How to make homemade greek yogurt

Homemade greek yogurtBreakfast by Janine is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Hey there everyone!

I would like to share my recipe for making some delicious homemade greek yogurt. Although there are some great commercial greek yogurts out there, today we’re going to discover how to make the single best homemade greek yogurt in a few simple steps, for a fraction of the cost and without a yogurt maker! Side bonus: no packaging waste. Sounds like a good deal right? Exactly, so let’s get started.

Ingredients needed

– 1 gallon of milk (3,8 L), you can use any kind. 1%, 2% or whole milk
– 1/4 cup (59 ml) of plain yogurt 
– A whisk
– Cheese cloth or a tea towel

Homemade greek yogurt, step by step guide

1. Take the gallon of milk (3,8 L) and pour it into a large pot, minus 1/4 cup (59 ml), we need to save that for later. Make sure you have a lid a available for the pot you’re using.

2. Bring the pot almost to a boil, and then turn of the heat.

Extra info
This will take about 3 minutes if the milk is at room temperature or 5-7 minutes if it’s just out of the fridge. As the milk is just starting to bubble around the edges of the saucepan, remove from the burner.

3. Let it cool until the temperature reaches 105-118 degrees (40-48 degrees Celsius). Meanwhile continue with the next step.

Extra info
You can use a thermometer for this, or just use your fingers. When you can hold your fingertips to the side of the pan, for ten seconds without burning them you know it is ready.

4. Mix together 1/4 cup (59 ml) of plain greek yogurt and the 1/4 cup (59 ml) milk that we reserved in step 1.

5. When your big pot has reached 105-118 degrees (40-48 degrees Celsius), remove the film (the little layer of skin) on the top. Then throw in the yogurt/milk we mixture we made in step 3.

6. Whisk everything together nice and gently, then cover the pot with a lid.

7. Wrap the pot in a towel and leave it in your oven overnight with the oven light on (between 9 and 16 hours). This will keep the milk incubated at 100-110 degrees (38-43 degrees Celsius).

Extra info
No access to an oven light or an oven in general? Check out the #4 of the FAQ below.

8. Now, finally, after waiting for such a long your yogurt is ready!

Extra info
The exact time will depend on the cultures used, the temperature of the yogurt, and your yogurt preferences. The longer yogurt sits, the thicker and more tart it becomes. If this is your first time making yogurt, start checking it after 4 hours and stop when it reaches a flavor and consistency you like. Avoid jostling or stirring the yogurt until it has fully set. A handy trick to test if the yogurt is done when you tilt the measuring cup and the yogurt moves away from the side in one mass.

9. Now it’s time to make this yogurt greek! Use a cheesecloth or tea towel and start draining it inside a colander. You should let the yogurt strain at room temperature.

Extra info
Keep the cloth in place with several rubberbands stretched around the outside of the bowl. Then pour your yogurt onto the strainer you’ve created. The longer you let it drain the thicker the yogurt.

10. To make the draining go faster, you can squeeze the towel every few hours.

11. Congratulations! After about 6 hours your homemade greek yogurt is ready.

12. You can eat your yogurt right away or put the yogurt in an air tight container and refrigerate until you do feel like having some of you own delicious greek yogurt. If you feel like you made a bit too much, you can just freeze it!

13. Lastly, don’t throw away the whey that’s left from the straining process, it can be useful for other recipes.

Homemade greek yogurt

Homemade greek yogurt
Fresh greek yoghurt by Project Manhatten is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0


All done!

Of course you can just eat your freshly made greek yogurt as it is. But you can also use it to make a delicious breakfast or a smoothie. For more inspiration on cooking with greek yogurt check out this awesome cookbook. If your GY didn’t turn out they way you hoped, check out the FAQ below, it might give you some answers! If not, please leave me a message below and I will get back to you asap!

Your next batch of homemade greek yogurt

Now that you’re making your own yogurt, you can use some of the last batch as a start for you new batch. Make sure to save around 1/2 cup (118 ml) for your next batch. If you notice odd flavors in your yogurt after a few batches it could indicate that this strain is becoming weak. This could be the result of outside bacteria taking up residence in your yogurt. Don’t worry though! It is safe to eat as long as it tastes good to you,. Though it’s probably smart to use some store-bought yogurt for you next batch, just to make sure your making the tastiest yogurt you can possible make!

Greek yogurt makers

Making greek yogurt at home is a lot of fun, especially when you make it from scratch. Though it’s understandable that some people just don’t have the time or resources to make their own GY. In those cases a greek yogurt maker is a perfect solution. They basically do the work for you! There are a lot of yogurt makers out there, but only a few that also make greek yogurt. I’ve personally tested two that I can definitely recommend. They both produce high quality GY and have a high durability. It’s an investment, but if you make a new batch once in a while you’ll definitely get your moneys worth.

Dash Greek Yogurt Maker

4.7 Stars (4.7 / 5) – Read reviews
Dash Greek Yogurt Maker was released last year by getting funded on kickstarter. It produces some excellent greek yogurt (and looks kinda cool as well!). Check out this video to see how it works.

More info

Euro Cuisine GY50 Greek Yogurt Maker

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5) – Read reviews
Euro Cuisine GY50 Greek Yogurt Maker is another great alternative. It has lots of positive reviews and gets the job done. There’s currently a major discount on this GY maker, so if you’re looking to buy, now is the time!

More info

Frequently asked questions

1. Do I need to use greek yogurt as a starter or is plain yogurt fine as well?
– No. It’s not needed to use greek yogurt as starter to make greek yogurt, plain yogurt is fine. This is because there aren’t any fundamental differences between the bacteria needed for the two types of yogurts.

2. How do I know when the milk has cooled down to 100 degrees?
– You can use a thermometer for this. If you don’t have a thermometer, a handy little trick I like to use is to just use your fingers. When you can hold your fingertips to the side of the pan for ten seconds without burning them, you know it’s around 100 degrees.

3. How long can you keep your greek yogurt in the fridge?
– About 2 to 3 weeks, about as long as store-bought greek yogurt. Though, to keep your yogurt cultures healthy so you do not have to keep buying new starter, it is recommended to make a fresh batch every 6 to 7 days.

4. I don’t have an oven light (or an oven), what do I do?
– As an alternative you can use a lunch cooler. Heat a cup of water, place a cloth in the bottom of the cooler and pour in the hot water just before setting in your pot  (or smaller cups) and put the lid on.

6. Can I sweeten the yogurt? For example with some honey? 
– Yes you can! Add the honey afterwards when you’re greek yogurt is done.

7. The milk has been pasteurized already, it is really necessary to heat the milk?
– Nope, it’s not necessary. But I’ve found that when I do heat the milk, the yogurt will be thicker. 

8. Is it true that I can’t use nonfat milk to make yogurt?
– 
No. It’s just what you’re tastebuds used to. Some people like drinking whole milk, some like drinking nonfat, same with making yogurt. Both can be used.

9. After straining the yogurt, the texture is not what I hoped it to be
– This is a difficult question to answer, since it depends on how you like your yogurt. If your yogurt is too smooth for your liking, strain it some more. If you feel like you’ve strained it too much, it’s possible to add some of the strained whey back in.

My homemade greek yogurt failed, what did I do wrong?

10. Was the starter you used fresh enough?
– It’s very important to use a fresh starter. A rule of thumb is to have a starter that’s less than a week old.

11. Did you consistently keep your milk incubated at 100-110 degrees?
– 
It’s very, very important to keep the temperature as constant as possible. Use a thermometer to make sure you the temperature is spot on. A little tip, don’t test the yogurt itself, but the environment.

12. Was your milk disturbed in any way during the incubation process? 
– Don’t put a thermometer, spoon or anything else in the milk, and definitely don’t stir it. The bacteria inside are sensitive and don’t like it when you mix up their multiplying rituals. To check if it has set up, you can give it a little shake. Note that once you start straining you yogurt, the incubation process is over. Try adding a little more starter if your yogurt still hasn’t set up after about 8 to 10 hours (note that this doesn’t always work).

Homemade greek yogurt
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A quick and easy way to make delicious greek yogurt
Author:
Serves: 16
Ingredients
  • 1 gallon of milk (3,8 L), you can use any kind. 1%, 2% or whole milk
  • ¼ cup (59 ml) of plain yogurt
  • A whisk
  • Cheese cloth or a tea towel
Instructions
  1. Take the gallon of milk (3,8 L) and pour it into a large pot, minus ¼ cup (59 ml), we need to save that for later. Make sure you have a lid a available for the pot you’re using.
  2. Bring the pot almost to a boil, and then turn of the heat.
  3. Let it cool until the temperature reaches 105-118 degrees (40-48 degrees Celsius). Meanwhile continue with the next step.
  4. Mix together ¼ cup (59 ml) of plain Greek yogurt and the ¼ cup (59 ml) milk that we reserved in step 1.
  5. When your big pot has reached 105-118 degrees (40-48 degrees Celsius), remove the film on the top. Then throw in the yogurt/milk we mixture we made in step 3.
  6. Whisk everything up nice and gently, then cover the pot with a lid.
  7. Wrap the pot in a towel and leave it in your oven overnight with the oven light on (between 9 and 16 hours). This will keep the milk incubated at 100-110 degrees (38-43 degrees Celcius).
  8. After the time is up your yogurt is ready!
  9. Now it’s time to make this yogurt Greek! Use a cheesecloth or tea towel and start draining it inside a colander. You should let the yogurt strain at room temperature.
  10. Squeeze the towel every few hours to make it drain faster.
  11. After about 6 hours your Greek yogurt is ready!
  12. Put the yogurt in an air tight container and refrigerate until you want to eat it!
  13. Don’t throw away the whey that’s left from the straining process, it can be useful for other recipes.
Notes
1 gallon = 3,8 Liters
1/4 cup = 59 ml
1/2 cup = 118 ml
105-118 degrees Fahrenheit = 40-48 degrees Celsius
100-110 degrees Fahrenheit = 38-43 degrees Celsius

 

How to make homemade greek yogurt was last modified on January 4th, 2016 by Elizabeth Wallace of Greek yogurt paradise
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Elizabeth Wallace

Hey there, I’m Elizabeth! It’s so nice to meet you. A bit about me: I’m a big fan of eating healthy, and I love greek yogurt! This blog is where I share my recipes, thoughts and much more. Have fun!

  • Terry Prentice

    I have been making my own yogurt for a couple of years and found I got thicker yogurt by adding one to two cups of non fat powdered milk to the gallon of non fat milk. I have strained some to make yoghurt cheese, but I really only make the thickened yogurt for use. I make it by putting the started yogurt into one litre jars with plastic screw on lids and putting the jars into a camp cooler that has been warmed with water while the milk was being heated and cooled down. It gets put aside for 16 to 24 hours, then moved to the refrigerator. It is solid when it is moved and even more solid when cooled. What’s the difference between what I make and your Greek yogurt?