5 Step Homemade Greek Yogurt

September 5, 2013 § 2 Comments

Creamy… thick… fruity… homemade yogurt. Tastes waaay better than store-bought and is much, much, cheaper.

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I have always wanted to try making homemade yogurt. Why? First off, yogurt is expensive. And second, the health benefits of homemade yogurt. The bacteria cultures in yogurt are so good for your digestive system and you control what goes in to it. The taste is creamy, fresh, tart and so much better than store-bought.

The reason I wanted to perfect my homemade recipe was because I was going through a ton of yogurt  every week and it is SO expensive here in this small, tiny village. Greek yogurt, of course, is all the rage right now and is my absolute favorite. I will share with you how to convert your homemade yogurt into Greek style. My daughter loves it plain, full-fat, with raw honey mixed in. I love it for breakfast with fresh berries, walnuts and flax seeds sprinkled on top. I also use yogurt to make smoothies in the summer and of course popsicles. My Bejeweled Peach Banana Ring Popsicles are a great recipe to try with my homemade yogurt.

Benefits of homemade yogurt.

  1. Cost. It costs me over 5 dollars for a container of Oikos Greek Yogurt. I can easily go through that in 3 days or less. A 4 liter jug of milk costs me 6.50 here in my village.  A 4 liter jug of milk holds 17 cups. A 500g yogurt container holds 2 cups yogurt and costs over 5 bucks. There are almost 17 cups of milk in 4 liters. Therefore, I could make almost 17 cups of yogurt for $6.50 instead of paying 5 bucks for only for 2 cups. That is so worth it.
  2. I control what goes in it. I can make it blueberry, or strawberry, or peach.  I can add honey, or maple syrup, or I can make tzatziki with it!  No additives, no added sugar, just yogurt.
  3. It’s simple to make.

The Steps

The steps are easy. It’s not complicated. You just need a good system.

  1. Heat the milk to sterilize. 185 degrees.
  2. Cool milk to 105 – 115 degrees.
  3. Add starter yogurt.
  4. Incubate at 100 degrees for 9 hours.
  5. Strain whey for Greek yogurt

THAT’S IT. 5 steps. You can do it.  Here we go.

Supplies:

3 mason jars. Who doesn’t love mason jars. I use them for everything.

1.5 tablespoons plain, fresh yogurt. Full-fat. With “active live bacterial cultures”.

6 cups homogenized milk. I have not tried raw milk. Throw out your skim milk. 🙂

Thermometer. I started making yogurt without one, you can, but just go out and spend a couple bucks. It’s worth it and less stressful. I could easily do without my thermometer now but it’s just easier with.

A big pot that fits the mason jars in. Think spaghetti pot, or stock pot.

Instructions:

Sterilize equipment. Pssst.. don’t tell anyone. I skip this step. I wash the mason jars by hand, let them air dry but never sterilize. 

1. Heat milk to 185 degrees. Be careful to not boil over. It’s a mess to clean up.

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Milk is on the stove.

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We are starting to bubble.

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Now we are at a roiling boil. Quick, take off the stove. This will boil over in 2 seconds. It is done.

2. Take off the heat, skim off the skin, let cool to 105 – 115 degrees. Leave in the pot, or pour into mason jars to cool. If you want to cool it down faster, put pot or jars into ice bath in sink. I’m never in a rush so I just let the milk cool in the pot off the heat for a while, then pour into mason jars. Then I start taking the temperature. When the milk has cooled to about 112 degrees, I add my starter. Take out the starter early, so it has a chance to get to room temperature so it doesn’t cool down the milk too much.

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Milk has cooled down in the mason jars. Starter is at room temperature and is ready to be stirred in.

3. Mix 1/2 tablespoon starter into every 2 cups of boiled milk, which equals out to 1/2 tablespoon to each mason jar. Stir very gently. Back and forth, not in circles. This is my starter today. Usually I use Oikos but the store was out.

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4. Put lids on the jars and place jars into pot. Be careful with them. Don’t jiggle them! Fill pot with water at a temperature of 105 degrees or so. Make sure jars submerged, so the yogurt portion is covered in water. Put lid on pot and let incubate in oven.

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5. Take pot out of oven every hour or so and take the temperature of the water. Keep it at 100 degrees. After doing it for a while you know when to top it up with warm water. Usually every couple of hours. Or you can turn on the stove for a minute, and then turn it off. Just to keep it toasty in there. All you have to do is keep the water around 100 degrees. 6. Keep incubated at 100 degrees for 9 or so hours. You can experiment with how long. I found that mine incubated from 830 in the morning until 10 or 1030 at night is perfect. Pop the jars into the fridge, and the next morning I have the freshest yogurt in the world. Dee-licious!!

How to make it Greek.

Greek yogurt is thicker than regular yogurt and less tart. How do you get it? You strain out the whey, pretty simple.

I’m a huge fan of the Greek yogurt, I don’t like it runny. When it’s nice and thick and creamy it’s a better texture. And again, you don’t have to go the store to get it. Here’s how to do it:

Grab a fine sieve strainer. And a coffee filter.

Put the coffee filter over the strainer and place over a bowl.

Scoop your yogurt onto the coffee filter. Let sit there for a while.

You will notice liquid whey, seeping through into your bowl. Let sit until it stops dripping.

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Voila! Greek yogurt. Easy, peasy.

Uses for homemade yogurt

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  • Breakfast, snack, or lunch. Add fresh fruit, honey, maple syrup, vanilla and/or granola.
  • Smoothies
  • Tzatziki
  • Baking substitution for sour cream
  • Add hot sauce and smoked paprika for a wing dip

 Enjoy your homemade yogurt. What an accomplishment!

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