Making Yogurt at Home from Scratch!

My fiancé and I met in 2006 and we hit it off immediately, thanks to our mutual love for good food. We dined out together very frequently and on every occasion, I would take home a business card from the restaurant to remember the night. When the collection of business cards became unmanageable, I decided to start a blog to chronicle our dining adventures in a more organized manner … and thus, Time for Dinner was born!

Kind people at WordPress reminded me when I posted my last ramble that my next one would be my 300th. So, here it is — my 300th post! YAY! biggrin Our baby is all grown up!  Thank you for your continued support and readership (to all three of you out there) of this humble blog.  It exists because of you.

So, for this momentous occasion, why not talk about my latest yogurt endeavor?  But this is no ordinary yogurt. It’s a homemade version, made from scratch. Yes, from scratch. This means no yogurt maker or other gimmicks! It’s just me, a pot, an empty glass jar, 2% milk, dehydrated milk, active culture, and a candy thermometer, the old fashioned way.

I must admit, I’ve always wanted to make a homemade yogurt using only the natural ingredients but the idea of spoiling milk (although purposely) and growing bacteria in my kitchen gave me the creeps. But thanks to Yankee Prepper and his video tutorial, I got enough courage to go for it.

Once you taste the homemade yogurt, it’ll be very difficult for you to go back to the store-bought kind even though there are so many wonderful brands available now. The homemade version is much creamier and milder (but deliciously tangy), without the grainy texture or strange sourness. It may take a few tries to get used to it because it’s so different from the ones you may be used to, but trust, me, the homemade version is 100 times better. And 100 times better for you!

Homemade Yogurt
Inspired by Yankee Prepper’s video on YouTube.
Makes 1 quart
This is a recipe for 1 glass jar. I made two batches so all the photos reflect that. To make more, simply multiply the ingredients.


1 quart sterilized glass jar with lid (I used the empty meat sauce jar)
A medium-size pot like Le Creuset
Spoon to stir
Candy thermometer


1 quart (or 4 cups) milk. You can use whole, non-fat, or 2% milk. I used 2%.
½ dehydrated milk
1 heaping tablespoon yogurt with active culture
1/3 cup sugar or honey (optional)

Update (November 21, 2011): I noticed, after making the homemade yogurt at least 5 times, that you can completely omit the dehydrated milk and still get the same, wonderful yogurt (apparently the only purpose of the dehydrated milk is to add more protein). Also, I tried using several different yogurt brands for a starter, and came to the conclusion that Mountain High (pictured below) is the absolute best. I’ve tried Trader Joe’s and Wallaby Organic, and while they are delicious yogurts on their own, they made my yogurt super watery (eeek).

Okay, you might be thinking, “What? You need a store-bought yogurt to make a homemade one?” rolleyes That was my initial thought too. It’s a classic chicken or egg debate. Which really came first, the yogurt or … the yogurt? Well, the fact is that you need active culture, or good bacteria, to make a yogurt so just ignore this strange hypocrisy and just get yourself your favorite yogurt from a store. Make sure you get the one that contains active culture (it should indicate it in the ingredients list on the back) and not those sugar-laden ones.

Once you make your own homemade yogurt, you can use that to add to the new batch, instead of using the store-bought one.


1. Heat the milk in a large pot on a medium-low heat, until it reaches 160 degree F. Do not let the liquid come to a boil. When the temperature is at about 150 degree F, add your sweetener of choice, if using, and add dehydrated milk. Stir constantly. Let it warm slowly, for about 10-15 minutes, until it reaches the optimum temperature of 160 degree F.

2. Once the liquid reaches 160 degree F, turn off the heat. Transfer the liquid in to a clean glass jar. Let the liquid sit at room temperature for about an hour and let it come down to about 100 – 110 degree F.

(By the way, do you see my new Moleskin Recipe Journal in the background? I love it. It’s amazing!)

3. Add a yogurt and stir until all the yogurt is dissolved in the liquid. According to Yankee Prepper, this is the temperature where bacteria can stay alive and get to work. I used Mountain High’s Original Style All-Natural Yoghurt. I’ve never tasted this one but I bought it because it  had a big sign that said “Contains Live, Active and Probiotic Cultures.”

4. Put the lid on the jar and put the jar in an empty oven, with pilot lights on. You’re not baking it so make sure that your oven is off, but you still need the pilot light for residual heat. If you don’t have an oven or don’t want to use it, you can always use a cooler box and put one of those electric heat patches in it. Let the jar sit for about 9 hours.

After 9 hours, open your oven or a cooler.  Your yogurt should have a nice, velvety texture. Put the jar in the refrigerator and let it cool, for about 2-3 hours before serving.

I had my first serving this morning for breakfast and was amazing. I put fresh strawberries and drizzled some Agave nectar. I’m looking forward to making Lassi and refreshing Frozen Yogurt with it!

And here’s to 300 more posts!