Four Secrets to Thick, Creamy Yogurt Every Time

Written by contributing writer, Trina Holden

Yogurt is one of the simplest traditional foods and a staple in the real food kitchen. Everyone should make their own. The problem is, many have tried to master this simple technique only to have it turn out runny, flavorless, or sour. Eventually they return defeated to the expensive, overly sweetened, store bought version that is all-too-often stripped of good fats.

I have been making yogurt for sixteen years and only in the last six months been able to obtain consistent results with a yogurt that is creamy and thick as custard. (See  the photo – my yogurt is so thick it can stand on its head!) My kids crave it and even my husband will eat it–hooray!

If you have not been satisfied with your yogurt attempts so far, I encourage you to check out these tips and see if there isn’t something here that was missing from your previous attempts. Many of my friends have finally achieved the goal of making their own yogurt by following this step-by-step recipe and keeping in mind these tips…

The Four Secrets to Thick and Creamy Yogurt Every Time

  • Keep it fresh! Get new starter every month or so. You can use your own yogurt for starter several times over, but if your yogurt starts turning out runny or has a funny consistency, it’s time for new starter.
  • Keep it clean! Sterilize the jars you will incubate and store the yogurt in. You want to have control over what bacteria and cultures are growing, so always start with a clean slate.
  • Respect your starter! Don’t beat it to death – let it retain some of its form and dignity and it will work well for you every time.
  • Let it rest! A long incubation time gives the yogurt a full flavor and thicker consistency. Don’t be afraid to leave it overnight!

Yogurt in 10 Simple Steps

1. Pour 1/2 gallon of milk int a large, heavy bottomed sauce pot. For vanilla yogurt, add 1T. vanilla extract and 1/2 c. maple syrup, honey, or sucanat.

2. Heat milk to 180 degrees, or until it bubbles and forms a sking. Turn of heat.

3. Cool milk to 120 degrees. or until you can keep your finger in the milk without burning yourself. Place pot in sink of cold water to speed up this step.

4. Meanwhile, sterilize 2-3 qt. jars by pouring boiling water over them and letting them drain.

5. When milk has cooled, scoop one cup milk into a small bowl and gently swirl in 1/2 c. yogurt (any fresh plain yogurt from the store will work or you can use a yogurt starter)–no stirring!

6. Pour starter mixture back into pot and swirl gently. You are introducing the starter to the milk, not incorporating it.

7. Pour the milk into sterilized jars, if you see chunks of yogurt, you know you did steps 5 and 6 right! Try to divide these chunks between your jars.

8. Cap jars and set them in the pot you warmed the milk in. Fill pot to rim of jars with hot tap water and leave in sink or on counter.

9. Let yogurt incubate 10-18 hours.

10. Move jars to fridge to chill.

Enjoy!

Note from Trina: This recipe is from my new ebook, Real{Fast}Food. It’s full of time saving tips for the real food kitchen, teaching you how to plan better, cook faster, and eat healthier! You’ll find lots of great recipes and techniques to get you through the busy summer months. For more information, visit Real{Fast}Food.

About Trina Holden

Trina enjoys offering hospitality from their 1800’s farm house in Upstate New York. She loves to encourage women to nourish their families, celebrate the journey, and choose to thrive at TrinaHolden.com.

161 Responses to Four Secrets to Thick, Creamy Yogurt Every Time

  1. misskpang November 18, 2013 at 7:14 am #

    Help! When I make yogurt with powder starter, it turns out awesome. I follow instructions and set aside a cup to
    use as starter for the next time. When i use my own starter the yogurt turns out lumpy/grainy. I have to stir it tosmooth it out. do u have any suggestions?

  2. Julie September 27, 2013 at 11:18 am #

    Did you strain your yogurt in that jar? Did you add vanilla and sweetener while that batch was cooking? What milk did you use? That is very thick.

  3. PAM September 18, 2013 at 9:12 am #

    Hint – if you use a cooler to incubate and don’t like the mess of floating in hot water, put some towels in the dryer and get hot. I use a heavy duty styrofoam cooler but a regular cooler would work and put in the quart jars and wrap in the hot towels from the dryer. Voila, no mess!

  4. Natalie September 2, 2013 at 4:26 am #

    I know this post is old but hoping for some input. I REALLY want to make RAW yogurt and retain the benefits of the raw milk in my yogurt but I’m finding that difficult. Raw needs to be heated to under 120F. Is there any way to make a thick, creamy yogurt without pasteurizing it (heating to 180F)? Right now I get a product of poor consistency that requires straining before use with about half of it whey. The end product, even when lightly strained is grainy in texture. When strained heavily (about 1/2c from 4c) it does make an excellent Lebanese cream cheese that is incredible salted and herbed ;) But, that is not my goal, it was purely an accident of forgetfulness lol

    • ATP September 20, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

      You can try adding a little nonfat powdered milk, to increase the solids. However, the high temp is not just pasteurization, its to denature the milk fat and help the fermentation.

    • yoghurt December 4, 2013 at 11:02 am #

      Hello Natalie,
      If you still found no answer to your question- I use milk straight from the cow (that sounded weird :) ). when making yoghurt i heat the milk only to the point where I can just hold the tip of my little finger for few seconds in it (sorry, don’t have a thermometer, but i really don’t think it is over 120, less if anything). Then add one table spoon (i make 1 litre at a time) of org. live yoghurt (bought from the small farm shop), and then add two more spoons once tranffered into the glass dish (it’s baking deep tray, maybe the way it ‘spreads’, as i’ts not a jar, also matters), Cover it with plastic lid, wrap into a thick towel and put it on the stool next to (one side touching it) the house radiator. Leave it for almost 24 hours (as it usually gets forgotten) (but, mind you, the heating is off during the night).
      Once chilled the yoghurt is smooth amd really tasty. I mean- REALLY tasty :) . So, try making less at a time, maybe a different dish, good starter, and longer/ shorter ‘keeping’ time.
      Good luck!

  5. Kate August 13, 2013 at 5:09 am #

    I use 2% or whole milk that I heat to 185 degrees slowly. Once at 185 I remove to a ice bath in my sink to reach 110 degrees. Then pitch 6 ounces with either all natural plain yogurt or left over batch Ive made. Best to keep the yogurt your pitching at room temputure. Set the pot covered on a heating pad like the ones used for back pain. Keep the heating pad on either the high setting or the settting just below for 7 to 8 hours. To thicken just add 1 cup of pwoderd milk to your food processor or spice grinder that will give you a very fine powder. Then add a few table spoons to your yogurt before you eat it. As thick as store bought.

  6. visit this site right here July 5, 2013 at 12:25 am #

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    every little bit of it. I have you book marked to look at new things you post…

  7. Melissa N April 17, 2013 at 6:28 pm #

    I have made yogurt many times with many times of milk…GOAT,RICE, COCONUT, FROM THE STORE…

    MY yogurt has NEVER turned out so good as THIS method. I made it yesterday and let it incubate all night. It incubated for 18 hours. I also added some extra acidophillus(or however you spell it) and I used raw milk. OMG! AMAZING! It is like greek yogurt!

    Thanks for sharing these tips. I followed them to the teeeee and it worked perfectly! WOW!

  8. Sue March 2, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

    It is still sssoooooooo much creamier and like greek style if you can spend the extra effort to strain it through clean gauze or paper towel lined in a large sieve over a bowl to catch the drips….this is best done whilst chilling in the fridge…results are amazing…

  9. Amanda Coombs March 2, 2013 at 5:32 am #

    I found this post via pinterest. I’ve been making yogurt for over a year now and love it. I clicked this post to see the secret to make it thinker and low and behold I’ve heard many good things about you from my friend Kristina Petrella. :) Thanks so much for the tips and I’ll be incubating my yogurt longer next time and getting a fresh starter. :)

  10. Tamara December 23, 2012 at 8:39 pm #

    I use my dehydrator, and usually will make it in 8 oz reusable plastic cups.

  11. Shaolai November 12, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

    Hi, I’m living in Asia and good greek yoghurt is not very easy to get and extremely expensive. I would love to try making this at home. We often buy the long life pasturized milk for our home. Would this kind of milk work? I hope someone could help me out very soon…Thanks so much in advance.

    • becks December 7, 2012 at 4:49 am #

      no… UHT (shelf stable) milk will not work to make yogurt (the high pasturization temps somehow damage the milk proteins) but you can use powdered milk…

      • nancy April 16, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

        I make yogurt all the time with uht milk. I uses skim milk and chobani plain yogurt and it comes out great everytime. My methods are the same as outlined here.

    • Molly March 25, 2013 at 3:42 am #

      I also live in Asia and have had no problem making yogurt with UHT milk. I make it 2L at a time and add 1/2-1cup full cream powdered milk. I have purchased a yogurt maker, but also made it without the machine. I put my jars of yogurt in an insulated bag and wrapped an electric blanket on L around them. I let it set overnight and then refrigerate.

  12. Sue September 2, 2012 at 3:27 am #

    Does anyone here know why my yogurt is wonderful and thick until the next day then turns runny

  13. Sue August 21, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

    My yogurt is working very well but I wonder if anyone know why it is not as sour as tge original starter even first time use..i like it very sour like the Greek yogurt plus the consistency is very thick but stringy like glue ..i leave in oven with just light on for 15 hours..any less and it is not near sour enough.

    • Brooke November 1, 2012 at 10:36 am #

      In my experience making yogurt, the longer you let the yogurt incubate and the lesser fat content you use (think skim milk or 1%), the more sour it is. I’ve never had ‘stringy’ yogurt before, but you can try straining any excess whey out using a strainer lined with paper towels- maybe that would help?

      • Sue November 1, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

        Thanks…i have since been searching other websites and saw a fab one that has made my yogurt perfect…..i now use A2 milk with a different protein than before and strain through gauze and i am left with perfect thick Greek style yogurt….i appreciate your reply

    • becks December 7, 2012 at 4:53 am #

      you may want to incubate at a higher temp…i find that if i let mine drop below 105 degrees F i get the “gluey” yogurt…if you keep it at 110-115 for 12-16 hours it will be more like thick sourcream…but your starter will also change the end result, i had to try 3 different brands until i got one that gave the results i wanted (each company uses different combinations of cultures…)

  14. Gina August 5, 2012 at 4:15 am #

    Just tried making yogurt using someone else’s recipe – despite following it to a T, it came out extremely runny, almost like kefir – the chickens liked it … I’m going to try again in a few days using your method – hope it works this time around. I’m using whole raw goatsmilk, do you think this could be doing anything to affect the consistency?

    Thanks!

  15. jean July 29, 2012 at 7:18 am #

    I use raw goats milk for my yogurt. It is from my own Nigerian Dwarf Goats. Nigerian Dwarfs do not give as much milk, 1 to 11/4 quart a day, but the taste is very rich, sweet, and non gamey. Because the quantity is small (less water) compare to larger goat breeds the butter fat is high at 6% and is more like half and half on cerial or in your coffee. Goat milk has a smaller protain and is more digestable than cows milk.
    In making the yogurt, I do not heat the milk above 120 degrees to keep all the good bactera and let cool to 112 degrees before adding the culture. The culture is from prevous made yogurt bach or from a package or a combination. I do add some dry milk for thickening.
    I make my yogurt in quart jars that I bleach and boil before hand with canning lids that seal with the heating of the yogurt. I put my jars in a soft cooler with a heating pad and a blanket over the top. I leave it over night. I have heard that the longer the culture cooks that people with lactose intolerence have less or no problem with the yogurt. The goat yogurt is a live! The flavor is out of this world and has no comparason with any comercial yogurt you can buy in the USA.

  16. bek July 23, 2012 at 11:44 am #

    Where do you get 3 qt jars? I have a million jars in my house but none that size. Can I just use 3 2qt jars instead. Is there any magic behind the jar size?

    • Lindsay July 23, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

      Its actually two half gallon jar I believe. You could use 4 quart size jars instead.

      • bek July 24, 2012 at 5:04 am #

        Where do you get jars that big? I can only find 1 qt jars. Can I use more smaller jars? I don’t have room in my house or budget to buy more but I really want to make this and already bought the milk. thanks!

        • Lindsay July 26, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

          You could certainly give it a try!

        • Mary August 21, 2012 at 10:29 am #

          I always use four 1qt. sized jars. It makes it easier to fit them in the pot of water as they incubate overnight. You can also flavor each jar individually this way for multiple flavors (by stirring in things like pureed blueberries after you have made the yogurt).

        • Jenny November 21, 2012 at 8:39 am #

          I think she was saying to use 2-3 quart jars as in 2-3 single quart jars.

  17. Jeanne July 12, 2012 at 5:28 am #

    I have a piolet light in my gas stove but during the summer it is too hot to culture and I have to have the door cracked open with a dish towel.

    The best method was to use a two gallon insulated ice chest. One gallon for yoguert culture and one gallon next to it with hot water. Cover and leave overnight.

    I do like using raw milk and the few tablespoon’s of powdered milk to thicken.

  18. crockpot yogurt July 12, 2012 at 4:05 am #

    I use my crockpot to make my yogurt. I put in 1/2 gallon of skim milk into my crock pot and set the temperature to low for 2.5 hours. After the 2.5 hours, I turn off the crock pot and leave the milk for 3 more hours (the cover is on the crockpot throughout all of the phases of yogurt making). After 3 hours, I remove 2 cups of the milk, add 1 cup of powdered milk and 6 oz of Greek nonfat, unflavored yogurt to the 2 cups of milk. I stir all of this together. Then I pour the 2 cups of mixture into the crock pot with the remaining milk and stir one more time to make sure everything is mixed. Then I cover the crockpot, and put a large towel over the covered crockpot. I leave this in place 8-10 hours or overnight! It is thick (not as thick as the posting), but still thick enough for me to add to oatmeal or add fruit or whatever I want. I have not bought store yogurt since November when I learned how to make homemade yogurt.

    • Becky December 3, 2012 at 9:35 am #

      I use this same method for my yogurt. I have found that if I put the crock pot directly in the fridge after it sits over night and let it chill before I stir or use it, the yogurt is much thicker.

  19. Renee July 11, 2012 at 10:59 pm #

    Hi! I ran across this article via Facebook, & am delighted! I have never made yogurt, so I was curious: can one get botulism or another illness w/homemade yogurt? I’d really like to make my own…everything…if possible. Thanks!

    • Richard May 31, 2013 at 10:55 am #

      It’s possible but very unlikely. Heating the milk to 180 degrees will kill any bacteria that might be present, and the bacteria used to make yogurt are very resilient. They beat out pretty much anything else that tries to grow in dairy. That’s why yogurt is and has been for thousands of years used in places where refrigeration isn’t readily available to keep milk from spoiling

  20. Pam July 11, 2012 at 10:53 pm #

    This is basically the method I have used for years. At that time Yogurmet sold a system that included a 2 liter plastic bucket w/lid and a stryrofoam sleeve (about 1.5 in thick) that fit the bucket perfectly. They discontinued it shortly after, but I have never used a better system. The plastic bucket can be placed in hot water to heat up, removed to cool down, and then placed in the styrofoam sleeve and sealed with the styrofoam lid for for as long as you want it to culture (at least overnight). It maintains warmth perfectly. I have contemplated finding the styrofoam bead kits for making duck decoys and creating a similar system for half-gallon glass jars.

    • Karin January 29, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

      Pam, could you share your method for using the yogourmet? I own one of these and have never been able to perfect a method that seemed to work correctly. I bought it because it seemed so simple, but hasn’t turned out to be that way for me. Perhaps I just am doing something wrong. Thanks so much for sharing!

  21. June July 11, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

    I whisk in 2 tbsp powdered milk into the milk before heating to get mine thick and creamy. I don’t add any flavours. I also wrap mine in two towels and leave on the kitchen bench overnight. Will never go back to buying store bought yoghurt.

  22. Cyni July 11, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

    I have been advised that a yogurt maker is not needed – put very hot water in a cooler (like for camping) and leave your yogurt jars in there overnight to culture. This advice by was from Ellen Sandbeck. author of Green Housekeeping, Slugbread and beheaded Thistles and Laverms Handbook of Indoor Worm composting – among others. Check her out on amazon!

  23. Aimee July 11, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

    I’m allergic to dairy. Can this be done w/coconut or almond milk? I’ve tried it in the past w/a yogurt maker and it turns out only slightly thicker than the milk. :(

    • Marci October 18, 2012 at 10:16 am #

      Yes, but you need to add sugar (for the bacteria to feed on) and gelatin to thicken. I would use a commercial coconut yogurt as your starter (So Delicious, for example), or any non dairy yogurt you can find. I have been using a vegan culture from Cultures for Health without any success. Here’s a good recipe: http://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/2009/04/25/homemade-coconut-milk-yogurt/

  24. nicolle July 11, 2012 at 6:53 pm #

    what about raw? Have you used or tried raw milk?

    • Cyni July 11, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

      I wish I could get raw milk!

    • Mary R July 11, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

      nicolle… I used to make my yogurt with organic milk from the health food store…I started to have availability to raw milk several years ago… been using it ever since in my yogurt…WORKS GREAT! It has always produced a very thick & tasty plain yogurt… can stand a spoon in it!

  25. Terri Miller July 4, 2012 at 5:17 am #

    Love this article! I recently purchased a yogurt maker at a garage sale. I am in love with the yogurt!! I don’t flavor mine…I like it the way it is, but I didn’t like the consistency. I am glad to have read your article…I have things to try, now!

    Blessing!

  26. Marine July 3, 2012 at 6:55 am #

    it worked it worked!!!!

    First time ever :)

    I let it incubate 15 hours wrapped in lots and lots of blankets in a cupboard (my oven setting is too high, I have no yoghurt maker, microwave, heating pad or cooler and it didn’t work immersed in warm water)

    thank you!

  27. Sue July 1, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

    I love this recipe but my yogurt turned out flavorless, though beautifully thick and creamy…not nearly as tart as the original starter greek yogurt with live cultures..any hints for me ?

    • Carmen July 2, 2012 at 4:15 am #

      I would let it culture little bit longer. I find that the longer it cultures, the tarter it becomes.

  28. Heidi April 2, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

    Could you do the same but with goats milk instead of cows milk?
    Would you get the same results?
    Obviously you’d have a different flavor because of the stronger milk taste but consistency etc?

    • Anne Foster Angelou July 11, 2012 at 8:28 pm #

      My husband was born in Greece and his parents were professional shepherds. They made feta and mizithra for sale. They made their own yoghurt. Goat’s milk yoghurt will never be thick because it is low fat to begin with. It will always be a little more runny, never like “Greek” style yoghurt. I recommend for cow’s milk that you use full fat. Full fat only means 4% anyway. That’s not a high fat content.

      • Anne Foster Angelou July 11, 2012 at 8:32 pm #

        Fresh goat’s milk is sweet and delicious, nothing like the taste of soft goat cheese which I also like very much. I was reluctant to try it when Dimitri’s aunt came across the road in the village to mother’s house. She had a pan of fresh goat’s milk straight out of the goat and gently warmed/simmered on the stove. After tasting that milk, I have loved goat’s milk ever since. The feta we prefer is a combo of goat and sheep’s milk, although traditional feta is made from sheep milk.

      • Tania Farries May 21, 2013 at 11:49 pm #

        Hi Anne,
        Your message sends me back to when I lived in Corfu, I am in England now and I so miss living there. Do you have recipes for the goats yogurt and greek yogurt please? I keep trying to make it but without any luck, it keeps coming out stringy. Many thanks

    • Dawn July 15, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

      I do make goat yogurt. Goat milk is also 4% fat, but it doesn’t set up as thick. Be careful not to heat it above 165-170, and add adequate starter. Then culture for a bit longer than you think (I do nearly 24h). I also use the Greek starter from Cultures for Health. About every other batch comes out thicker, and the next thinner. That’s pretty good, I use the thinner batches for more smoothies and over cereal. Good luck!

  29. Cori January 26, 2012 at 5:40 am #

    Another way to incubate your yogurt…. put it in your microwave. I have an over the stove microwave that has a light that shines on my stove. I put my yogurt in the microwave and turn the light on and the temp stayed at 90* when my house was 68*. BTW -don’t turn the microwave on :)

  30. BobG January 26, 2012 at 5:07 am #

    Thanks very much for this post – I’m a recent but passionate convert to “Greek”-style yogurt (the epiphany was that yogurt + fresh berries was a more delicious breakfast than oatmeal, kept me full until lunch, and (thanks, berries!) even had more fiber), but quickly got tired of paying the premium for it; which led to straining “normal” yogurt; which now leads to making it from scratch.

    A consistent problem that I’ve had (this being winter in New England, and me being frugal with the heating dollars) is finding a warm enough place to incubate it. I have an electric oven (no pilot light for warmth), and an old-school slow-cooker that gets way too hot too fast on “Low,” but cools quickly once turned off, and I’m not inclined to baby-sit it all day. I like the idea I’ve heard of putting it in a well-sealed cooler with jars of near-boiling water, but that’s a big production too.

    I have a “Keep Warm” burner on my ceramic cooktop, but even on its lowest setting, it’s too hot (for good reason, of course – a “Keep Warm” burner that ENCOURAGED bacteria multiplication would kill people…) My first thought was to “insulate” it with a couple of potholders between the burner and the pan, but my girlfriend was very opposed to the idea of leaving a burner on overnight with potholders pressing down on it – I don’t see how potholders are going to catch fire at 140*, but the topic was not open for debate.

    Yesterday I realized that AIR is a good insulator, too – so my current solution is to turn on the “Keep Warm” burner on Low, and put the pan (an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven, which I love for the way it holds and distributes heat) on a roasting rack, so it’s sitting ~3/4″ above the burner. This keeps things at a rock-steady 105* for as long as I want to incubate – yay!

    It really does feel like alchemy, turning simple milk into something so complex and delicious – and I love the straining part, because how often do you get to use cheesecloth for anything like its original purpose?

    Thanks again,
    bobg

    • Mary Ann August 24, 2013 at 5:51 am #

      BobG- Great idea with the warming zone on the stove. I’ve used a warming pad but have to keep an eye out because it has an auto shut off on it. Question: I do not have an enamel pot but I do have a crockpot dish. Would that work? I would preheat the dish before pouring the milk into it. What a great use for the warming zone!

  31. Lisa January 25, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    How long should the yogurt last in the refrigerator before going bad?

    • Lindsay January 25, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

      A good couple weeks. I have never had homemade yogurt go bad on us but we do eat it pretty quick.

  32. Chiot's Run December 19, 2011 at 7:18 pm #

    I’m always so happy to find other people who make their own yogurt consistently!!! Great tips, I think being gentle with the yogurt it key – and a long fermentation period. I always mix mine up at night and incubate it overnight. Also experiment with different kinds of yogurt for starter, some work better than others. Certain strains of bacteria contained in some yogurts keep the yogurt thicker and prevent whey separation (at least that’s has been my experience).

    I you do happen to use raw milk (for that one reader) only heat to 100 then stir in starter. Also if you’re using raw milk you don’t need to buy a new starter every month, the starter doesn’t seem to die off, I’m thinking it’s b/c the milk is fresh. I’ve been using the same starter for a few years now without any problems.

    • Shawn bard July 11, 2012 at 6:50 pm #

      Thank you for this! That was my question…

    • Joan September 26, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

      Interesting, Cultures For Health says if making yogurt with raw milk the enzymes will weaken the culture, so it needs to be refreshed once in a while. Now I’m anxious to see what happens.

  33. Krystle December 2, 2011 at 9:21 am #

    I was wondering two things about this recipe. I’ve made it with organic milk a few times but recently read that some don’t like to heat the syrup above 110 degrees F to keep the nutritional value. Any thoughts there? And can this be copied with raw milk?

    Thank You! We’ve been loving this recipe! I won’t try another!!

    • Lindsay December 2, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

      That is recommended for use with raw milk (if desired) but not when it comes to pasteurized organic milk. But you will find that only heating it to 110 will often be less successful as to getting the right thickness.

  34. Karen October 15, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

    Really appreciate this article! I keep coming back to it – when I try to “wing it” it goes runny again :D We started milking our cow a few months back and it’s great to have a reliable recipe for delicious yogurt! We make it 1.5 gallons at a time and put it in 1/2 gallon canning jars, anduse it in everything! Thanks again!

    • hari July 20, 2012 at 2:33 am #

      call me at 240 671 8358 and I will teach you to make yogurt over the phone.

  35. Karen September 13, 2011 at 5:32 pm #

    Is ok to leave the yogurt in the oven for incubation overnight? I just checked it and it appears to be to runny. Did I do something wrong?

  36. Kalli August 28, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

    I’ve been making my own greek yogurt from Organic milk for several months. Only recently did I realize that you should NOT use milk that is ultra-pasteurized. My understanding is that the high temperatures they pasteurize the milk at kill all bacteria, good and bad. So recently, I’ve started mixing half organic milk with half regular milk that is just pasteurized. I was getting inconsistent results before, but hopefully this solves it!

  37. Julie August 26, 2011 at 6:33 pm #

    Thank you so much for the tutorial! I’ve made several batches of yogurt following these directions (with a few changes) and have been very pleased with the results. I chose to leave out the sweetener and vanilla and just flavor it when serving it. Also, to incubate it, I put the jar of yogurt in my crockpot filled with warm water and cover it with the lid and a towel. I turn the crockpot on low for about 10 minutes (I set a kitchen timer to remind myself to turn it off!) to bring the water temp up to about 110-115*. Then I just check on it every couple hours (when I happen to be in the kitchen) with a thermometer and turn it back on low for 7 minutes to maintain the water temp. I can fit a quart canning jar in my “regular” 3 quart crockpot or 4 pint jars in my large oval crockpot. It’s so easy and I’m so excited that this option works so well!

  38. Cheryl August 26, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

    Trying this out right now! It’s incubating on my counter :) I’ve been wanting to try making yogurt for awhile now but the instructions are all so vague. I was really excited when I read yours and there were specific step by step instructions! Yay!!!! Greek Krema yogurt is my favourite because it’s not as tart as other plain yogurts and it’s soo thick. Looks like this should be just as good!

  39. greek yogurt recipe August 18, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

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  40. Christina August 15, 2011 at 5:25 pm #

    I love your method. It’s so much faster than what I was doing. Thanks!

  41. Melanie July 29, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

    Is it possible to get the incubating water too hot? My first batch was a flop–totally runny. I turned the tap to hot and filled up my pot, but I was wondering if that could be hot enough to kill off the yogurt. I’ve made yogurt successfully many times before and the method of incubation was the biggest difference this time.

  42. Holly July 29, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

    Do you need to bring the starter to room temperature or do you use it cold? It seems that this might me important and could change the temperature. I was just wondering what others do and if anyone has found that this changes the yogurt at all.

  43. Lucy July 24, 2011 at 9:11 am #

    Thank you for sharing your tips!!! I used a heating pad instead of the saucepan with hot water. The heating pad provides consistent heat and I use a glass casserole dish with a lid. Cover the covered dish with a towel and incubate at medium heat for 12 hours or so. I have never had a failed batch ever!!

    Also, when you heat the milk, I use a 3 quart double boiler so I can make a 1/2 gallon (2 quarts) each time. I also use a commercially made yogurt as a starter. I buy those individual cups (vanilla flavor to be exact since I can’t find the plain) containers and use about 1/2 a container per 2 quart batch. The double boiler prevents any spillovers and scortched milk. If the milk scortches, it has to be discarded and you have to start again.

    I hope my experience helps anyone!!

  44. Katie @ Imperfect People July 18, 2011 at 4:47 pm #

    Mine are incubating now :) I am looking foward to some yummy yogurt for breakfast!

  45. Cori July 12, 2011 at 11:06 am #

    I have been making yogurt for a few years now. I make a gallon every couple of weeks. I strain some for a few hours for greek yogurt and I even strain some overnight and use it as a cream cheese substitute in recipes. The other day I noticed a new and expensive yogurt was extremely marked down so I picked a few up. It is called Noosa yoghurt. I guess it’s Australian but made in Colorado. It was so amazing! It is like eating cheesecake. There is milk, cane sugar, cream, dry milk, and honey along with pectin, proteins and cultures. My flavor is nothing compared to theirs! Has anyone tried Noosa and how do you think we can duplicate it?

    Cori

  46. Meggan July 2, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

    BTW- if you use a flavored starter yogurt (we like yobaby blueberry), you get a mild blueberry flavor in your full batch. Really yummy!!

  47. Meggan July 2, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

    We actually don’t like the taste of our yogurt after it has gone 10 hours. Mine is about perfect at 4. I also have trouble with lots of whey separating out if I let it go so long. For us, the perfect incubation time is 4 hours, on the counter at room temp (75-80 degrees)!

    • Rebekah August 2, 2011 at 9:57 am #

      Same here. We like it at 6 or 7 hours. After that, the whey starts to separate oddly. :)

  48. Lisa June 30, 2011 at 7:18 am #

    I tried making your yogurt, but used raw milk. After making it I realized I shouldn’t have heated it to 180. It tastes good but got a very weird texture. I was reading that with raw milk you heat it to 110. So when the milk is at 110 do I add the yogurt starter right away and not let it cool at all?

    • Heidi July 28, 2011 at 10:49 am #

      I always use raw milk and it is always really runny. I will have to try not taking it to 180. I am curious if you tried again and if it turned out. I get tired of trying and it not working. I was excited to try it this time for a thicker yogurt but that wasn’t the case

  49. Karla June 28, 2011 at 9:04 am #

    I was all set to try your method, then someone else suggested a crock pot. I was like – I have one of those! It gave me peace of mind knowing I didn’t have to stress over the temperature too much, based on your experience. At first I just used a half gallon, but I also tried it with a gallon of milk (minus a canning jar’s worth to make homemade buttermilk). I used strained yogurt as a starter, which makes for thicker results. In the morning there’s always some whey separated, and there are some small lumps, but it incorporates nicely. I’m so glad I can make such a big batch of yogurt all at once! We eat it with blueberries, flaxseed meal, and honey for breakfast, and in smoothies.

  50. Susan King June 28, 2011 at 8:08 am #

    The yogurt manufacturers around the world have nothing on you! Your recipe is so easy and so good…I’ve never had better yogurt! Thank you for sharing!

  51. Kim Kauffman June 27, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    I have mine going right now. It’s been five hours and I peeked and it looks really thick already. This would be great if it works out because I spend so much money on yogurt, especially now that my daughter eats it. Thanks for the recipe and tips!

  52. ChristineG June 27, 2011 at 4:56 am #

    Wow! That was a very helpful post. I will definitely be printing this one and putting your suggestions into action. Thank you!!

  53. Linda White June 24, 2011 at 7:30 am #

    Well I tried my first batch and sorry to say it did not turn out. The taste was good but it was very watery.
    In Step 8 of your directions you say to add hot water to the rim of the jars. Will this step have to be repeated in order to keep it warm? I am confused on this step and if it has to be repeated periodically. Thanks so much for the recipe and for all the comments. I will continue trying to make yogurt as I eat it every day, but it’s the store bought and I want to learn to make my own.

    • trina June 27, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

      Linda, I’m really sorry your first batch didn’t turn out! I’d love to help you trouble shoot…wish we could be in the same kitchen for a few hours! Was the yogurt completely watery, or did you get a bit of a set?

      I don’t add more hot water to the pot – the yogurt cools gradually, but it retains its heat for long enough that it provides adequete incubation usually. Perhaps you could try the cooler with hot water method, or in a crockpot.

      • Linda White June 28, 2011 at 8:34 am #

        Thanks Trina for your input. I tried the crock pot and it’s a long process, but it was watery also. I did try your method using whole milk, vanilla and maple syrup. It did turn out thick, but it was too tangy. I like it more sweet. I did add the hot water periodically and let it set for 10 hours so my next step will be to use sweetener instead of maple syrup and will not add additional water during the process. I also wish you were in my kitchen to trouble shoot, but trial and error will have to do. Thanks again. I will keep trying.

  54. Marci June 21, 2011 at 5:52 am #

    I am glad to see that you don’t add gelatin or powdered milk, but I like to make my yogurt raw so that the milk enzymes are still there and not dead. Heating it up to 180° pasteurizes the milk. Have you ever tried to make it with raw milk?

    • trina June 27, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

      Marci, I haven’t done raw milk yogurt – yet! I also make kefir regularly, so I figure I’m getting the raw enzymes in a serving of that.

  55. Startledoctopus June 20, 2011 at 3:25 am #

    Question! Do I have to refresh the water in the pot occasionally? Won’t it cool down and the cultures stop working their magic?

    I’m so frustrated with my inconsistent yogurt results and all the sites I can find have extremely contradictory advice – whisk it in vigorously, don’t stir it, lids off, lids on, etc!!

    • trina June 27, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

      I commend your persistence! When I incubate in a large pot of hot water with the lid on, it seems to retain the heat for enough hours for the yogurt to incubate well. I don’t refresh the water, but just ignore it and it does fine!

  56. Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates June 19, 2011 at 9:23 pm #

    Thank you for those tips! I just might have to try again – I was using the crockpot method, but it was getting more and more runny (I think it was too hard to get a consistent temp). This sounds pretty easy!

    • trina June 27, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

      Lisa, be sure to try it with new, storebought yogurt – old starter can be the problem to a yogurt getting runnier each time. :)

  57. KatieV June 19, 2011 at 2:42 pm #

    This may be a dumb question, but would it be possible to make a non-dairy yogurt?–using coconut milk, perhaps? My local health food markets have coconut-milk-based and almond-milk-based yogurts I could use as a starter.

    • trina June 27, 2011 at 12:42 pm #

      Katie, I have heard of making your own coconut yogurt – I’d do a bit more research, but it sounds like it’s worth a try!

  58. Breena June 19, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

    P.S it’s completely crazy…but you and I have the EXACT same kitchen!!! Same wall color, same cabinets…you might think I stalked you or something if you saw a pic…I’ll find a way to show you…so, in other words, you have a really cute kitchen ;)

    • trina June 27, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

      Thanks, Breena. I’d love to see your kitchen!

  59. Breena June 19, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

    Did anyone ask about making yogurt from Rice or Almond milk? We took out cows milk and has made a huge difference in my sons allergies…could I try this method using either of those? Thanks! I hope I am not a repeat :)

    Breena

  60. Tammi June 18, 2011 at 8:59 pm #

    Trina,
    I just finished letting my yogurt set for 11 hours. It’s thick, smells great, and I can’t wait to try it tomorrow! One more question, if you dont mind :) ….
    I did strain it because I prefer a Greek style, and it seemed to have a lot of whey to it (nearly half). Is it possible to lesson this amount by letting it cure longer? Or does it always have this much?

    Thank you so much for this great recipe!

    • Carmen June 19, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

      I find that if you leave it a bit longer, it will thicken more (as long as it can maintain a warm temp between 100-120 degrees). But, I also find it becomes tangier – which I like, but not everyone does.

    • trina June 27, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

      Honestly, Tammi, I don’t know what’s ‘normal’ ’cause I’ve never strained my yogurt. It does seem like a lot of whey, but I imagine your yogurt must be very thick and yummy!

      • Rebekah August 2, 2011 at 9:59 am #

        Oh, that’s what happens when I strain mine: about half of it is whey. I think it’s normal. And STILL cheaper than buying it!

  61. Carrie June 18, 2011 at 11:14 am #

    I love our homemade crockpot yogurt, so simple! I just strain with a tea towel to add thickness. Sometimes I even make a quirk ( not sure about the spelling, but it is like a yogurt cheese).

  62. Tammi June 18, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    This might be a funny question, but actually my 13 y/o daugher suggested it! :) Has anyone tried using the warming drawer (on the lowest setting) in their overn, to keep the yogurt warm for the 10+ hours?

    • Carmen June 19, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

      I leave mine in the oven with the lights on. Warming drawer could work as well – just make sure the temperature is not above 120 degrees or you can kill the cultures.

    • Rebekah August 2, 2011 at 10:00 am #

      I make yogurt in a large pot and divide it into jars after incubation. So my incubation method is to preheat the oven to 350, wrap the pot of yogurt in towels, shut off the oven, and leave the pot in there for 7 hours. I turn on the light and add four or five jars full of very hot water, which helps to maintain the warmth. Works great and you aren’t even using the oven!

  63. Tammi June 18, 2011 at 9:09 am #

    Trina,
    Have you tried freezing your yogurt to use later?

    • THolden June 18, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

      Wow, I never thought of that – if it worked, it could save me a trip to the store for starter when a batch fails or goes sour before I’ve had a chance to make more! Has anyone else tried this?

      • Lily June 18, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

        Yes, I freeze yogurt I purchase for starter in ice cube trays. Pop them into a freezer bag once frozen and take out one cube per half gallon of milk, as needed (I use quite a bit less starter than you do – about a tablespoon per quart of milk). It has worked perfectly every time so far; I just let it thaw while I’m scalding and cooling the milk. Additionally, there are more options in plain yogurt when you purchase it in larger containers, in addition to it being less expensive than smaller containers, so freezing extra is a good way to make the most of those benefits.

  64. Amanda June 18, 2011 at 4:42 am #

    Hi!

    I have a silly question: I’m actually making the yogurt as I type and was wondering if I use 1T of vanilla will the alcohol burn off when the milk is heating? Also will the vanilla yogurt that I make work as a starter or should I buy a plain starter. I don’t think I would be a flavored starter from the store, but sense it is homemade maybe?

    Thanks in advance for being willing to help me :)

    • THolden June 18, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

      Amanda, the yogurt will not be alcoholic, if that is your question?
      I regularly use whatever I have available for starter – leftovers of my own batch or even flavored from the store.

  65. Julie in Houston June 17, 2011 at 5:34 pm #

    Can you tell me about Greek style yogurt? I love the Fage 0% from the store and it’s super thick almost like sour cream. Can I make that in this same method?? Also, what are the nutirtional properties? Fage has a TON of protein.

    THANKS!!!

    • Lindsay June 18, 2011 at 5:45 am #

      You can make any yogurt into greek style yogurt by straining the yogurt after completion through a cheese cloth or cloth napkin to remove excess liquids/whey. This will make the creamier, thicker yogurt known as greek yogurt with a more dense higher protein content because the liquids are removed. You can also purchase a greek yogurt starter which will give more of that greek flavor, less tart, as I understand. I just received my greek yogurt culture starter this week from Cultures for Health and am eager to start it myself!

  66. Melissa June 17, 2011 at 8:17 am #

    My first attempt awhile back turned out sour, and I’m not sure what I did wrong but I really want to give it another try! This time I might buy a starter….any recommendations on which starter to use from cultures of health? I’m leaning toward the “viili starter” would love to hear if anyone has used it or another one! Thanks!

  67. Chris June 16, 2011 at 6:21 pm #

    I love making yogurt in the crockpot. It is SO easy! I strain it with a colander and coffee filter to make my own Greek yogurt and use the whey in smoothies. I could hardly ever make yogurt the other way. I think anyone who tries this, will never go back to making yogurt the other way :)

  68. Deb June 16, 2011 at 8:56 am #

    So, the longer the yogurt sits, the more tart it tastes? My kids don’t like regular yogurt, but do like Greek yogurt – I think because it is less tart. Is there a way to make thick, creamy yogurt without it getting too tart to suit The Pickiest Children On Earth?

    Also, what about making yogurt in a machine? I am a complete newbie and wonder if that would be an easier way to start.

    • THolden June 16, 2011 at 9:28 am #

      Deb, I used to be afraid to let my yogurt sit too long, not having an appetite for the tart flavor either. But I’ve found that this yogurt doesn’t so much taste ‘tart’ as much as simply having a fuller, yogurty flavor that my other batches were missing (I used to incubate for just 6 hours) Try the vanilla version, and use maple syrup for sweetener, and see if your kids can even tell the difference!

    • Karla June 16, 2011 at 11:16 am #

      I first started making yogurt when making homemade baby food, and ended up purchasing something like this one. It was pretty handy when I was mainly giving it to the little one, but now that yogurt has become more of a staple in our diet, it doesn’t really cut it.

      Unless I buy additional glass containers (which are expensive – and why not just use the canning jars I already have?), I’m limited to how much I can make at once. And if we have yogurt just for breakfast, I’ve already used up almost half a batch, nevermind any other uses I may have for the yogurt (cooking, baking, smoothies).

      Probably the reason why Greek yogurt is more appealing to folks – besides the texture – is that the whey has been strained out. I think that’s probably where some of the tartness comes into play. Just strain homemade yogurt, and use the whey for other recipes.

      • Michelle October 10, 2011 at 3:42 am #

        I have that same yogurt maker, and I’ve found that a seven cup round pyrex container fits perfectly in there. I have a couple of those and it’s easier to strain than the smaller jars…so I’ve been using that lately.

  69. Kilala June 16, 2011 at 8:32 am #

    Something else that I find when you’re going for thick and creamy is the thickness of the yogurt starter. When I use whey as a starter, it comes out with more liquid, and when I use Greek yogurt, it is decidedly thicker.
    When I do yogurt, I put milk in glass jars on a dish towel in a stock pot full of water. I heat it, then cool it down, pour in some whey, and wrap up the whole pot – water and jars and all – in some fleece blankets. I leave it overnight and it comes out perfect every time.
    Because I hate having to watch the milk cook to keep it from burning, and wash an extra dish afterwards.

  70. Joanna June 16, 2011 at 8:25 am #

    Yay! It worked like a charm. We don’t eat yogurt all the time so I only made about a quart’s worth. If it could help anyone…this is what I did.

    I fill up a quart jar with my raw milk (leaving enough space for the added starter/yogurt) then poured it into a sauce pan and heated to 180. Cooled it to 120 (while cooling I put the quart jar in a small cooler with hot water and put the lid on). When milk cooled to 120 I dump out all the water in the cooler and quart jar and lined the cooler with a thick towel. Using the instructions above, I took out some of the cooled milk and swirled in about 2 heaping Tablespoons of yogurt (I use Dannon Plain Yogurt when I don’t have any yogurt for a starter), then poured that back into the rest of the milk and swirled again. I put the lid on the quart jar and put it into the cooler and PACKED the towel all around the jar, then put the lid on the cooler and set in a place on the kitchen counter where it WILL NOT move for about 10-15 hours. Depends on how sour you like it.

    Like I said, it worked great! It was much thicker than all my other yogurts that I have made. It does not bother us too much but with company, they are used to thicker yogurt. So this will be the way we make yogurt from now on! Thank you so much for posting this.

    Blessings,
    Joanna :)

    • THolden June 16, 2011 at 9:30 am #

      Joanna, I’m delighted to hear this! Thanks for giving us a report. :)

  71. Amanda June 16, 2011 at 4:35 am #

    This is the first set of yogurt instructions that actually makes me think I can do this! I am most certainly going to try this now that my fears are resolved!

  72. [email protected] Today June 16, 2011 at 4:26 am #

    Thanks for this post, I have tried to make yogurt and have not been successful. Willing to give it another try now!

  73. Kellie June 15, 2011 at 8:52 pm #

    Does the starter yoghurt need to be plain yoghurt or can it be flavored if that’s all that I have in my fridge? I’ve never attempted my own yoghurt before but am anxious to give it a try!

    • Karla June 16, 2011 at 4:25 am #

      I’ve read that, since flavored yogurts almost always contain sugar, it’s best to avoid using these as a starter since the sugar somehow inhibits the culturing process (or at least slow it down) – but I could be wrong on this. Even if you use a plain starter and want a sweeter yogurt, I would add sweeteners *after* the yogurt has been cultured. We top our plain yogurt with ground flaxseed, blueberries, and honey – de-lish!

      • Kellie June 16, 2011 at 7:54 am #

        Thanks so much for the advice : )

      • THolden June 16, 2011 at 9:35 am #

        Karla, thanks for your input. A friend just told me yesterday about how the sweeteners can affect the culturing. So far I have not experienced this, but I do want to look into it more.

    • THolden June 16, 2011 at 9:32 am #

      Kellie, I’ve used all kinds of yogurt in a pinch. :) A nice quality, full-fat, organic plain would be ideal, I suppose, but I have had equal success with low fat flavored yogurt as well.

  74. jess June 15, 2011 at 7:52 pm #

    thanks for the tip about swirling instead of stirring in the starter…perhaps my yogurt will turn out thicker now.

  75. Cori June 15, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

    I love making my own yogurt as well. I keep mine in my oven with the light on the entire time and it works like a charm. Also, if you strain it in cheese cloth on a colander for a couple of hours after the incubation it will be Greek style yogurt. You can save the liquid whey you get to use in other recipes like pancakes.

    • Karla June 16, 2011 at 4:27 am #

      I do this all the time! If you read Sally Fallon’s “Nourishing Traditions,” you’ll find all sorts of recipes that include whey from the yogurt – pancakes, muffins, all manner of baked goods, soaking beans and grains, even fermenting vegetables (think pickles). I love Greek yogurt, and if strained long enough, it’s basically homemade cream cheese.

  76. Laurie June 15, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

    Thank you for the tips but because I use raw milk from my own cow, I would never heat my milk over 110 degrees or it defeats the purpose of the good enzymes in the raw milk.

    Never use ULTRA PASTEURIZED milk, organic or not, because it is DEAD as far as living food benefits. UP milk doesn’t work and is NOT good for you.

    Just my two cents….. :)

    • Kilala June 16, 2011 at 8:25 am #

      There is a different method for raw milk – you are supposed to heat it to the culturing temp (110 works).
      As for UP milk – occasionally some UP accidentally makes it home from the store and while it is nutritionally dead, in my experience it cultures up just fine. I’ve not had a problem with it. Not that I’d recommend it either though.

      • Joanna June 16, 2011 at 9:50 am #

        This is wonderful to know Kilala! I will be trying this on my next batch. It always bothered me that I was heating it to such a high temp and killing so much of the good stuff in my raw milk.

  77. MleBlanche June 15, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

    I have had so many flops with raw milk that I stopped, mostly because a lot of people say don’t heat it over 120 but I will try this way now, thanks.

    Also as for keeping it warm a friend advised me to wrap my container(s) in towels and put it in the oven with the oven light on over night. I added to this pre heating it to its lowest setting and then turning it off before putting the yogurt in. Make sure no one turns off the oven light though!

  78. Allison June 15, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

    I was always pleased with my yogurt left to incubate in the oven w/ light on when I used processed store milk. My raw milk attempts, even with the initial heating, have been very inconsistent. Thankful for a new method to try!

    • Allison July 12, 2011 at 8:32 am #

      I have now used this method several times will great results. I too would love to make raw milk yogurt w/o heating so high but at least this works great and I know my milk is pastured. All previous attempts starting with raw milk turned out about 1/2 whey separated in the jars. Maybe my oven light was too hot being that I cultured in lit oven? Although it never bothered my yogurt from store brand milks. Thanks again.

  79. Melissa June 15, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

    Just so i’m with it…the starter is just some store bought yogurt?? Love your blogs!

    • THolden June 16, 2011 at 9:38 am #

      Yes, Melissa – I just use whatever storebough yogurt I can grab at the little local amish market – I never know what variety she’ll have, but they all seem to work! Then I save my own to use for several more batches until it seems ‘worn out’ and then i buy more.

  80. Erin H. June 15, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    The milk you are using… is it just the organic 3.8 stuff you buy at the store? I can’t get whole milk were I am. Thanks for the post!

    • THolden June 15, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

      Erin, I use whole, raw milk, but you can use the 3.8 organic – try it with what you have!

  81. Deb June 15, 2011 at 10:53 am #

    My son was just asking me this morning about making our own yogurt! Can you tell me how long a batch of yogurt keeps in the fridge?

    • THolden June 15, 2011 at 11:59 am #

      Deb – it varies – usually two weeks. After it begins to sour, I still use it in baking, but I try to make a new batch every week or 10 days so my starter stays fresh.

  82. Sheila June 15, 2011 at 10:05 am #

    We’ve been making our own yogurt for a few years now, and it is SO yum!

  83. Michelle June 15, 2011 at 8:41 am #

    Karla, The way Sandor Katz tells you to keep the yogurt warm in his book, “Wild Fermentation” is to fill a cooler with boiling water while your yogurt is cooling. Then, you can fill jars with the water if you’re going to have space leftover after putting the yogurt jars in the cooler. Dump the rest of the water. Put the yogurt jars and water jars in the cooler. Stuff every little nook and cranny with towels, put the lid on and set it out of the way for the 8-12 hr. incubation period. I’ve done this 3 times and it works great.

    • Stacey July 9, 2011 at 10:43 am #

      I’ve used this method 3-4 times now and it works great–all my previous batched were fairly thin unless I strained them. Two thumbs up!

  84. liz June 15, 2011 at 8:30 am #

    i just do mine in the crockpot. it’s hit or miss

    • Tammi June 18, 2011 at 10:59 am #

      Liz,
      What is your crock pot method?

      Thanks,
      Tammi

      • Rebekah August 2, 2011 at 10:06 am #

        I use the crockpot as well; first I heat the milk to 180 (takes me 2 1/2 hours on high). Then I shut off the crockpot, remove the insert to a trivet, crack the lid, and let it cool to 110 (about another 2 1/2 hours but your results may vary, so use a thermometer your first couple of times). Then I stir in the starter, wrap it up in a towel, and put it in an oven that has been heated to 350 and then turned off. I turn on the oven light and add several jars full of very hot water. 7 hours later, yogurt! :)

        Personally, I like using the crockpot because then the milk won’t burn. Otherwise, I am such a birdbrain that I’d get scalded milk every time. :)

  85. Kait Palmer June 15, 2011 at 7:19 am #

    I’m with Karla–do you just let the water slowly cool to room temperature? I’ve made yogurt on a heating pad before, but have to set a timer every hour because of the auto-off. I forgot for too long last time and my yogurt was lumpy and thin…not the most appetizing, lol!

    • THolden June 15, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

      Kait, my method focuses on slowing the cooling off process, so by the time the yogurt is done, it is room temperature. You can try an insulated cooler, sink full of hot water – anything that will retain the heat of the yogurt as long as possible.

  86. Amie June 15, 2011 at 5:53 am #

    Does this method work with raw milk? If so, are there any additional steps or concerns?

    • Lindsay June 15, 2011 at 6:18 am #

      Yes, it certainly does. It functions in the same way. You can heat it up to a lower temperature to protect the raw milk properties…it has to be at least 110 degrees.

  87. Samara Root June 15, 2011 at 5:50 am #

    What starter do you start with? Or do you just keep a container of store-bought yogurt on hand?

    • Nicole June 15, 2011 at 8:04 am #

      I am wondering the same thing…can you just use store-bought yogurt to start? Thanks!

    • THolden June 15, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

      Yes, Samara – I start with a half cup of store bough yogurt, then use my own yogurt as starter for a month or two – depends on how many batches I make. I just buy a little pint of store-bought every few months.

  88. Karla June 15, 2011 at 5:05 am #

    I’ve wanted to make a larger batch of yogurt than what I get with my yogurt maker, and have attempted it without an appliance before, but felt like I had to babysit the jar(s) and keep adding hot water. How can you be sure you’re maintaining the proper temperature?

    BTW, I’ve also made homemade buttermilk in a similar way, and you can just leave it out at room temperature.

    • THolden June 15, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

      Karla, I’ve found the yogurt incubates fine in a pot of hot water, or a cooler with towels – I don’t try to maintain the temperature, my method focuses on insulating the yogurt so that it comes down to room temperature very slowly.

  89. Shannon Hazleton June 15, 2011 at 4:26 am #

    Thanks for the tips… I’m always dissatisfied with my own attempts at yogurt, but I’ll try again! And I love the color of your kitchen. ;)

    • THolden June 15, 2011 at 12:05 pm #

      Thanks, Shannon. I do, too. :) I hope your next attempt is successful!