University of Missouri Extension

GH1183, Reviewed October 1993

Making Yogurt at Home: Country Living Series

Barbara J. Willenberg, Karla Vollmar Hughes and Lyn Konstant
Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition

Yogurt is a cultured dairy product that can be made from whole, lowfat or skim milk, including reconstituted nonfat dry milk powder. Although most yogurt in the United States is made from cow's milk, any type of milk can be used. In other countries, yogurt is made from the milk of water buffalo, yak, goat, horses and sheep. As interest in raising goats increases in the United States, so does the popularity of making yogurt from goat's milk.

If you like yogurt and eat it often, you may enjoy preparing yogurt at home. Depending on the form of milk used, you will probably save money, as well. The guidelines and procedures in this guide will help you make a quality product.

Equipment needed

With the exception of a commercial yogurt maker with an electrically heated base, most of the equipment needed to prepare yogurt can be found in any kitchen. Make sure you have all the necessary equipment before you begin preparing yogurt:

Table 1
Incubators

  • Method A
    Prewarm oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and turn off. Use an oven thermometer to monitor temperature — do not let it drop below 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn oven on for short periods during incubation to maintain a temperature of 108 degrees Fahrenheit to 112 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Method B
    Line an ice chest (picnic cooler) with aluminum foil. Place four, one-quart jars filled with hot water (about 140 degrees Fahrenheit) inside the ice chest with the yogurt container(s) and cover ice chest with a tight-fitting lid. Allow space between jars and container(s) of yogurt.
  • Method C
    Nestle several cardboard boxes inside each other, placing crushed newspapers between each box. Continue as directed in Method B for ice chest.
  • Method D
    A simple way to incubate a small amount of yogurt is to pour the yogurt mixture into a wide-mouth thermos and cover with a tight lid. When the yogurt is ready, loosen the thermos lid before storing it in the refrigerator so the yogurt can cool rapidly.
  • Method E
    Set filled container(s) of yogurt on a towel-covered heating pad set on medium heat in a sheltered corner on a kitchen counter. Cover the jars with several towels.

Before you begin

Thoroughly wash equipment for making yogurt and container(s) with hot, soapy water. Rinse everything thoroughly and air dry. A dishwasher can also be used. Pour boiling water into the yogurt container(s) and leave until ready to use. Prepare the incubator following manufacturer's instructions (Table 1).

Recipe for plain yogurt

This recipe makes 4 to 5 cups. Yogurt can be stored in the refrigerator for about 10 days. This recipe can be doubled or tripled with no loss of quality, but make sure you can use that amount in 10 days or less. Adjust pan and container size accordingly.

* Special hint
To make yogurt at home, an active (living) yogurt culture is needed as a "starter." Commercial, unflavored cultured yogurt, from the supermarket is usually used as a starter. Yogurt starter cultures can also be purchased at health food stores, but are quite expensive compared to commercial cultured yogurt. Once you start making yogurt at home, save some of your homemade yogurt to "start" your next batch. For best results, however, purchase commercial cultured yogurt to replenish a homemade culture every four to five batches.

For thin yogurt

For thick, firm yogurt

Calories in one-cup (8 ounces) serving

1Calories vary with the amount of nonfat dry milk added to yogurt.
2With sweetener added.

Table 2
Home pasteurization of milk in a double boiler

  • Heat water in the bottom section of a double boiler.
  • Pour milk into the top section; cover it and heat to 165 degrees Fahrenheit stirring occasionally for uniform heating.
  • As soon as milk reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit, cool it immediately by setting the top section of the double boiler in ice water or cold running water.
  • Store milk in the refrigerator in clean containers.

Making yogurt in a microwave oven

Microwave ovens can be used both to heat milk for yogurt making and to incubate the yogurt. Check manuals that come with individual microwave ovens for directions.

Caution
Microwave ovens should not be used to pasteurize milk because of their uneven heating pattern, which could result in the survival and growth of disease-producing microorganisms in the milk.

Serving suggestions for home-prepared yogurt

Peachy yogurt ice cream

Whip cream until stiff and set aside.

Place peaches, yogurt and honey in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Fold into the whipped cream, pour into ice cube trays and freeze.

When frozen solid, thaw slightly, then blend again in blender or food processor until smooth. Store in freezer containers. For best quality, use in several days.

Makes about 5 cups.

Variations
Substitute strawberries or pitted sweet cherries for the peaches.

Chicken with yogurt sauce

Lightly brown the chicken pieces in oil in a large covered skillet. Add half the onions and cook for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. In a blender or food processor, combine tomatoes, buttermilk, dill, sugar, salt, pepper and pepper sauce. Blend until smooth and pour over chicken. Return to heat and bring to a boil uncovered. Reduce heat, cover pan and simmer about 20 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat and stir in the yogurt and parmesan cheese. Heat until the sauce is very hot; do not boil. Serve garnished with remaining onions and parsley.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Light microwave cheesecake

Lighter than traditional cheesecake, but just as delectable.

In a medium bowl, combine all filling ingredients. Beat at high speed with a mixer until smooth. Microwave on high for 4 to 7 minutes or until very hot, stirring every 2 minutes with a whisk. Pour into prepared crust. Microwave at 50 percent (medium) for 7 to 15 minutes or until center is almost set, rotating dish one-quarter turn after every 3 minutes. Filling becomes firm as it chills. Chill for at least 6 hours. Garnish with fresh strawberries.

Makes 10 servings.

Note
Mention of brand names does not imply endorsement of specific products.


 

GH1183, reviewed October 1993

GH1183 Making Yogurt at Home: Country Living Series | University of Missouri Extension

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