Making your own yogurt at home is extremely easy, but more importantly, it’s so much better than store bought.
While we were living in Italy, we ate a tremendous amount of yogurt. European grocery stores have more yogurt varieties than we could even comprehend! It was fun trying out so many different types and flavors. All of my favorites had a plain, Greek yogurt base with some fun flavor additions on the side. Strawberries, coconut, granola, chocolate & hazelnut crunch bites, etc. It was great. Back home, I don’t do so much of the yogurt thing. I just don’t care for the texture and consistency of what our stores carry as much as what we enjoyed in Italy. When I was growing up though, I would devour Sprinklins like they were going out of style (which apparently they were, since they no longer exist). Sprinklins were just little tubs of flavored yogurt with a packet of sprinkles to stir in. I loved it. You won’t catch me eating sprinkles in my yogurt anymore though. However, if you have little ones at home, I’d be willing to bet that they would gobble up some homemade yogurt in lightning speed if you let them jazz it up with some colorful sprinkles.
Before you make your own yogurt, a few tips:
- Use a thermometer. Too low or too high of a temperature will affect the growth of the bacteria, which is what you need to make yogurt.
- Do not use ultra-pasteurized milk. (Regular pasteurized milk is fine.)
- Resist the urge to disturb the milk by stirring too much, as this can disrupt the bacterial growth.
- Do not add any flavorings or toppings until you serve it. Any additional ingredients could inhibit the bacterial growth.
- For Greek-style yogurt (thicker), you can strain your finished yogurt through a fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth. I find that this step is not necessary because the addition of the dry milk helps the yogurt to be sufficiently thick and creamy without this step.
- The longer you let the yogurt rest in the oven, the thicker and more tangy the resulting flavor will be. I have done 7, 9, and 10 hour batches and the 10 hour batch was velvety and very nice and thick, so don’t worry about it if you decide to let it set overnight, or if you forget about it for a few hours.
- Save a bit of your homemade yogurt to use as your starter for your next batch. You’ll still need to buy yogurt to use as your starter for the very first batch you make, but then won’t need to buy it anymore as long as you have some homemade yogurt on hand for next time. (Homemade yogurt can be kept for about 2 weeks in the refrigerator in a covered container.
Side note: There are several recipes online that use a slow-cooker/crock pot to make the yogurt. I have not tried that method yet, since my slow-cooker is incredibly unreliable when it comes to temperature, and heats very unevenly. If you decide to try the slow-cooker method though, let me know how you do! I might give it a try one of these days…