Is it possible to have homemade yogurt without a yogurt maker? Yogurt is one of the best foods ever. My family enjoys it at breakfast, for snacktime. It provides health benefits like adding calcium to your diet and as a source of probiotics. I really think of it as a super-food. But it can be expensive to purchase good quality yogurt, and I’ve been unpleasantly surprised by some of the additives in some brands I thought were good for us. My solution – make our own! I spent years thinking I couldn’t do this myself because I didn’t have a yogurt maker. I had also heard it was difficult because everything has to be certain temperatures and monitored closely and the failure rate was rather high. While visiting with a friend one day, I sat at her kitchen counter and watched as she made a batch of delicious creamy yogurt while we talked of babies and homeschooling and gardening and laundry and other important things in life. Then she served that yogurt to my family for breakfast next morning. Yum! I was sold and the rest is history. I do have to watch the temperature, but it doesn’t have to be micro-monitored. And failure rate? I have a 100% success rate! If I can do this, anyone can do this, really.
Homemade Yogurt (without a yogurt maker)
You will need:
- 1 gallon milk (I use whole, raw milk. I have been told you can use the pasteurized you find at your grocery, but I haven’t tried it.)
- 1 Tbsp plain or flavored gelatin (optional)
- 12-16 oz already prepared yogurt (I save back a bit from our previous batch, but you can purchase 2 small containers of plain yogurt to use as a starter)
- 1 cup sugar (or equivalent amount sweetner of choice) (optional)
- 1 Tbsp vanilla or other flavored extract (optional)
- candy thermometer
- large thermos or chest-type cooler for incubating.
- glass jars with lids (pint, quart or gallon size)
- In a large pot heat 1 gallon milk over medium to 180 degrees. Stir every few minutes to prevent scorching.
- Add 1 teaspoon gelatin once milk has reached about 150 degrees. The gelatin will clump and look a bit strange, but as it continues heating it will dissolve.
- Once milk has reached 180 degrees, remove from heat. Cool to 120 degrees.
- Add 12-16 oz yogurt starter and sugar (if desired) and vanilla (or other extracts you’ve chosen).
- Stir very well and pour into clean glass jar. I use quart sized mason jars, but any size will work.
- Place a towel in the bottom of a thermos-type cooler. Place jars inside, cover with another towel for added insulation.
Close lid and keep warm for about 4-6 hours or until firm.
- Place in refrigerator, chill thoroughly before serving and enjoy!
I have left my jars to ‘incubate’ for 8 or 10 hours and had good results. The larger the jar the longer I leave it incubate.
I currently add 2/3 or 3/4 c sugar (or 1/2 cup fructose) as I am trying to adjust my family’s taste buds to using less sugar.
The gelatin gives the yogurt a consistency a bit closer to the store-bought varieties.
2 tsp favorite flavoring or extract (cherry is my favorite right now) along with the vanilla for variety. Try new combinations like orange/vanilla creme — using orange flavored gelatin & vanilla ext.
I have also used small single-serving disposble containers and baby food jars for packing lunches and traveling.
Serve with topping of crunchy granola or cereal and fruit and you will be ready to face the day!