homemade essentials: yogurt


Making yogurt makes me feel like a homesteader. Like a woman in a country kitchen, heating milk, baking bread, cooking dinner and half-listening to my happy kids in the yard, from the cracked window.

It’s not too much of a stretch. My little one is always good company. We listen to music, sometimes we dance. We bake, we make and we turn up the volume when the neighborhood kickball game, in the back alley, gets too loud. I’m no homesteader, just a woman who likes to play in the kitchen.

My adventure with homemade yogurt has been an on-again, off-again fling for a few years. I don’t have an oven with a cooperating pilot light and my electric blanket kicked the bucket some time ago, so making a batch has sometimes been tricky. In my experience, a suitable warm spot for fermentation has been the make or break of getting yogurt just right.

A perk of working in the restaurant industry is that sometimes one can end up with equipment that would otherwise end up in the dumpster. Like the day a professional-grade dehydrator landed in my lap, because of cosmetic damage. It was so heavy and awkward, but I lugged it home on the subway with the biggest grin! That was the special day my yogurt-making took a turn for the better.

{After I heat the milk and whisk in the starter, I set the dehydrator to about 110°F and let time and warmth work the magic. I believe, by the time I make the next batch, it will be time to introduce Rivers to his first fermented food. }


Homemade Yogurt
Makes 2 quarts

2 quarts whole milk
1/2-3/4 cup whole plain yogurt (starter)

Heat milk to 180°F, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and bring temperature down to 115-110°F. Whisk yogurt starter into the milk. Pour into sanitized jars.

Place a dry dishtowel over the jars and keep in a very warm place for 8-12 hours, depending on desired taste and consistency. The longer the fermentation time, the thicker and tangier the yogurt should be.

Place lids on jars and cool for several hours before serving. Cooling will allow yogurt to thicken further.

Note: I’ve used raw milk, and more recently a local whole milk that is pasteurized, but not homogenized.  For the starter, I’ve used just about every type of plain yogurt without an issue– ultra pasteurized, organic, low-fat, whole etc. It’s best to use starter from a previous homemade batch though.



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