DIY: Homemade Plain Yogurt

Guess who’s sitting in the reading room of a world-reknowned research library…

…writing on her food blog. I’m such a great academic, I know.

At least I don’t text while I’m at Disneyland. You know those rumored labyrinth of tunnels that runs underneath the theme park? I have it on good authority that they actually exist and, what’s more, that that’s where Ursula drags all the people who are texting and performs her “Poor Unfortunate Souls” solo. So that the next time you see them, it’ll be with their fins nailed to the floor singing a mermaid rendition of “It’s a Small World” in the infamous ride.

But really–who pays $100+ to walk into the happiest place on earth, plop down on the nearest bench, and have blase conversations with people hundreds of mile away about the recent film “Looper”?

I mean, it was a good film, bub, but let’s face it–it can wait. And frankly, nobody really cares if you thought there was a major flaw in the time warp logic, because time travel has nothing on JGL’s badass-ness…if that’s a word. It will be in four years when I come out with my doctorate. That’s the first word I’m going to coin. Badassness, read: JGL.

Speaking of acronyms, the world is chock full of acronym-based crazes these days–some great (like DIY) and some not so much (YOLO, anyone?). I’m personally a huge proponent of DIY, not least because:

a) it’s easy on the pocketbook,

b) it’s fresher (if we’re talking about food–I’m not sure whether a homemade sweater is any “fresher” than a store-bought one unless you shear the sheep yourself or something), and

c) it makes you feel like you actually possess some semblance of control over your otherwise untameable destiny.

Flour Power: There are plenty of DIY projects out there that are waiting to be created! If you ever feel blue and need something to do, make something fun and you’ll feel like brand new!

Now, let’s not jump ahead of our horses here. As recently as two years ago, I didn’t see the point of DIY. It contained everything that irked me: an action verb (I was much more of a passive voice kind of gal), an unspecified pronoun, and a much-unneeded reference to the lazy-bummed being I was.

Now, I not only love DIY (even though I always get it mixed up with DUI, much to my own social embarrassment), but I’m even a little bit addicted to it (and the use of dangling pronouns, apparently)! I’ve been making my own granola, ice cream, hummus, pesto, and now, my own yogurt. It’s as easy as two recipes and about 20 minutes in which you can check on the progress of your yogurt over the span of six hours.

DIY: Do-it…yogurt!

Do this. Print it. Save it. You’ll get a bucket full of yogurt and a buck more in your wallet. Plus, homemade yogurt can be tweaked to have a more subtle taste than most biting tart plain yogurts. What’s not to love?

Happy reading, and happy eatings!

Homemade Plain Yogurt
What you’ll need:
  • 2 cups milk*
  • 3-4 tablespoons plain yogurt**
  • A medium pot, a towel, and a warm spot in your kitchen (preferably the oven)

*Note on milk: You can basically use any fat-percentage milk. I use 2%–whole milk would make your yogurt creamier, as expected, while I’m assuming skim milk will make your yogurt a bit thinner. However, don’t feel like you need to use whole milk in order to make great (and guilt-free) yogurt!

**Note on yogurt: It’s VERY important that you check your store-bought yogurt’s ingredients list–if you see “Live and Active Cultures” listed, you’re good to go! If your yogurt brand is missing this ingredient, your yogurt won’t cultivate properly. The type of plain yogurt you use is completely up to you, although I recommend using a nice tart and thick Greek yogurt–the tangy bite of the yogurt will fade a little bit when you make your own (and that’s completely fine with me, since I’m not a huge fan of super-tart yogurt anyway).


Step 1: HEAT UP your milk.

Over medium flame, heat up your milk in saucepan until it begins to foam (just before it boils). Your milk will reach a temperature of about 180 degrees F at this point. Allow it to cool for 15 minutes, or until you can comfortably dip a finger in for a few seconds without scalding yourself (for those of you with a thermometer, it’ll be about 110 degrees F).

Step 2: ADD yogurt cultures.

When your milk reaches the desired  temperature, stir in 3 to 4 tablespoons of your store-bought yogurt until completely incorporated. I typically use store-bought yogurt as a starter each time just because it yields the most consistent results, but I’ve heard that you can definitely use your own homemade batches as starter.

Step 3: COVER AND KEEP WARM for 6 hours.

Cover the pot with a towel and place the pot in a warm place. I like to heat up my oven briefly and then turn off the heat before placing my yogurt inside the oven. I usually fire it up for a moment every hour or so to keep the temperature stable inside. (Just don’t forget to turn off the oven like I did! If it gets too hot, your yogurt will simply seize and the cultures won’t work anymore.) Allow it to sit inside for about 6 hours, until your yogurt is pretty firm when jiggled lightly. After that, you can eat it straight, but I definitely prefer refrigerating it overnight and anticipating my next morning’s breakfast. Bon appetit!



19 Replies to “DIY: Homemade Plain Yogurt”

  1. Hi there 🙂 ….everytime i would come across a homemade yogurt post, it would always have stuff that is a bit too much hassle just for yogurt :/ ….being an indian, I’ve always seen yogurt not being any hassle at all…. and today I came across 2 blog posts on just that 🙂 …one is yours and another by an Indian lady (ofcourse :))
    In India, I’ve always seen my aunts just take the main bowl of yogurt (in the night, before sleeping) which has some yogurt left here and there after being consumed, add some warmed up milk back to it, mix it to incorporate all those bits of yogurt and leave it gently covered on the counter overnight to do its thing. And you have fresh yogurt by morning 🙂 …. the better your diary, the better it tastes.
    One thing about the tartness…. fresh yogurt is almost never tart (which I like btw). As it grows older by the day, the tartness keeps increasing…. and depending on the age, it has different uses in India. The fresh one is used to make the yogurt drink (sweet/salty lassi) and older one is used in curries for its tartness…usually replacing tomatoes. Gosh, look at me go bla bla bla…. guess i got too happy seeing 2 sensible yogurt posts today 🙂

    1. Can I please just say how absolutely NOT blabby and extraordinarily GREAT your comment was?! Talk about every blogger’s dream! I’ve never heard of hassle-free yogurt-making as a thing before, but it really does make sense…and I’m glad you brought that to my attention, because otherwise I would’ve always thought I was one of the *only* people who didn’t write five pages’ worth of instructions on yogurt-making. (Of course, there’s probably some finesse involved that will get you different qualities of yogurt, like straining for Greek yogurt, but I never understood the tomes written about making a batch of your average plain yogurt.) Thank YOU for this excellent insight–I’m going to make some mango lassi to celebrate! Hope you’ll join me 😉 I’m looking forward to seeing more of you around, girl!

      1. oh wow…hehe… glad to be of benefit 🙂 … i want some mango lassi too… too bad the season is already gone…u can never have enough mangoes …aaahhh 🙂

  2. I’ve made my own goat cheese but never yogurt…and I’ve been wanting to for so long but I’m scared!!! You make it look and sound so very easy…I just might try it this weekend!
    I love what I’ve seen on this first page and I can’t wait to spend the next hour…or two…lurking around your blog to see what great things you’ve got posted!

    1. Thank you so much for the sweet thoughts, Kristin! Do you have a recipe you particularly like for making goat cheese? I’ve always wanted to tackle it, but haven’t found the time to look up the method just yet, so I’d love it if you could link me up. You’ll have a great time with the yogurt–it really is a cinch as long as you stay patient! I’m glad you stopped by–hope you enjoy some more readings!

      1. Here’s a link to the goat cheese I made….I’ve never tried it any other way but this seemed to work great!

  3. I love yogurt and this is very easy to do…

    1. Yes, definitely–if you try it, let me know how it goes!

  4. Oh great recipe! I love yogurt! Making your own sounds delicious and brilliant!!

    1. Thanks, Jess! I hope you get a chance to make it–it would be right in keeping with your fit ‘n and healthy lifestyle 🙂

  5. Fun post! I’ve never made my own yogurt – a shocking admission, I know. One of those things I keep intending to get around to, just like making my own ricotta. One of these days! Thanks for this.

    1. Ricotta’s on my list, too! Funny how these things work out. It looks so simple, too…

  6. thanks for the post. looking for youret today and there you are
    saima’s version is going to get a try too

    1. yogurt
      spelling sheesh

    2. Well, glad this happy randomstance popped up then! I hope your yogurt adventures go well–I’d love to hear how it goes over.

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  8. What a wonderful recipe. I never thought of making yogurt myself…and I eat it almost every day! Gotta give this a try. 🙂

    1. Definitely, Amy! I never thought about it either until relatively recently, but it’s such a cost-saver. Hope you get to try it out!

  9. Just a comment for all: you cannot make yogurt with ultra-pasteurized milk. Make sure you are buying simply pasteurized or raw milk, or you will waste your time and money.

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