Bold Baking Basics, Homemade Ingredients

How to Make Yogurt

4.76 from 41 votes
Learn how to make yogurt at home with my easy yogurt recipe and then use it for a variety of my frozen desserts and more!
How to Make Yogurt - This is the best yogurt recipe I have found AND you don’t need any special equipment or thermometers.

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Hi Bold Bakers!

WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS RECIPE: Let’s learn how to make Yogurt at home from this homemade yogurt recipe without any special equipment or thermometers. There are a few simple steps to follow and once you do then you are on your way to delicious success. 

No need to invest in a dedicated maker, a slow cooker or an instant pot, BUT you can still create better than store-bought yogurt!

IMPORTANT NOTE: This recipe was improved on 3/11/2023, to include cleaer definition, answerws to the most frequently asked questions, and Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips. 

Table of Contents

What is Yogurt?

Yogurt is a food produced by the bacterial (Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus) fermentation of milk. The bacteria used are known as starter cultures. Fermentation of sugars in the milk by these bacteria produces lactic acid, which acts on milk protein to consequently give yogurt its texture and characteristic tart flavor.

How to Make Yogurt, How to Make Homemade Yogurt, Yogurt Recipe, recipes, Homemade yogurt, diy yogurt, making yogurt at homemade, easy yogurt recipe

Tools You Need

Ingredients

  • Milk: Whole milk(full-fat cow’s milk) does not only provide a rich flavor but also a thick consistency and a smooth texture. Sheep’s milk or goat’s milk will work well, too. You can also use other milk or substitute such as but do expect a different result.
  • Starter(or Yogurt): It is a carefully balanced blend of bacteria which changes the protein structure of the milk, creating a unique tangy taste and a thicker, creamier texture.

How to Make Yogurt

Heat the milk low and slow:

This is called scalding the milk, in order to denature the milk proteins so they don’t curdle. Bring milk to a simmer over low and controlled heat. It takes time, roughly 20 minutes to about 85 °C (185 °F). When it is ready, it will have formed a skin and the bubbles will be trying to come up to the surface. Be patient as it is an important step.

Let it cool down to the blood temperature:

You can test by placing your finger in there and if you can’t feel the milk around your finger then it is at blood temperature. Next step is to stir in some starter culture.

Incubate the milk mixture:

Wrap up the bottle tight with thick tea towels then put it in a tight-fit bowl. This will help to maintain the temperature between 30–45 °C (86–113 °F) to allow the fermentation to occur.

 

Can I use Reduced-Fat, Non-Fat /Skim Milk or Dairy-Free Milk?

Yes, you can use milk of your choice including reduced-fat, non-fat/skim milk, nut milk (almond milk or cashew milk), soy milk, or coconut milk. But expect a thinner, runnier or lumpier result.

Why is my Homemade Yogurt Runny?

  • A too hot or too cool temperature of heating milk or incubating the milk mixture will impact the bacteria in active cultures.
  • An inactive culture will also cause this issue.
  • The lack of fat or dairy.

How to Make Greek Yogurt?

Strain the yogurt made from this recipe! Line a sieve or colander fitted over a large bowl with cheesecloth or a clean tea towel. Then pour cooled yogurt over the cheesecloth and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight or for 24 hours.

The leftover clear liquid whey can be used as buttermilk in baking and cooking.

FAQs

Wait, I need yogurt to make yogurt?

Now I know what you are thinking, ”I don’t have any, that’s why I’m making it.” Yogurt is a living thing and you need to feed it to help it grow, just like bread.

The starter culture provides a blend of bacteria that consume the lactose in animal milk and then convert the lactose to lactic acid, which changes the protein structure of the milk, creating a unique tangy taste and a thicker, creamier texture.

If you don’t have access to yogurt you can buy an inexpensive starter online.

What’s the difference between yogurt and curd?

Curd or dah, is a dairy product which is made by coagulation of milk: warm milk with rennet, a culture, or any edible acidic substance such as lemon juice or vinegar, and then allowing it to coagulate.

The increased acidity causes the milk proteins (casein) to tangle into solid masses, or curds. Milk that has been left to sour (raw milk alone or pasteurized milk with added lactic acid bacteria) will also naturally produce curds.

Yogurt, on the other hand, is created by bacterial fermentation of milk: The bacterium or yogurt culture ferments lactose in milk, thus resulting in production of lactic acid, which gives it the signature tangy and acidic taste.

What do yogurt, buttermilk and sour cream have in common? What does yogurt do in baking or cooking?

Acid! The acid adds a tangy flavor, will react with the raising agent to release gas to yield a good rise and in the mean while, will break down protein in flour to make baked goods softer. In this way, the protein won’t have big holes so moisture will be locked in. So you will get soft and moist results.

How to store homemade yogurt and how long does it last? Can you freeze yogurt?

Store yogurt in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

For the purpose of an even longer shelf life, you can freeze it for up to a month. Note that upon thawing, the texture may change slightly and appear to be more liquid or grainy than it originally was. Stir vigorously for 30 seconds before using it to even out the texture.

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips

Wrap it up warm:

Basically, you are creating a little bed for your yogurt to hang out in for the next 14 hours. In that case, the more snug he is, the better and thicker your result will be. Remember yogurt is a living thing. As can be seen, he likes to be warm and comfy, just like bread. (In another case in cold weather or places, you can leave it in the oven with oven light on or use a heating pad at the lowest setting with care! )

Adding flavor:

Once cold you can flavor your yogurt with honey, sweetener, vanilla or fruit. Keep in the fridge afterwards for 3 weeks.

How to use whey or failed results:

Even though the texture may not be ideal, the flavor and acid will still work well in pancakescakessoda breaddonuts, even pie crust and more!

To make bigger batches of yogurt:

In brief, half gallon of milk with 1/2 cup of starter will yield about half gallon of yogurt.

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IMPORTANT NOTE: This recipe was improved on 3/11/2023, to include cleaer definition, answerws to the most frequently asked questions, and Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips. 

Watch The Recipe Video!

How to Make Yogurt

4.76 from 41 votes
Learn how to make yogurt at home with my easy yogurt recipe.
Servings: 2 cups
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Allow to set for 14 hours
Total Time 50 minutes
Learn how to make yogurt at home with my easy yogurt recipe.
Servings: 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (16 fl oz / 480 ml) Whole milk*
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt OR Yogurt starter

Instructions

The Day Before

  • In a heavy bottomed saucepan, over low heat bring the milk to a simmer. It will take around 15-20 minutes. The freshest milk will yield you better yogurt.
  • Once it starts to bubble turn off the heat and set aside. You will notice a skin has formed on your milk, that is normal.
  • Let it cool down to the blood temperature. You can test this by placing your finger in there and if you can’t feel the milk around your finger then it is at blood temperature.
  • Once cooled, whisk in the yogurt or Yogurt starter. Pour into a sterilized jar and tightly close the lid. Note: You can sterilize your jars by placing some water in them and popping them into the microwave until the water steams.
  • Line a deep bowl with a thick tea towel and place in the jar of yogurt. Wrap the jar up well in the towel and let it sit out in a warm part of your kitchen for 14-18 hours. (I use two tea towels to keep the yogurt warm and snug. Essentially you are creating an incubator for it to set)

The Next Day

  • After this time, pop the jar in the fridge and let it get cold, roughly 2-3 hours. Once chilled your yogurt will be firm and thick in texture. (the thickness can vary. If yours did not thicken double check your steps and timing )
  • At this point you can add sugar, sweetener, honey, fruit and vanilla and enjoy! Keep in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

Recipe Notes

You can make Yogurt using dairy free milk like nut, soy and coconut.
Nutrition Facts
How to Make Yogurt
Amount Per Serving (2 cups)
Calories 161 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Cholesterol 27mg9%
Sodium 114mg5%
Potassium 353mg10%
Carbohydrates 12g4%
Sugar 13g14%
Protein 8g16%
Vitamin A 395IU8%
Calcium 300mg30%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

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Danila
Danila
3 years ago

Hi Gemma, I’ve been following your channel for just a few months only but I have tried your homemade cream cheese twice already, it’s not yet perfect but I’m very happy how easy it is! I did follow your homemade yogurt recipe because it’s my favorite and I had a proud moment when I was able to nail it! It’s a bit thin like you said it might be but im sure a little tweak/adjustment will do it! Thank you so much! I’ll be making your pizza dough next!
Amateur Bold Baker from the Philippines!

Rachel
Rachel
4 years ago

I have tried twice and mine was still runny like milk 😢😢

Marla K SkeenWasson
Marla K SkeenWasson
4 years ago

Gemma. …Absolutely the easiest way to make yogurt.No investment for any more appliances..I did invest in a nut milk sack to drain the whey for Greek style…turned out PERFECT! No hidden ingredients or preservatives …As always you make it simple…Thanks

sahla
sahla
3 years ago

hello! I wanted to increase greek yogurt since it is so expensive here, does this recipe work fine for that? Do let me know, Thanks!

Jyotsna randhawa
Jyotsna randhawa
3 years ago

Hi gemma, can we make cream cheese using yogurt ??

Nancy Tapping
Nancy Tapping
3 years ago

Tried this and I love it! It thickened up beautifully and the taste is out of this world! I’ll never buy store bought again!

Jillian
Jillian
3 years ago

Hi Gemma,

I made this once before and liked it, although it is runnier than I would like. This time around, I let it sit for 19-20 hours incubating (because I was out of the house longer than expected). Do you think it is still okay?? 🤞🏻

Thanks,
Jillian

Ann
Ann
7 months ago

Hello
If I’m going to use my oven light to keep my yogurt warm do I still need to wrap the jar in tea towels ?

Nicole
Nicole
1 year ago

I did the yogourt yesterday ,it was perfect ,thank you

Rachle
Rachle
1 year ago

Hey Gemma,
Love the yogurt. I have some whey now, and I know you have said that you can use the whey in your baking. Can you give me some examples of how to use the whey, please? I would love to try it out.
Rachel

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About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.

 

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