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Monday, October 24, 2011

Making healthy and delicious yogurt is easy!


1) 4 cups of local milk – 2% is best but any kind will do. I say local because you do not want to use ultra-homogenized milk, it doesn’t work as well. This goes for cheeses, too.

2) A healthy small container of yogurt. Plain or vanilla works best if you plan to add flavors.

3) 1/2 cup of dried milk (optional – adds to yogurt thickness)

4) Any flavors you want to add (optional). I sometimes cook with vanilla bean or coconut and add a dab of extract.

Heat milk on medium until it reaches 180-190 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, this is when the milk just starts to bubble or froth at the sides. Stir regularly and do not scald because that tastes nasty!

During the heating add dry milk and any flavors you have chosen.

When you have reached temperature, take off heat and cool to 110-120 degrees. This is when you can put your finger in and hold it without risking a burn. You can let this happen slowly or you can put pan into cold water in the sink and chill it faster. This is what I usually do.

When it is down to 110-120 degrees, add ½ cup of that healthy yogurt. Stir until it dissolves.

Put yogurt into a container or containers – I use ½ pint canning jars because they fit perfect into my yogurt maker (makes 5 of these jars). I then let the yogurt sit in the maker over night. If you do not have a yogurt maker don’t worry, you don’t really need one. I just happen to get one free on freecycle’s local exchange (if you don’t use freecycle, you need to find out more about it!) See below for ideas on how to incubate your yogurt without a maker!

After your yogurt jars have incubated the 6-8 hours, put in the fridge. Make sure you save ½ cup of yogurt for your next batch!

Incubating your yogurt without a yogurt maker (the key is to keep it about 100 degrees for 6-8 hours):

Set the stove dial half way between OFF and 200° on your electric oven, or at approximately 100°. The light which signifies the oven is on, pops on for a moment, and then pops off when the temperature is reached. Set your jar of yogurt in the oven and leave it for between 6 and 8 hours (take out the yogurt when it is thick)

You can pour the warm milk combined with the starter, into a large thermos and let it sit overnight.

You can also use a medium sized picnic cooler by placing the jars inside the cooler and then add two jars filled with hot tap water, to keep the temperature warm enough. After 4 hours, check the yogurt to see if it is thick enough. If it isn't then refill the water jars with more hot water, return them to the cooler, and let the yogurt sit another 4 hours.

You can set the yogurt on top of a warm radiator, or close to a wood stove. In this instance you might put the jars in a bowl of warm water to keep the temperature even.

If the yogurt does not turn out as thick as you like you can use these for smooothies! My nieces and nephews love them!


  1. This yogurt was great, even my 14 year old daughter loved it! We added a little honey for sweetness. I think I will try to flavor with vanilla bean next!

    1. I get whole vanilla beans from the local co-op. I chop them up and put them in the milk while its heating - I love it!


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