silky, delicious home-made yoghurt!

    What next? Portion out the yoghurt, chill it, and eat it with fresh fruit, a spoonful of jam or honey, or just eat it straight up. Put some in a sieve / colander with several thicknesses of cheesecloth and allow it to drain for half an hour or so and you have Greek-style yoghurt. If you allow the yoghurt to drain overnight in the fridge, you have yoghurt cheese – kind of like a spreadable cream cheese. Use the drained whey from the yoghurt in cakes, or to kick start your next batch of yoghurt!

    My total cost for nearly 1.5 US gallons / 5.6litres of home made, natural, live culture yoghurt? About $4. Laughably cheap, really easy, and delicious? I believe we have a winner!

    10 responses to “Make your own yoghurt”

    1. Wow this looks way more easy than the last thing I tried! I cannot wait to go and get some yogurt from my favorite Ethiopian restaurant and try to steal their culture for home use! The last time I did this with the stove and a cooler of warm water I ended up with curdled milk. I guess it must have been too hot. I cannot wait to try this again with the crock pot. Way easier for me to set it and forget it! 😀

    2. I use a yogurt that cultures at room temperature–just stick it in a jar of milk overnight, and voila! (Not to mention yum.)

    3. Those room temp cultures sound great, but I am being cheap and avoiding spending money other than on milk for the next batch!

    4. So, do you mean that you should put the slow cooker on high for 30 minutes (or whatever is the smallest amount of time you can put on the slow cooker) and then let it be on the “stay warm” setting until you wake up and then go through the rest of the steps? I’m a little confused about that.

    5. My slow cooker does 4 hours at 350f at its shortest time, highest temperature option. So long as the milk reaches 80c/176F for about 2.5 hours, you’re good to go.

      “Stay warm” just keeps the milk nice and sterile till you introduce your friendly cultures.

    6. I do a similar thing when I make yogurt but it doesn’t take as long since you don’t have to heat it overnight.
      Same ingredients as yours.
      Note: I have two pots that fit in each other – an unofficial double boiler referred to as top pot and bottom pot.
      1. Turn the crock pot on high and put the lid on to warm up.
      2. Boil water in the bottom pot on the stove.
      3. Invert the top pot over the bottom one so the steam can sterilize the top pot.
      4. Flip it back over, place inside the bottom (water) pot and the fill the top pot with milk.
      5. Heat milk to 185 degrees to kill the bad stuff.
      6. Fill the sink with ice water and then put the top pot in it to cool the milk down to 110. Or you could probably just wait it out.
      7. Turn off the crock pot.
      8. Put the milk, powdered milk and starter in the crock pot and put the lid back on.
      9. Wrap the crock pot in a towel and let sit for 7 hours.
      10. Stir it up and refrigerate.

      I make this in gallon-ish batches and freeze most of it into ice cubes to make smoothies.

    7. thanks for the comment, Sarah – the more ways that people know how to make their own yoghurt the better!

    8. that’s an easy way!
      I boil milk in the microwave in a glass measuring cup (I have GIANT 8c one)
      Cool to room temp, add culture, put in oven w/ lightbulb on overnight. Also easy!

      I make it every week. I used to just leave it on the counter top overnight, but we moved to house with better air conditioning, darn it!

    9. I love easy – it plays to both “I am very busy and have no spare time” and “I am lazy” 😉

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